Key Points

An examination of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Thailand across two cycles (2009, 2014) reveals:

  • No serious concern for Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB), though an uncertain situation prevails with regard to the Constitution and the rule of law following the 2014 coup d’état. The current constitutional arrangement contains guarantees on FoRB;

  • Highlanders, inclusive of minority ethnic communities, continued to be denied citizenship and consequently FoRB;

  • Muslims in South Thailand were a concern in spite of the Government’s claims that the conflict is not a religious one; and

  • Rohingya, Muslim refugees from Myanmar, faced discrimination as their rights under international law were being violated.

Key UPR Recommendations on FoRB

The following recommendations were made on FoRB across two cycles:

  • To generally improve the situation of human rights in Thailand, including the protection of FoRB.

Follow-up Action for Parliamentarians

Whereas the Government of Thailand has noted its guarantees on FoRB, Parliamentarians must follow-up in order to:

  • Ensure that current constitutional arrangements provide for clear and unambiguous protections on FoRB that are in conformity with Thailand’s international human rights obligations;

  • Ensure that minority groups and indigenous peoples in the Highlands are granted citizenship in order to enjoy fully their cultural and spiritual practices; and

  • Ensure that Muslims in South Thailand are not subject to discrimination amidst the ongoing conflict.

Source: Country Briefing on Freedom of Religion or Belief produced by Asia Centre and IPPFoRB

Mohammad Mujeeb