Thai leaders snub meeting with UN human rights chief

Thai leaders snub meeting with UN human rights chief

INSTEAD of a red carpet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, found himself ignored by high-ranking Thai officials during his recent trip to the so-called Land of Smiles.

Thailand’s prime minister, foreign minister, and other senior government officials sidestepped a meeting with the UN Human Rights Chief during his recent visit to Bangkok. Türk visited Thailand from June 5th to 6th.

The UN official was greeted instead by the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs as well as the Thai and regional civil society.

The two-day diplomatic tour was downgraded to a mere stopover. Türk traveled to Laos after his two-day trip to Bangkok.

The UN agency has been critical of Thailand’s strict lèse-majesté law which criminalizes defamation, insult, or threats against the centuries-old monarchy of Thailand. The measure covers the king, queen, heir-apparent, heir-presumptive, or regent.

Last month, 28-year-old activist Netiporn “Bung” Sanesangkhom died of cardiac arrest after spending 65 days on a partial hunger strike. She was facing 7 charges, including two under the lèse majesté provision.

Political tensions in Thailand are becoming more evident with both the current and former prime ministers of the country facing separate charges filed by opposition lawmakers.


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