BANGKOK – The US Department of State has released a highly critical report detailing what it regards as Thailand’s human rights failings.
The report, released last week, highlighted officials’ impunity and the chronic use of special laws in the deep South as well as others used against political opponents as cause for concern.
The department’s report claimed abuses by government security forces and local defence volunteers were also a continuing problem.
Security forces, the report said, were guilty of using excessive force, including killing, torturing and otherwise abusing suspects, detainees and prisoners. Government limits on freedom of speech and the media were also highlighted.
Other problems cited in the report were the country’s overcrowded and unsanitary prison and detention facilities; arbitrary arrests and detention; limits on freedom of assembly; insufficient protection for vulnerable people, including refugees; violence and discrimination against women; sex tourism; sexual exploitation of children; human trafficking; discrimination against persons with disabilities, minorities, hill tribes and foreign migrant workers; child labour, and limitations on workers’ rights.
While members of security forces found to have committed abuses were occasionally disciplined and criminally prosecuted, official impunity remained a major concern, the report said, especially in provinces subject to the 2005 Emergency Decree, the 2008 Internal Security Act and martial law.
Observers noted this year’s report was more rounded and detailed, especially regarding the southern insurgency.
Figures and names as well as statistics of each problem area and cases were included in the report.
The report also criticised official corruption and a lack of transparency in official actions as well as the government’s poor attitude regarding international and NGO investigations into human rights abuses in the country.
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012
The most persistent human rights problems included abuses by government security forces and local defense volunteers in the context of the continuing Muslim separatist insurgency in the South; the continued reported use at times of excessive force by security forces, including police killing, torturing, and otherwise abusing criminal suspects, detainees, and prisoners; and continued government limits on freedom of speech and press.
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I am proud to present the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for the first time as Secretary of State. When I served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, my colleagues and I depended on these reports for an accurate assessment of human rights conditions around the world. I know how valuable they are to those in the State Department and other federal agencies who carry out U.S. foreign policy as well as to members of Congress, the academic community, activists, students, journalists, lawyers, judges, foreign governments, and concerned citizens everywhere. Read more…