Joint oral statement to Human Rights Council on Thailand
On 24 March 2022, Lawyers for Lawyers and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada delivered an oral statement on Thailand during the 49th session of the UN Human Rights Council. During this session, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Outcome Report of Thailand was adopted. Lawyers for Lawyers had already submitted a NGO-submission for the UPR-session of Thailand.
The statement reads as follows:
We welcome the decision of Thailand to accept some of the recommendations made at its 3rd UPR related to the protection of human rights defenders and lawyers. We call on Thailand to effectively implement these recommendations without delay.
A fundamental aspect of the rule of law and an effectively functioning justice system is access to legal representation by an independent legal profession. Lawyers must be able to carry out their professional duties without harassment, intimidation, or improper interference.
In Thailand, lawyers often experience difficulties with access to their clients in detention. Law
enforcement officers sometimes do not communicate the exact whereabouts of clients. Furthermore, lawyer-client confidentiality is not always respected by members of the law enforcement agencies. If detained clients are permitted to meet with their lawyers, officers sometimes stand in the corner of the room trying to monitor the lawyer and client and record the conversation.
Lawyers and human rights defenders are subjected to threats, intimidation, and improper interference or attempts to pressure them by members of law enforcement agencies, or the military. Thai authorities do not always respect the freedom of expression and assembly of lawyers. Some lawyers in Thailand have faced disciplinary proceedings in connection to them exercising their right to freedom of expression and assembly. Moreover, other lawyers are subject to criminal investigations and prosecution in connection with their legitimate activities.
We urge Thailand to:
- Effectively implement all supported UPR recommendations without delay;
- Take effective measures to ensure that all communications and consultations between
lawyers and their clients within their professional relationship are confidential; and
- Take immediate measures to safeguard the independence of lawyers and provide protection against any form of undue interference with their work.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Click here to see the video statement at 24:58.
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