Press Release : Human Rights and Labour Situation in Thailand news3

Press Release : Human Rights and Labour Situation in Thailand

Further to some media reports stating that the Human Rights Committee under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) has expressed concerns on the human rights situation in Thailand and that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has issued a report alleging widespread use of forced labour in Thailand, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to clarify as follows:  
1. Human Rights situation 
1.1 On 28 March 2017, the Human Rights Committee under ICCPR issued Concluding Observations after reviewing Thailand’s 2nd country report on the implementation of the obligations under the ICCPR along with the oral presentation made to the Committee during 13 – 14 March 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland. Such a reporting process as well as the subsequent issuance of Concluding Observations by the Committee is considered part of a regular procedure under ICCPR. The reporting session is normally scheduled every 4 years.  
1.2 In the Concluding Observations, the Committee welcomed progress made on human rights in Thailand, such as the establishment of the Coordination Committee by the Ministry of Justice to follow up on the implementation of the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand (NHRCT) recommendations; the passing of the Gender Equality Act B.E. 2558 and the Justice Fund Act B.E. 2558; including the adoption of the 3rd National Human Rights Plan (2014-2018). The Committee also welcomed the fact that Thailand has become party to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol, and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  
1.3 The Concluding Observations did not refer to any specific number of political prisoners or persons subject to enforced disappearance. Moreover, Thailand has made continuous effort to promote and protect civil and political rights as well as to strengthen mechanism to effectively prevent and suppress enforced disappearance. 
1.4 Thailand has enacted a number of legislations to protect women rights and to promote gender equality, such as the Domestic Violence Victim Protection Act B.E. 2550 and the Gender Equality Act B.E. 2558. Furthermore, a survey done by Grant Thornton in 2017 on the ratio of women holding senior business positions showed that Thailand ranked third in the Asia Pacific region. 
1.5 On Statelessness, several United Nations agencies, particularly the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), have on various occasions commended Thailand’s efforts to reduce statelessness including the recent Cabinet decision on 7 December 2016, which will benefit around 80,000 stateless children and young adults living in Thailand. 
1.6 Overall, the Committee’s recommendations are in line with the Government’s determination to continue to promote and protect human rights. The Government aims to work for the benefit of its people and to fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by leaving no one behind.  
2. Labour situation 
2.1 Combatting human trafficking has long been one of Thailand’s highly important national agendas. The Government is committed to the policy of “Zero tolerance for human trafficking” and has been pursuing an integrated approach nationwide including suppression of human trafficking networks, overhaul of foreign workers management system and eradicating forced labour in fishing industry. 
2.2 On 24 March 2017, the ILO issued a report concerning an allegation of Thailand's non-observance of the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29). However, the content of the report is largely outdated as it was based on information sent by Thailand to the ILO on 30 June 2016. The report failed to address developments in the latter half of 2016 where Thailand has made substantial progress to improve the working conditions of labour in Thailand regardless of their nationality. These include (1) issuance of the Royal ordinance on Bringing Migrant Workers to Work with Employers in Thailand B.E. 2559 (2016), (2) enactment of the Ministerial Regulations on Venues Prohibited from Employing Children under 18 Years of Age Act B.E. 2559 (2016), (3) amendment of the Labour Protection Act B.E. 2541 (1998) to increase the degree of punishment on the use of child labour, and (4) the Cabinet's decision on 7 March 2017 to amend the Royal Ordinance on the Administration of Foreign Migrants B.E….. which will add a complaint mechanism for foreign migrants and to prescribe a clear punishment code concerning illegal employment of foreign workers.  
2.3 On 24 March 2017, the ILO Governing Body also decided to conclude the case on violation of Convention 29 for Thailand. This decision reflects the ILO’s recognition and acceptance of the achievements and progress made by the Royal Thai Government to eliminate forced labour in the Thai fishing industry and seafood processing industry as well as demonstrating Thailand’s commitments to strengthening its implementation of Convention 29.  
2.4 Thailand will continue to engage closely with the ILO and all stakeholders including the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), to address relevant issues on the rights and welfare of foreign workers.