ERT Recommendations on Thailand's Treatment of Rohingya Echoed by State Delegations
At its nineteenth session (27 February to 23 March 2012) the UN Human Rights Council adopted the Working Group Reports for states which had undergone review in the twelfth session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). In 2011, The Equal Rights Trust (ERT) made a stakeholder submission to the review of Thailand, raising concerns about its treatment of stateless Rohingya. The submission recommended that the state review its past actions of arbitrary arrest, detention and pushing back Rohingya into the sea in light of its human rights obligations, rectify past violations, amend its immigration policy, introduce comprehensive equality legislation and ratify relevant international treaties.
A number of states made recommendations on matters of concern highlighted in ERT’s submission. These included recommendations that Thailand:
Become a party to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol; ensure respect for the principle of non-refoulement with respect to asylum seekers and refugees; avoid a premature move to close camps on the Western border while conditions for voluntary, safe and dignified return do not exist; strengthen the legal rights framework and enforcement of these rights for migrants, asylum seekers and victims of trafficking; and meet the protection needs of vulnerable peoples, such as the Rohingya, in accordance with international law (Canada, France, Switzerland);
Accede to the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons (France);
Address, as a matter of priority, the conditions in Thai prisons and detention centres, including the expansion of the necessary infrastructure and prison personnel, as well as the improvement of inmates’ access to medical care and legal counsel; repeal all relevant legal provisions with a view to eliminating excessive or unjustified detention; and reverse current practices regarding the rights of refugees, asylum seekers and migrant workers (Slovakia);
Ensure migrants found at sea are afforded the full measures of protection they are entitled to under international law (New Zealand);
Facilitate access to asylum procedures in order to guarantee an international protection to asylum seekers (Switzerland);
Continue to strengthen cooperation with the High Commissioner for Refugees as well as with donors and non-governmental organizations in order to provide necessary humanitarian aid and fundamental rights protection to displaced people (Qatar);
Take measures with a view to preventing and combating of arbitrary arrest, violence, abuse and exploitation of migrants; and refrain from the refoulement of asylum-seekers (Brazil);
Continue to address remaining social inequalities and unequal access to opportunities and services by the poor and the marginalized (Bhutan); and
Consider withdrawing its reservations to various human rights instruments (South Africa).
To read the Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Thailand, click here
To read ERT’s submission for the UPR of Thailand, click here