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Statement by H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand
at the High-level Segment during the 46th Session of the Human Rights Council
23 February 2021
Excellencies and Distinguished delegates,
Allow me to congratulate you, Madam President, on your election to preside over the work of this important body.
We are meeting after a tough, first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each and every country has already learned many important lessons. Thailand is no exception.
For Thailand, now more than ever is the time to recommit to our common core values in the promotion and protection of human rights. We need to stand up for human dignity and safeguard human security. Building back better and more sustainably means strengthening and integrating human rights in all of our recovery efforts, from civil and political rights, to social and economic rights, to the right to health.
It especially means helping the furthest behind and the most vulnerable in society, first. And we need to ensure that these efforts have real impact on the ground.
The unrelenting spread of COVID-19 has revealed unprecedented challenges to all aspects of life – political, social and economic. But the response cannot be to “scale back” our ambitions in these areas. Instead, we need to find ways to do things not only better, but smarter. Let me share some suggestions.
First, States must strengthen their efforts to find and strike the right balance between enhancing economic resilience, ensuring social inclusion and promoting active political and social engagement. We must provide safe space for all stakeholders to participate in the dialogues on issues of their concern, while upholding the rule of law. At the same time, it is crucial to uphold the right to accurate and accountable information. Fake news and hate speech should find no place in society. States have a responsibility to prevent the exploitation of fear and uncertainty, by taking a principled and balanced approach.
Second, these particular challenges have impacted our efforts to progress on the Sustainable Development Goals and have exposed our shortcomings. Therefore, we have to refocus on people, sustainability and resilience. These are crucial elements in realizing social and economic rights. In Thailand and beyond, the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy, or SEP, is one locally-driven approach to advance balanced development while producing practical solutions. We stand ready to share this approach with other interested partners.
Third, now more than ever, we need to strengthen our efforts to realize the right to health as a basic human right for all people everywhere. The pandemic has shown that nobody is safe until everyone is safe. Thailand’s Universal Health Coverage scheme has proven to be one of the most effective safeguards for our people against the disease and socio–economic and financial hardship. So too have social safety nets for the most vulnerable and marginalized. This includes all migrant workers, legal or illegal, who are able to access treatment, whose status has been legalized, and whose work permits extended, to allow them to continue to work legally in the Kingdom, without compounding their uncertainty in these difficult times.
Thailand is committed to a strong, multilateral human rights system. And we reiterate our support for the work of the Human Rights Council in promoting human rights, including through capacity building and exchange of good practices. This is exemplified in the Universal Periodic Review, under which Thailand will be presenting its 3rd cycle report this November. We will also continue to advance our efforts on technical assistance and capacity building activities on human rights promotion and protection at the bilateral and regional levels with our friends and counterparts.
In closing, Madam President, while looking forward to the Council strengthening its role and impact on the ground, I hope that some considerations for the fundamental right of all rights, the heart to heart empathy, is there above and beyond political and legal commitments. Let’s blend some and add some to your everyday human rights undertakings.
I wish this Council fruitful deliberations and a successful session. I thank you.
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