UN rights body commends Thailand on new law banning torture, enforced disappearance
The UN Human Rights Office for Southeast Asia (OHCHR) has welcomed Thailand’s enactment of the Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance Act, 2022.
The promulgation of this law is a critical milestone in combating torture, ill-treatment and enforced disappearances in Thailand, the OHCHR posted on the website on Monday.
The law includes provisions that will hold perpetrators to account under criminal law and incorporates key principles of non-derogation and non-refoulement, prohibiting officials from expelling, deporting and extraditing a person to another country where they may face substantial risks of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or enforced disappearance.
It will take effect 120 days after its publication in the Royal Gazette on October 25.
Cynthia Veliko, regional representative of OHCHR Regional Office for Southeast Asia, said: “The enactment of the Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance Act 2022 is a major step in fulfilling Thailand’s commitments to achieving zero tolerance for acts of torture and enforced disappearances, as well as providing justice to the victims of torture and enforced disappearances.”
“With this Act, victims and families of torture and involuntary and enforced disappearances will have a new framework to seek legal redress, and to hold perpetrators of such heinous crimes to account,” Veliko said.
Thailand has 76 outstanding cases of enforced disappearances with the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances that remain unresolved.
Veliko, however, highlighted three provisions that needed to be amended to ensure full compliance with international human rights laws and standards.
These include the application of amnesty for offences proscribed under the Act, the admissibility of evidence obtained through torture in criminal proceedings, and the imposition of a statute of limitations for cases of enforced disappearances.
“OHCHR commends Thailand for fulfilling commitments made during its last Universal Periodic Review by the enactment of this law. With this domestic legal framework now in place, Thailand can move ahead with ratifying the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance as well as the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,” said Veliko.
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- The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved the Draft Prevention of Torture and Enforced Disappearance Act revised by senators.
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