BANGKOK, Thailand – On 2-3 December, Manushya Foundation convened a Mid-Term Assessment Workshop on implementation of Universal Periodic Review (UPR) 2nd cycle recommendations of Thailand for the Thai CSOs Coalition for the UPR comprising of civil society and community groups from across the country. The workshop aimed at building capacities of local communities in assessing level of implementation of UPR recommendations and preparing UPR mid-term report was supported by the Canadian Embassy in Bangkok, Backyard Politics and JASS Southeast Asia.
The UPR is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States. It is a State-driven process, under the Human Rights Council, which provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situation in their countries and to fulfil their human rights obligations. It also allows civil society organizations and community groups to report on the human rights situation on the ground and to engage with the government on the issues they are facing.
Thailand underwent its 2nd cycle UPR in May 2016 when it received 249 recommendations and accepted 187 of them, for which the Thai government formulated an UPR action plan. The government will present its progress to the Human Rights Council in March 2019. The mid-term assessment workshop thus sought cross-checking the actions of the government in respecting its own commitments through the action plan. The role of the Thai CSOs Coalition will also be to monitor the government’s actions to implement the UPR recommendations and present its own assessment with credible evidence and respond to the government next year.
The workshop greatly benefited from the invaluable participation and contribution of 47 members of the Thai CSOs Coalition representing various thematic issues, including the rights of child, persons with disabilities, elderlies, migrant workers, sex workers as well as women’s rights, health rights, land rights and LGBTI rights.
During the workshop, the Thai CSOs Coalition members worked in groups to update the UPR Mid-term factsheets created in March 2016 during lobbying for the UPR 2nd cycle. The factsheets provide a comprehensive overview of the human rights situation concerning the thematic issues they are working on. As the UPR recommendations do not necessarily cover all the challenges faced by communities in their areas of work, the factsheets offer the possibility to assess the overall situation on the ground since the 2nd cycle and identify the key priorities of focus to lobby the government until the next UPR cycle in May 2021.
The Thai CSOs Coalition members then shared their updated information on the human rights situation from May 2016 pertaining to progress made, lack of change and deterioration in conditions. As per their initial assessment at the workshop, the Thai government has to some extent made some progress, but there is still significant lack of implementation. To give an example among other, the effective implementation of the Gender Equality Act 2558 shows the increased attempt to support women rights and protect women against punishment and violence, regardless their religion, races and gender identity. However, transgender women still face discrimination, which shows that some issues are simply being ignored.
At the workshop, the Thai CSOs Coalition was also introduced to UPR Mid-Term Monitoring Tools. Attached to the factsheets, these tools can help the Coalition members to assess the level of implementation of UPR recommendations based on the stated commitments of the Thai government.
The Thai CSOs Coalition members that attended the workshop now thus have necessary tools to monitor and respond on the government’s progress. They will continue working independently on the factsheets and monitoring tools in consultation with the networks and organizations involved in the thematic issues. In March 2019, Manushya Foundation will organise a diplomatic briefing where the Thai CSOs Coalition members will be able to present their UPR Mid-term factsheets as well as the UPR Mid-term Monitoring Reports. Alongside the diplomatic briefing, Manushya Foundation will also organise a press conference, where the government will be invited to receive the Thai CSOs Coalition’s factsheets and reports and respond on their progress or lack thereof.
Access pictures of the event here.
See more news related to the Thai CSOs Coalition for the UPR here.