GENEVA (May 2014) – At its fifty-second session in May 2014, the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT) adopted its Concluding Observations on the Initial Report of Thailand under the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (“Convention Against Torture”).
The Committee Against Torture is the body of 10 independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention Against Torture by its State parties. The Convention Against Torture is one of the most widely ratified human rights instruments in the world, with 156 State parties.
All States parties are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented. States must report initially one year after acceding to the Convention and then every four years. The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of “concluding observations”.
The Committee raised concerns over the lengthy and in some cases indefinite detention of asylum and seekers in immigration detention centers in Thailand. It also commented on the lack of independent and systematic review of detention decisions and the restrictive use of alternatives to detention for asylum seekers.
The Committee has urged Thailand to end indefinite detention for asylum seekers and migrants. It has also urged Thailand to guarantee detainees access to independent, qualified and free legal advice and representation.
21. The Committee is concerned at the use of lengthy and, in some cases, indefinite detention in immigration detention centres for asylum seekers and migrants who enter the State party undocumented, as well as at the lack of an independent and systematic review of such detention decisions and the restrictive use of alternatives to detention for asylum seekers (arts. 3, 11 and 16).
The State party should review its detention policy with regard to asylum seekers and give priority to alternatives to detention. The State party should end indefinite detention for asylum seekers and migrants and guarantee them access to independent, qualified and free legal advice and representation, in order to ensure that persons in need of international protection are duly recognized and refoulement is prevented.
IDC Member Amnesty International’s submission to the Committee can be found here. Submissions by other civil society organizations and the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand can be found here