Thailand’s draconian lese majeste law criticized

7 10 2011

In The Nation it is reported that a long list of countries have urged the Thai government to reconsider its draconian lese majeste law.

The comments came during the Universal Periodic Review session at the U.N. Human Rights Council. It is reported that:

Representatives from the United Kingdom, France and Slovenia shared the view that the lese majeste law affected freedom of expression and urged Thailand to consider this aspect of liberty. Hungary and Finland urged Thailand to invite the UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression to visit Thailand.

The representative of Norway – also a kingdom – made the most concrete suggestion, pointing out that although Norway has a lese majeste law, a charge can only be brought with the personal approval of the king in order to “avoid abuses”.

… Other states whose representatives urged Thailand to amend the law included Switzerland, Brazil, Spain, Sweden and New Zealand. Some of these, including the Canadian representative, also raised the issue of the Computer Crimes Act, which critics say is also being used by the Thai government to curb freedom of expression.

The report also notes the conspicuous absence of the US on the lese majeste issue. That is not unexpected as the U.S. has been hopeless on this issue for many years, unable to see the victims of lese majeste repression as political prisoners. With such a huge blind spot in its so-called human rights report, the U.S. has little credibility amongst observers of human rights in Thailand.

It cannot be expected that the U.S. would join other credible countries in urging the “Thai government amend the lese majeste law to bring the country’s level of freedom of expression in line with international standards.” A European diplomat is cited as saying that “Washington’s lack of comment on the issue put the US ‘in the same league’ with dictatorial states.”

The U.S.’s partners in silence were China, Syria, Singapore and Burma.

Of course, Thailand’s official representatives mumble on about being “keen to prevent the misuse of the law” and having committees to ensure the law is not abused, but this is all nonsense. Lese majeste is used to silence critics. Thai Ambassador to the UN Sihasak Phuangketkeow, who is a well-known mouthpiece for any kind of state repression and censorship made himself look stupid by claiming that the media in Thailand is free when there is the continuing censorship of tens of thousands of web sites.

PPT hopes that the countries that spoke against lese majeste repression will be more vocal about the imprisonment of hundreds on this draconian charge.


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14 06 2014
Updated: The China factor | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] coup supporters, so we can expect such pleading from them. It proclaims that Sihasak Phuangketkeow, who PPT once described as “a well-known mouthpiece for any kind of state repression and censorship” and who is […]

14 06 2014
Updated: The China factor | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] coup supporters, so we can expect such pleading from them. It proclaims that Sihasak Phuangketkeow, who PPT once described as “a well-known mouthpiece for any kind of state repression and censorship” and who is […]

22 06 2014
Updated: Thailand’s shame | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] defending the undefendable on human rights, like the military’s use of cluster bombs and the draconian lese majeste law. This slippery character even announced that “Thailand deserve[d] an upgrade in the annual […]

22 06 2014
Updated: Thailand’s shame | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] defending the undefendable on human rights, like the military’s use of cluster bombs and the draconian lese majeste law. This slippery character even announced that “Thailand deserve[d] an upgrade in the annual […]




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