THAILAND is in a position to be able to improve its human rights practices, notably towards migration, if the authorities change their perception about issues and accept roles of the international community.
By editor on 2015-09-02
Observing human rights will help ease Thai migration problems
BANGKOK: — THAILAND is in a position to be able to improve its human rights practices, notably towards migration, if the authorities change their perception about issues and accept roles of the international community.
Issues relating to Rohinyga and Uighur refugees or migrants would never have become political problems if they had been treated in accordance with proper human rights and humanitarian practice with cooperation from concerned international organisations.
Thai laws and the way they are implemented stem from such migration issues being seen as security concerns and do not include humanitarian aspects as part of the approach to address these matters, according to Seree Nonthasoot, the Thai representative to the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR).
“Thailand has sufficient legal mechanisms and frameworks to address these issues, but the country should have a better system of implementation,” he said.
Currently, Thailand is party to seven international treaties on human rights. They guarantee peoples’ rights against inhuman treatment, political and civil rights, economic and socio-cultural rights, protection of women and children’s rights. This is not to forget the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination and rights of people with disabilities.
While Thailand guarantees to protect the rights for foreign workers, Seree emphasised the scope of Thai law on migration should also cover refugees and asylum seekers.
This does not mean that Thailand has to immediately adhere to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, but the issue is increasing the standard of Thai law in such matters.
Implementation of these measures should guarantee security, safety and rights of those who seek shelter in the Kingdom, he said. Whether migrants are repatriated, resettled or assimilated into society, all of these processes should be done on the basis of respect for what a migrant wants and needs, Seree said.
More effective legal implementation would help increase Thailand’s capacity and effectiveness in tackling humanitarian challenges by making the country more proactive in the eyes of the foreign community, he said.
In regard to possible repatriation of Uighurs who remain here, he said Thailand should let international organisations take part in the process.
At the regional level, Seree said Asean member states often use a “negative consensus” to prevent issues such as the Rohingya situation to be formally discussed in detail. Seree said a negative consensus was a veto imposed by some member states that disagree with the common position of other Asean states.
However, Seree believed the group should push for a discussion on the issue by starting negotiations from points deemed acceptable to all sides – such as the issue of economic migration.
Once stakeholders feel more comfortable with negotiations, the issue could be addressed in more detail in an informal meeting (such as a decision-makers’ “retreat”).
As for work of the AICHR, he said it wants to promote more protection measures in the region by enabling an approach where it is possible to examine facts and more cooperation on problem-solving measures.
Asean members will adopt the Asean Convention on Trafficking in Persons by the end of this year. He said the issue should be part of the regional agenda.
Despite progress, Asean should put more effort into tackling the problem by moving beyond an issue-based approach. The “big picture” of irregular migration needed to be understood when addressing such issues, Seree concluded.