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Thailand: NGOs Press for End of Emergency

(June 25, 2010) On June 22, 2010, 55 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) issued a statement asking that the Thai government end the state of emergency that has been in place in the country since April 2010. In addition, the groups urged Thailand to improve conditions for freedom of expression and the independence of the judiciary. Since Thailand's Ambassador Sihasak Phuangketkeow has been elected to the presidency of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the NGOs felt it was especially important for Thailand to uphold human rights standards. (Dwyer Arce,
Asia Rights Groups Urge Thailand to End State of Emergency
; Human Rights Council website, (last visited June 23, 2010).)

The NGO document stated:

[T]he government of Thailand … must play an exemplary role in upholding the highest human rights standards and fully cooperating with the Council and other UN human rights mechanisms. The public image and credibility of the Council will be seriously undermined if it is chaired by a representative of the State that continues to impose unduly prolonged state of emergency in the country. We urge the government of Thailand to lift the Emergency Decree without any further delay and ensure full transparency and accountability for those human rights violations committed during the recent unrest in its capital. (Arce, supra.)

Thailand's Prime Minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, announced this month that the emergency will not be lifted until at least July 7, its original expiration date, due to concern that unrest will continue. At that time the special provisions may be ended in parts of the country, but might continue in the capital, according to a recent statement by Vejjajiva. “I believe that the state of emergency is likely to be lifted in many areas,” he said. (Emergency Rule to Be Lifted in Much of Thailand, AFP (June 24, 2010),

The state of emergency was imposed following protests against the government calling for the dissolution of parliament and new elections; the rallies had become violent, with incidents of rioting and arson. The emergency conditions allow broader powers of arrest and detention for police, censorship of media, curfews, and bans on public meetings. In addition, people may be held without access to legal counsel for up to 30 days. (Arce, supra; Erin Bock, Thailand Grants Bail to Red Shirt Protesters, Extends State of Emergency, PAPER CHASE NEWSBURST (June 9, 2010),