Press briefing note on Bahrain and Thailand
Acting Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Ravina Shamdasani
Date: 9 December 2011
At the request of the Government of Bahrain, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, is dispatching a delegation to the country next week, from 13 to 16 December, to discuss how we can support national efforts towards the establishment of an open and democratic society in Bahrain.
The four-member delegation will be led by Mr. Bacre Ndiaye, the Director of the Human Rights Council and Special Procedures Division at the UN Human Rights office, and Mr. Frej Fenniche, the Chief of the Middle East and North Africa Section.
The delegation looks forward to engaging with the Government, civil society, members of the political opposition and victims of human rights violations in the country. Upon its return, the mission will submit concrete recommendations to the High Commissioner on the way forward.
We are concerned about the ongoing trials and harsh sentencing of people convicted of lse majest in Thailand and the chilling effect that this is having on freedom of expression in the country. Such harsh criminal sanctions are neither necessary nor proportionate and violate the country’s international human rights obligations.
We urge the Thai authorities to amend the laws on lse majest. In the meantime, guidelines should be issued to t he police and public prosecutors to stop arresting and charging individuals under these vaguely worded laws. In addition to the disproportionate prison sentences being handed down by the Courts, we are also concerned about the extended periods that accused persons are being held in pre-trial detention.
For more information or media requests, please contact Ravina Shamdasani (+ 41 22 917 9310 / email@example.com) or Xabier Celaya (+ 41 22 917 9383 / firstname.lastname@example.org).
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