Thailand: A 10-point human rights agenda for the new government

Tuesday 5 September 2023

In a letter sent to Thailand’s 30th Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, FIDH highlighted 10
key human rights priorities that remained unaddressed under previous administrations.
This deliberate negligence significantly worsened Thailand’s human rights record and
contributed to the country’s failure to secure a seat on the United Nations (UN) Human
Rights Council for the 2015-2017 term.

Paris, 5 September 2023. Thailand’s new government should prioritize important and long-standing
human rights issues during its term in office, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH),
the Union for Civil Liberty (UCL), the Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw), and the Thai Lawyers
for Human Rights (TLHR) urged today.

“The new government has an opportunity to reverse Thailand’s downward human rights
trend by addressing decades of serious abuses and related impunity. A failure to tackle the
disastrous human rights legacy of the 2014 military coup and General Prayuth Chan-ocha’s
rule will have negative implications for the Thai people and Thailand’s international
reputation,” said FIDH Secretary-General Adilur Rahman Khan.

FIDH identified and selected the human rights priorities by analyzing recurring recommendations
that Thailand received from various UN human rights monitoring mechanisms over the course of
nearly two decades. Based on this analysis, FIDH made practical recommendations on the following
issues: space for civil society organizations and human rights defenders; accountability for
extrajudicial killings, torture, and enforced disappearances; protection of refugees and asylum
seekers; amendment of problematic laws; improvement of prison conditions; the situation in the
Southern Border Provinces; the death penalty; and gender equality.

FIDH calls on Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and his administration to take significant steps during
the first 100 days in office in order to place the above-referenced issues at the core of the
government’s human rights agenda and chart the process of implementation of the associated
recommendations. This would also ensure that Thailand will be a strong candidate for UN Human
Rights Council membership for the 2025-2027 term.


The general election held on 14 May 2023 was the first since the youth-led pro-democracy
demonstrations that swept across Thailand in 2020 demanding deep, structural reforms of the
country’s political and socio-economic system. The 75.7% voter turnout was the highest ever record
in a Thai general election.

On 13 July 2023, Pita Limjaroenrat, the leader of the Move Forward Party (MFP), which emerged as
the largest party in Parliament by securing 151 seats in the 500-seat House of Representatives,
failed to receive enough support by the House of Representatives and the Senate to become Prime
Minister. Under Thailand’s military-backed 2017 Constitution, a prime minister must receive the
majority in a vote by both the House of Representatives and the Senate, whose 250 members were
appointed by the military junta that seized power in the May 2014 coup d’etat. Only 13 senators
voted for Pita Limjaroenrat on 13 July.

On 22 August 2023, Srettha Thavisin, one of the three prime ministerial candidates of the Pheua
Thai Party (PT) – the second biggest party in Parliament – was elected Prime Minister with the
support of elected representatives from 14 other political parties (excluding the MFP) and more than
half of the senators. On 23 August 2023, he became Prime Minister upon receiving the official
endorsement by King Rama X.

The previous administration under Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-ocha and the militarybacked
Palang Pracharat Party (PRPP), which came to power after the deeply flawed March 2019
general election, continued many of the repressive policies and actions that had been put in place by
the military junta headed by General Prayuth himself.