Thailand-blog L4L is preparing itself for UPR pre-session
By Karin Monster
Next week – from March 30 to April 2, 2016 – the pre-sessions in preparation for the 25th Universal Periodic Review (UPR) will take place in Geneva. During these pre-sessions, which will be organized by UPR Info, representatives of the Permanent Missions, Human Rights Institutions and Civil Society Organizations will gather to discuss the human rights situation of the UN Member States to be reviewed at the upcoming UPR session. The Permanent Missions will then make recommendations during the UPR (based on the pre-sessions) regarding the human rights situation of the countries under review, which might be adopted by the UN Human Rights Council and be brought to the attention of the countries of concern.
L4L will be participating in the UPR pre-sessions for which it submitted three reports on Thailand, Tajikistan and (in collaboration with partner organizations) Swaziland in September 2015. In these reports, attention is drawn to the human rights situation and the position of lawyers in these countries.
Next week I will travel to Geneva with Milena Latuputty, to attend the pre-sessions. Milena will be representing L4L, and will be mainly focused on the case of Thailand. I will report on the course of events prior and during the pre-sessions in which I will be paying attention to the current human rights situation and the position of lawyers in Thailand.
Milena has been volunteering for L4L since 2011 and is still committed to the objectives of the organization: “As a lawyer in the Netherlands, it is possible to defend all clients in legal proceedings, including those in politically sensitive cases, without being obstructed by the authorities. In the Netherlands, this is a logical consequence of the ‘rule of law’. Unfortunately, in many countries across the world this is not the case. As a volunteer for L4L, I can make a contribution to the improvement of the position of my colleagues in other countries.”
In total, about 45 to 50 lawyers are working for L4L, all on a voluntary basis. Within their own focus groups (Latin America, Africa, Eurasia, Iran and Syria, Russia, Middle East, China, Southeast Asia, the Philippines and Turkey) they are supporting lawyers worldwide who are threatened or suppressed in the execution of their profession; for example by drawing the attention of international legal and political institutions and organizations, and the relevant authorities of the countries of concern.
For Milena, who has been chairman of the focus group Southeast Asia since October 2012, the UPR pre-sessions provide an excellent lobby opportunity with regard to the situation of lawyers in Thailand. Urgently needed, as she knows from experience: “In Southeast Asia there have been cases where lawyers have disappeared, been killed or have been arbitrarily detained.”
Currently, L4L is preparing itself for the upcoming UPR pre-sessions. Keep following us the coming week to find out more about L4L’s activities, the current position of (endangered) lawyers in Thailand and the course of events regarding the UPR pre-sessions.
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