Legislature preparing law against torture and abuse

humanrights3Thailand’s legislature is seeking to improve the country’s human rights situation by preparing a draft law against torture and other abuses that includes prison sentences of up to 20 years for state officials, in response to domestic and international criticism of the country’s record on preventing and solving enforced disappearances.

The law is among the toughest ever passed in Thailand and extends punishments to a maximum of life imprisonment if the victim died, and 30 years in prison if the torture or abuse resulted in serious injury to victims. It marks a major move against both rogue government and security officials and those outside of government who believe they can act with impunity.

The draft legislation has already been reviewed and passed by the Council of State, ensuring it is in line with the constitution and other relevant laws. Once approved by the legislature after three readings, it will go to the Cabinet of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha for passage before being published in the Royal Gazette.

Thailand has a strong commitment in principle to human rights in the context of its constitution and domestic laws. It has passed and/or ratified numerous international agreements, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, along with many International Labor Organization conventions protecting the rights of workers and migrants. Thailand enacted the United Nation’s Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in 2007.