23 November 2021
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination today concluded its consideration of the combined fourth to eighth periodic report of Thailand, during which its Experts raised questions about the situation of indigenous peoples, migrants, asylum seekers and stateless persons.
A Committee Expert said that in the border areas in Thailand as well as on the coast, racial discrimination had been seen, based on ethnic, religious and political reasons. Many migrant workers and asylum seekers from neighbouring countries had an "illegal" status, and a considerable number of them, including children, were stateless. A large number of indigenous peoples who lived in the forest or coastal areas were discriminated against. Hate speech, stereotyping, and racial profiling against ethnic groups and indigenous peoples prevailed. There were many reports that the Government authorities, including the military and police officers, collected DNA samples from some ethnic groups and indigenous peoples without their informed consent, and used facial recognition technology, and other measures, which were all considered as racial profiling.
Responding to those questions and comments, the delegation said that Thailand did not condone racism or any practice of racial discrimination. Although there was no specific law on hate speech or racist propaganda, insulting others or committing an act of insult were offenses punishable under the Thai Criminal Code. In the case of Thailand, although the context of the term "indigenous" did not apply to the country, the 2017 Constitution accorded protection and promotion of human rights of all groups, without discrimination, including the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture.
DNA collection had been used for two particular purposes, and one of them was in the southern provinces for crime prevention. The question had been asked about the use of DNA to identify the origins of stateless persons. That had been done all over the country; if persons had evidence to be Thai, procedures would ensue accordingly. Birth registration and naturalisation aimed to reduce and protect stateless persons, and provide them with legal rights and access to public services. Birth notification, personal records and identification cards for non-Thai citizens were available to stateless persons, to allow them to stay in Thailand legally and apply for naturalisation. Children born in Thailand to non-Thai parents, including stateless children, were entitled to birth registration.
Wisit Wisitsora-at, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice of Thailand and head of the delegation, presenting the report, said that Thailand had a zero-tolerance policy against discrimination. The Ministry of Justice was working on a draft Act on Anti-Discrimination, the first special law that would provide comprehensive protection against discrimination. Thailand maintained its interpretation of the term "indigenous peoples" as referring to those who were pre-settlers or had lived in the area in the pre-colonial period, which was not applicable in the case of Thailand. However, Thailand continued to accord full legal recognition and non-discriminatory treatment for all 62 ethnic groups in the country. To concretely address the statelessness problem, Thailand had conducted free and voluntary DNA sample collection for persons without legal status or nationality, with the aim of verifying their origins. In 2022, at least 800 non-status and stateless persons would be targeted to be registered through that campaign, which focused on the hill-tribe villagers in the northern part of Thailand, as well as in other remote areas.
The delegation of Thailand consisted of representatives of the Ministry of Justice; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Ministry of Interior; the Ministry of Public Health; the Internal Security Operations Command, Division 4; the Royal Thai Police; the Office of the National Security Council; and the Permanent Mission of Thailand to the United Nations Office at Geneva.
Summaries of the public meetings of the Committee can be found here, while webcasts of the public meetings can be found here. The programme of work of the Committee's one hundred and fifth session and other documents related to the session can be found here.
The Committee will next meet in public on Tuesday, 23 November at 3 p.m. to begin its consideration of the combined twenty-second through twenty-fourth periodic report of Denmark (CERD/C/DNK/22-24).
The Committee has before it the combined fourth through eighth periodic reports of Thailand (CERD/C/THA/4-8 ).
Introduction of the Report
WISIT WISITSORA-AT, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice of Thailand and head of the delegation, introducing the report, said that Thailand had become a State party to the Convention in 2003 and since its entry into force had endeavoured to fulfil its obligations under the Convention. The preparation process of the report before the Committee had been conducted from 2014 through 2018, with the meaningful participation of all stakeholders, and under the supervision of the National Committee for the Promotion of the Implementation of the Convention. Nine consultative platforms had been held in Bangkok and other regions to disseminate information on the initial report and the Committee's observations. The provisions of the Convention were not directly applied in Thailand, but the country had a zero-tolerance policy against discrimination. The protection provided by international instruments had been enshrined in a number of domestic laws, especially the 1997 Constitution and subsequent Constitutions.
The 2017 Constitution provided protection against a wide range of forms of discrimination, as it prohibited discrimination on the basis of difference in origin, race, language, sex, age, disability, physical or health condition, personal status, economic and social standing, religious belief, education, or political views. As such, the 2017 Constitution was a stepping stone to the 2018–2037 National Strategy, which promoted development based on social and cultural diversity.
The Ministry of Justice was working on a draft Act on Anti-Discrimination, the first special law that would provide comprehensive protection against discrimination. The draft Act on Protection and Promotion of the Way of Life of Ethnic Groups also represented significant progress. It contained the following important principles: protection of cultural rights; capacity building for ethnic groups; and equality in the face of ethnic differences. In addition, various government agencies had jointly implemented a Plan to Promote Co-Existence under Multicultural Society in Thailand, which aimed to raise awareness and create better understanding of cultural diversity in the country.
Various proactive efforts to support the protection and promotion of the rights of ethnic groups included inter-agency cooperation in providing legal assistance and other necessary services. Justice Clinics around the country provided legal advice, complaint management, mediation, witness protection, and financial assistance to injured and accused persons in criminal cases, including in remote areas. Having joined Member States in the adoption, in 2007, of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Thailand nevertheless maintained its interpretation of the term "indigenous peoples" as referring to those who were pre-settlers or had lived in the area in the pre-colonial period, which was not applicable in the case of Thailand. However, Thailand continued to accord full legal recognition and non-discriminatory treatment for all 62 ethnic groups in the country.
On the topic of stateless persons, Thailand was developing a National Screening Mechanism to identify people in need of protection and grant them legal status, temporary stay in Thailand, as well as access to basic services. To concretely address the statelessness problem, Thailand had conducted free and voluntary DNA sample collection for persons without legal status or nationality, with the aim of verifying their origins. In 2022, at least 800 non-status and stateless persons would be targeted to be registered through that campaign, which focused on the hill-tribe villagers in the northern part of Thailand, as well as in other remote areas. In addition, Thailand was working with the United Nations Refugee Agency on a "Statelessness Reduction and Community Sensitisation Project", which complemented the Government's efforts in awareness-raising and the provision of legal and administrative support to individual applicants.
Thailand had managed to register over two million undocumented migrant workers, enabling them to be legally protected and entitled to receive social services. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Thailand had allowed migrant workers from neighbouring countries to stay and work in the country. Thailand supported global solidarity in promoting equitable and universal access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines and countermeasures. The Ministry of Public Health aimed to accelerate vaccination among migrant workers, and target groups included migrant workers along the border areas, as well as those in temporary shelters for displaced persons. The economic impact of the pandemic would not lead to the delay or denial of justice. Through its Justice Fund, all necessary services, namely the cost of bail, lawyer fees, court fees, forensic examination fees, and other expenses related to trial, were provided free of charge to those in need. Thailand was committed to the promotion and protection of human rights, and looked forward to a constructive dialogue, and to learning from the Committee.
Questions from Committee Experts
CHINSUNG CHUNG, Committee Member and Country Rapporteur for Thailand, welcomed the delegation from Thailand and expressed appreciation for the country's submission of its updated common core document in November 2021, and its replies to follow-up and early warning and urgent action procedures. However, the Thai Government had submitted only two periodic reports since it ratified the Convention and it should strengthen its efforts for the timely fulfilment of its reporting obligations.
Noting that Thailand was mostly a destination country of migrant workers and refugees from neighbouring countries, Ms. Chung said that although there were various human rights issues, Thailand hosted significant numbers of migrant workers, refugees and asylum seekers, and she congratulated Thailand for those positive efforts. Thailand neighboured several countries, including Malaysia, Myanmar, Lao People's Democratic Republic and Cambodia. In the border areas with those countries, as well as on the coast, racial discrimination had been seen, based on ethnic, religious and political reasons. Many migrant workers and asylum seekers from neighbouring countries had an "illegal" status, she said, and a considerable number of them, including children, were stateless. A large number of indigenous peoples who lived in the forest or coastal areas were discriminated against. Those groups' enjoyment of human rights was hindered by unsustainable and non-human rights-based development. Most development policies were made without free, prior and informed consent of the people who had lived in affected areas for generations. There were also reports of forced evictions without proper compensation as a result of construction and development projects, with the complicity of transnational corporations. The Committee also noted that hate speech, stereotyping, and racial profiling against ethnic groups and indigenous peoples prevailed.
The human rights situation had further deteriorated under emergency decrees and martial law. Reports of enforced disappearances, torture and ill-treatment, and racial profiling against people in the southern border provinces, as well as oppression of human rights defenders, were very concerning.
The Committee was critical of the fact that the progress for the realisation of human rights was very slow, Ms. Chung said. After the Committee adopted its last concluding observations in 2012, working groups on early warning and urgent action procedures of the Committee had received information from civil society organizations, and subsequently the Committee sent letters to the Thai Government in 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2020. However, the situation appeared not to have improved, and the Committee continued to receive reports of human rights violations in relation to the issues raised in those letters. The Thai Government still had not ratified several important international human rights instruments.
Turning to concrete questions, Ms. Chung asked the delegation to provide statistical data on the ethnic composition of the population. Noting that the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand had been downgraded to a "B" status, she asked the delegation to explain why that had happened. Did the Thai Constitution guarantee the rights specified in article 4 of the Convention to all Thai people, including ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples, and non-citizens? What barriers were faced in access to justice?
On the matter of hate speech and hate crimes, the Committee had received information that the Government continued to spread negative stereotypes about ethnic groups and indigenous peoples. What measures were being taken to address incidents of incitement to racial hatred and propagation of racist stereotypes, including incidents involving Government officials in the media, on the Internet, and on social media?
There were many reports that the Government authorities, including the military and police officers, collected DNA samples from some ethnic groups and indigenous peoples without their informed consent, and used facial recognition technology and other measures, which were all considered as racial profiling. Could the delegation respond to those reports? Could the delegation provide information about measures taken to address acts of judicial harassment, violence, threats, intimidation and reprisals against human rights defenders?
YEUNG KAM JOHN YEUNG SIK YUEN, Committee Vice-Chairperson and member of the Task Force for Thailand, asked the delegation for further information about Thailand's national human rights institution, the National Human Rights Commission. On the subject of human rights defenders, the National Human Rights Commission had stated that it had received complaints from the Karen ethnic group about the negative effects on their way of life due to Government conversions of land. What had been done to redeem the situation? On the matter of access to justice, was free legal aid available in Thailand?
VERENE ALBERTHA SHEPHERD, Committee Vice-Chairperson and member of the Task Force for Thailand, asked if there were plans to implement legislation to prevent racial discrimination against all peoples? How effectively did self-regulating codes treat negative stereotypes or prejudices? What resolute action had the Thai Government taken to censure and reprimand individuals, particularly politicians, who furthered negative stereotypes and prejudice against ethnic minorities, in particular non-national minorities?
GUN KUT, Committee Member and follow-up Rapporteur for Thailand, noted that the previous concluding observations dated from 2012. On the matter of asylum seekers and refugees, he said the Committee earlier had urged the State party, inter alia, to adopt appropriate procedures for the protection of refugees and asylum seekers, to take measures to prevent any further expulsion of Rohingyas, and to review its position on the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and Asylum Seekers.
Another Committee Expert said much testimony the Committee had received attested to the fact that Black people were frequent victims of racial discrimination in Thailand. What concrete measures had been adopted by the Government of Thailand in fighting stereotyping and racial discrimination against people of African descent? Another Committee Expert asked what had happened following a pilot project by the Ministry of Culture to revive some ethnic groups' ways of life, what its outcomes were, and whether there was a plan to widen the plan to include other ethnic groups?
Responses from the Delegation
On the issue of the national human rights institution, the delegation explained that the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand was an independent organ. In accordance with the Paris Principles, the newly constituted Commission had started to perform its duties in 2021; it was Thailand's fourth national human rights institution. Its first regional office was in the south of the country, where a number of ethnic groups resided. The Commission currently held "B" status, and had made efforts to return to "A" status. Its mandate remained unaffected, namely to identify and investigate all cases of human rights violations across the country, without discrimination on any grounds, with a view to submitting recommendations to relevant agencies for solutions and remedies.
In response to questions about hate speech and negative stereotyping, the delegation reaffirmed that Thailand did not condone racism or any practice of racial discrimination. Although there was no specific law on hate speech or racist propaganda, insulting others or committing an act of insult were offenses punishable under the Thai Criminal Code.
With regard to the issue of racial profiling in the case of DNA collection, the delegation explained that DNA testing and other forms of evidence were important tools to prove the identity of offenders who committed crimes, and the collected samples were used as a data base of crime investigation and strictly for cases concerning national security. Officers carried out their duties regardless of race or religion. The evidence from such DNA collection had led to the arrest of violent perpetrators, and the DNA of a suspect could only be collected with his or her consent. Getting consent from individuals concerned must be done clearly. As for facial recognition technology, and SIM card registration to identify personal identities, measures had been taken to regulate cell phone users in Thailand's southern border provinces by referring to the public administration in emergency situations, aiming at preventing violence and returning peace and security to people's lives. Violent incidents in Thailand's southern border provinces had dropped sharply after the mandatory SIM card registration law and mandatory facial scans had been taken. The measure was applicable for everyone in southern border provinces without discrimination. The special security laws had never been applied in a discriminatory manner.
The Ministry of Justice had been conducting human rights awareness-raising activities, including for all stakeholders, inter alia, for Government offices, private sector, civil society sector, media, academics, students, the general public, and ethnic groups. Activities such as conferences, seminars, workshops and focus groups were held at provincial and local levels. Mobile units reached out to ethnic groups living in remote areas. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the format had changed to online. With regard to the issue of access to justice, the Government had promoted justice services to ensure everyone had access to legal remedies provided by the State.
There were several mechanisms receiving complaints related to human rights, at the central and local levels. The Rights and Liberty Protection Department of the Ministry of Justice was well-aware of the issue of the language barrier in justice administration. A project aiming to create a list of interpreters for justice had therefore been initiated a few years ago. The Ministry of Justice had continued to build up that capacity by organising training sessions on legal and human rights knowledge. The provision of interpreters was a measure which provided access to justice for all, including ethnic groups, without discrimination. There were also other legal aid services which provided assistance to ethnic groups, such as mediation services. Ethnic groups were eligible to be protected as part of witness protection. Human rights defenders were partners in promoting and protecting human rights in Thailand. They had been highlighted as a specific group which needed appropriate protection. The Ministry of Justice continually provided legal aid services, protection and assistance to human rights defenders, regardless of their nationality.
Questions from Committee Experts
CHINSUNG CHUNG, Committee Member and Country Rapporteur for Thailand, asked whether it was correct that martial law in the southern border provinces would be continued? There were human rights problems due to that law. Many reports submitted by civil society organizations showed very detailed facts with evidence of DNA collection without individual consent targeting some ethnic groups. Criminal and civil charges against indigenous human rights defenders were reported. In that context, the Committee needed more accurate Government records, statistics or evidence on that situation.
YEUNG KAM JOHN YEUNG SIK YUEN, Committee Vice-Chairperson and member of the Task Force for Thailand, asked for more information about section 393 of the Criminal Code. The offense which was described under it was considered as a petty offense, with a penalty of less than one year's imprisonment and a small fine.
A Committee Expert asked the delegation for further information about the DNA samples taken from indigenous peoples. In the response given yesterday, the delegation had said DNA was taken for the purposes of national security. Yet the State party's report stated that DNA could be used to prove rights to Thai nationality; could the delegation explain that? Another Committee Expert asked about access to education for refugee children. Did they go to the same schools as Thai children, and were those schools free of charge? One Committee Expert asked for further information about legal provisions related to biodiversity conservation. Could the delegation provide more information about cases before the courts related to that?
CHINSUNG CHUNG, Committee Member and Country Rapporteur for Thailand, asked about the right to education and cultural rights. Could the delegation provide information on measures taken to protect ethnic and indigenous languages, including efforts made and resources allocated for the teaching of ethnic and indigenous languages in schools? Which forestry and conservation laws and programmes ensured respect for indigenous peoples' right to free, prior and informed consent in decisions affecting them? On the subject of land rights, could the delegation respond to reports of incidents of land grabbing and forced evictions impacting ethnic groups and indigenous peoples? Could the latter access remedies and compensation? Were indigenous peoples and forest communities criminalised for their use of forests and land? Could the delegation provide information on measures taken to recognise indigenous peoples in the law? What special measures were being implemented for the enjoyment of rights of ethnic minority groups and indigenous peoples?
Ms. Chung said that civil society organizations had insisted that Malay Muslims were subjected to racial profiling. Could the delegation provide information on measures to investigate allegations on the collection of DNA samples without their consent, and the use of facial recognition technologies by police and military officers, to racially profile Muslim Malay citizens in the southern border provinces?
Intersectional discrimination affected ethnic groups and indigenous peoples, noted Ms. Chung. The Committee had received information about the concerning human rights situation of some sex workers. Did the delegation have data on sex workers disaggregated by ethnic groups or indigenous people, and their human rights situation? Could the delegation provide updated information on efforts to prevent human trafficking, including concrete data on the Rohingya from Myanmar and Bangladesh? Turning to migrant workers, could the delegation provide information on the impact of measures taken to improve human rights protection for migrant workers, especially undocumented workers?
In Thailand, were undocumented workers denied compensation when they were the victims of crimes? Were there special measures for women migrant workers? Could migrant workers access treatment for COVID-19? Could the delegation provide information about progress against statelessness, including birth registration for stateless children? Did children of undocumented migrant workers risk being stateless?
YEUNG KAM JOHN YEUNG SIK YUEN, Committee Vice-Chairperson and member of the Task Force for Thailand, asked about participation in political and public life. Would Thailand consider adopting International Labour Organization Convention 169 on indigenous and tribal peoples? It was reported that one million Karen people lived on the Thailand border. A report had found that members of indigenous groups and ethnic minorities were disproportionately at risk of enforced disappearance. What remedies were being taken by the State party to stop human rights abuses which appeared to be racially discriminatory and racially motivated? What actions were being taken to bring to justice perpetrators of enforced disappearance of Karen activists, including an individual case?
With regard to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer people in Thailand, many were from indigenous and ethnic groups, due to particular circumstances in their private situation, said the Committee Expert. Although Thailand had one of the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer communities in Asia, stigma and prejudices, and a weak legal framework, undermined their inclusion in Thai society. The intersection with racial discrimination made members of this community vulnerable to discrimination and violence. Could the delegation inform about any action plan for protecting them against gender-based discrimination?
VERENE ALBERTHA SHEPHERD, Committee Vice-Chairperson and member of the Task Force for Thailand, asked how the Thai Government ensured that ethnic groups could avail themselves of legal remedies without barriers against them? On the situation of non-citizens, including migrants and asylum seekers, could the delegation inform about how it was ensured that people in crowded facilities were protected against COVID-19? How many refugees had died in detention centres due to COVID-19?
The international community had been highly critical of Thai policies where ill-equipped boats carrying refugees and possible survivors of human trafficking were prevented from landing on Thai shores or were pushed back to sea with minimal food or water, said Ms. Shepherd. The Committee had been informed that Thailand had reportedly refouled 109 detainees from the Uighur community back to China. Media reports and other sources said they faced persecution when they returned. What had the Thai Government done to ensure that asylum seekers and those fleeing fighting were not pushed back to their countries of origin, and put at risk of being killed or put in danger, in accordance with the Convention's non-refoulement principle?
One Committee Expert asked for further information about the situation of the Rohingya. Another Committee Expert asked about the general legal status of refugees and asylum seekers in Thailand. How did Thailand ensure that refugees and asylum seekers enjoyed the protection they were guaranteed under general international human rights law, in particular protection from deportation, and the guarantee of non-refoulement? The State party's report to the Committee spoke of "illegal" migrants, raising questions of what was meant by that term, and how the State determined a person had a right to protection as a refugee? What screening mechanisms were in place? Another Committee Expert noted that the delegation had said the State party only had 800 cases of statelessness. According to information received by the Committee, 480,000 persons were stateless, largely indigenous peoples living in border mountain areas, many of whom were elderly. How had the figure of 800 been arrived at? Were special provisions made for persons who needed to integrate in Thai society?
Responses from the Delegation
The delegation said that there was no evidence whatsoever that the Thai Government was prohibiting the use of the hijab either in the southern provinces, or in other parts of Thailand. DNA had been used for two particular purposes, and one of them was in the southern provinces for crime prevention. The question had been asked about the use of DNA to identify the origins of stateless persons. That had been done all over the country; if persons had evidence to be Thai, procedures would ensue accordingly. Thailand in 2007 had joined other United Nations Member States - some with indigenous people, and some, like Thailand, which did not have indigenous people - in the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In doing so, Thailand had followed the situation of indigenous people around the world. In the case of Thailand, although the context of the term "indigenous" did not apply to the country, the 2017 Constitution accorded protection and promotion of human rights of all groups, without discrimination, including the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture.
In response to questions about access to citizenship and statelessness, the delegation said Thailand had 479,802 stateless persons, according to a database. Birth registration and naturalisation aimed to reduce and protect stateless persons, and provide them with legal rights and access to public services. Birth notification, personal records and identification cards for non-Thai citizens were available to stateless persons, to allow them to stay in Thailand legally and apply for naturalisation. As for birth registration, children born in Thailand to non-Thai parents, including stateless children, were entitled to birth registration. Many efforts had been made to disseminate information about birth registration and naturalisation. All children could access education; special measures had been put in place to ensure access to education for children with unclear status.
With regard to the use of land by ethnic groups and local communities, a Memorandum of Understanding provided a framework for a pilot project involving activities such as public hearings to support the participation of stakeholders, concerned communities, and the public. In response to questions about women belonging to ethnic groups in the southern border provinces of Thailand, the delegation explained that centres had been set up and provided access to services. Thailand had enacted several laws to combat violence against women. In response to questions about trafficking in persons, the delegation said the Government had established a police division dedicated to combatting the online sexual exploitation of children. As for migrant workers, new laws had been adopted to protect their rights. Migrant workers in Thailand could join trade unions of their choice. A draft amendment to the Labour Relations Act would expand migrant workers' rights to serve as board members of trade unions.
In response to questions about refugees and asylum seekers, the delegation explained that a "comprehensive action plan on illegal migrant management" for the years 2020-2022 had been developed to provide policy direction for urgent concerns about migration issues. That reflected the Government's commitment to addressing and providing appropriate protections for various types of migrants. A national screening mechanism, to be implemented in early 2022, would enable Thailand to identify people in need of protection, and grant them legal status as well as access to basic services, including health and education. As a major country of transit and destination, Thailand had been affected by a mass influx of irregular migrants from within and outside the region, the delegation said. The country had long adhered to its humanitarian tradition of providing needed assistance. On the Rohingya, there had been no reports in 2021 of mass movements of irregular migrants in the Indian Ocean. Close cooperation was one of the key factors in reducing and preventing irregular movement.
Thailand's public health service system covered the population in Thailand, including ethnic minorities, foreigners and migrant workers. A health insurance fund provided basic health services for people with status issues. The Ministry of Public Health provided humanitarian services for people most in need, and they could be served by public hospitals across the country.
Follow-up Questions from Committee Experts
CHINSUNG CHUNG, Committee Member and Country Rapporteur for Thailand, noted that petitions from parents of students not permitted to wear the hijab had been received. Could the delegation elaborate more on long-term policies for refugees living in border areas?
YEUNG KAM JOHN YEUNG SIK YUEN, Committee Vice-Chairperson and member of the Task Force for Thailand, asked about article 4 of the Convention.
A Committee Expert noted that many questions had been put to the delegation, and had not been answered. Another Committee Expert reiterated that remark.
Follow-up Responses from the Delegation
The delegation said that Thai legislation was in line with the Convention, yet would be improved. There was no discrimination in education, although there could be some misinterpretation of regulations, and that would be looked into. The delegation noted that Thailand, as the first country in the Asia-Pacific which had adopted a national action plan on business and human rights, was committed to actively promote and uphold the United Nations Guiding Principles on business and human rights in the priority areas of labour; land, community and natural resources and environment; human rights defenders; and cross-border investments and multinational enterprise.
YANDUAN LI, Committee Chairperson, thanked the delegation and Members of the Committee for the dialogue, which had been frank and constructive.
CHINSUNG CHUNG, Committee Member and Country Rapporteur for Thailand, thanked the delegation of Thailand and Committee Members for the fruitful and constructive dialogue. She also thanked the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand and civil society organizations for their participation throughout the process and for their engagement with the Committee. Addressing racial discrimination concerns in Thailand would also benefit in general the democratisation process and strengthen the rule of law. It would contribute to national reconciliation efforts and to the achievement of social peace in which all human rights were realised for everyone on a non-discriminatory basis.
WISIT WISITSORA-AT, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice of Thailand and head of the delegation, thanked the Committee for its active engagement in the constructive dialogue. Such a dialogue with the Committee reinforced Thailand's efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination in the country and beyond. The delegation took note of the Committee's concerns regarding human rights challenges, which would be further discussed among Government agencies and partners. Thailand's Government assured the facilitation of access to citizenship, justice and health care services, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, for vulnerable groups, in accordance with humanitarian principles. Thailand reiterated its full commitment to the Convention.
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