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UN rights experts urge Thailand to address violations

[JURIST] A group of independent UN human rights experts on Friday urged [press release] Thai authorities to reverse all measures affecting basic human rights and to restore democratic rule in the country. Human rights issues in Thailand have become an issue as political unrest has resulted in the suspension of the Constitution [text] and the military assuming power of the nation. UN independent experts are concerned for the people of Thailand after the military summoned 440 individuals, including political leaders, academics, journalists and activists. Many of the Thai citizens arrested have been denied the rights to a lawyer and family visits. It has been reported that some of the detained individuals have possibly been subjected to ill treatment and torture. In regards to the issues in Thailand a UN expert stated, "[i]n moments of political crisis and turbulence, it is crucial to promote the full respect of the rule of law."

Human rights issues have been an ongoing issue within Thailand due to political unrest. Last month armed Thai soldiers arrested [JURIST report] human rights defender Sukanya Prueksakasemsuk and her son Panitan Prueksakasemsuk following a raid of their house in Bangkok. These arrests follow the release of several statements [JURIST report] last month by Thailand's military in an effort to smother dissent related to the military overthrow of the government. Political instability in Thailand has increased over the past month after a number of key political officials were removed. Thailand's new military junta leader, General Prayuth Chan-ocha [BBC profile], announced on Thursday the military has seized control of the country and suspended its constitution, after having declared martial law [JURIST reports] on Tuesday. Chan-ocha stated [BBC report] that the army's declaration of martial law was not a coup but will remain in place until "peace and order" has been restored. The declaration of martial law was announced on a military run television station, citing Thailand's Martial Law Act of 1914 as the basis for the military's action.

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