The Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs has released a statement expressing its disappointment with the latest World Report of the Human Rights Watch, deeming it ignorant of human rights efforts undertaken by the Thai government.
In response to the World Report 2018, which claimed the Thai government has failed to respect human rights and restore democratic rule, the Foreign Ministry commented with dismay that the Human Rights Watch intentionally overlooked the numerous steps the government has taken towards the promotion and protection of human rights in the country due to the agency’s political bias.
In detail, the Ministry gave examples of progress and positive developments made over the past few years. In the legislative branch, the 2017 Constitution was successfully drafted, with priority placed on human rights promotion in keeping with the principles of equal rights and protection under the law, non-discrimination, prohibition of torture and freedom of religious beliefs, for instance. The new charter was approved by 61 percent of voters in the national referendum in August 2016.
In addition, the draft Act on the Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance has been approved in principle by the Cabinet and is currently being reviewed by relevant state agencies for adjustment before its submission to the National Legislative Assembly for deliberation in the future. The National Human Rights Commission Act, which was drafted based on suggestions by NGOs and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Bangkok, has also been passed by the legislature.
In the handling of migrants, the Foreign Ministry said the government has been cooperating with international bodies, such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), to provide legal protection, care, and services to those in need despite the country’s limited resources. Over the past four decades, the Kingdom has offered shelter to more than one million displaced persons from various countries, including Myanmar and Bangladesh.
As for the labor sector, the government has helped legalize over one million undocumented migrant workers, giving them the opportunity to gain legal employment in Thailand while being entitled to legal protection and healthcare. At present, over 550,000 migrants are working in the Kingdom under MoU arrangements with neighboring countries. In compliance with international standards on migrant labor, the Royal Ordinance on Bringing Migrant Workers to Work with Employers in Thailand (2016) and the Royal Ordinance on Foreign Workers Management (2017) have been promulgated.