An Oral Statement to the 34th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council from the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC)
The conditions that have crushed the freedom and security of human rights defenders in Bangladesh and Thailand, has not yet attracted adequate international attention. Human rights defenders in these states, today have the least protection of their justice institutions. In Bangladesh and Thailand, justice processes are misused by the state, and the judiciary has caved in deep, to allow such misuse, to silence human rights defenders.
In Bangladesh for instance, Odhikar, a prominent and perhaps one of the few human rights organisations in that country that has refused to succumb to state pressure to remain silent, is repeatedly harassed by the state. The courts in Bangladesh, have repeatedly collaborated with the government, so much so, this organisation like many others in the country, is unable to continue its daily work.
Similar circumstances exist in Thailand. The incumbent military government has seriously curtailed freedom of expression and opinion, in addition to the infamous section 112 of the Thai penal code on lèse-majesté. The 2016 amendment of the Computer Crimes Act, 2007 provides unbridled powers to the state, to penalise opinions against the government, and Thai courts have refused to intervene.
We therefore call upon this Council, to closely examine the conditions of human rights defenders in these two states, so that the minimum guarantee of safety is ensured for human rights defenders in Bangladesh and Thailand.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Webcast video: Link (Please scroll down and find video clip number 82 to see the statement of Asian Legal Resource Centre.)