Top Stories : Statement by H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, at the 37th session of the Human Rights Council High Level Segment News

Top Stories : Statement by H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, at the 37th session of the Human Rights Council High Level Segment

            Statement by H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai,

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand,

at the 37th session of the Human Rights Council High Level Segment



        Mr. President,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. After 70 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is now most opportune to look back to see what we have done right, what we could have done better, and what the future holds for us. I would therefore like to share some thoughts on 2 fronts: on promoting human rights at home and on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights after 70 years.
  2. On the national front, Thailand is particularly earnest in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the promotion and protection of human rights, which are mutually reinforcing. Thailand will leave no one behind by mainstreaming human rights into our development strategies, based on His Majesty the Late King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s Sufficiency Economy Philosophy, a people-centered and bottom-up approach.
  1. It is for this reason that since last November, the Royal Thai Government has designated, for the first time ever, human rights as a national agenda, linking it with Thailand 4.0 policy and our efforts to achieve sustainable development. 
  2. The Government has been working on various social measures and legal reforms.  We are aiming to improve the universal health coverage which now covers almost 100 percent of the population.  We have also introduced the Welfare Card Scheme, benefitting over 11 million registered low-income earners. We have enacted the Act for Prevention and Solution of the Adolescent Pregnancy Problem of 2016, the Penitentiary Act of 2017, the Amendment to the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act in 2017, the Amendment to the Labor Protection Act in 2017 and the Marketing Control on Food for Infants and Young Children Act of 2017.   We are drafting the Prevention and Elimination of Forced Labor Act, which will make forced labor a stand-alone offense and protect labor in the fishing industry, among many other groups.  And just last week, the Cabinet approved the draft Equitable Education Fund Act to enhance educational opportunities for all. The National Committee for Sustainable Development chaired by the Prime Minister has also recently established a Sub-Committee on Strategic Environmental Assessment to assess possible impacts of large-scale projects, including particularly on communities and peoples.
  1. We are also fully committed to ending statelessness by 2024. The Cabinet decision in 2015 paved the way forward in granting legal status and citizenship for around 110,000 stateless children of hill tribes descent. Furthermore, Thailand is working on its screening system for undocumented immigrants and refugees to ensure that those with genuine needs be protected.
  2. The Government is finalizing the 4th National Human Rights Plan (2019 – 2023) to address remaining human rights challenges such as access to land and natural resources as well as the protection of human rights defenders. Also in our pipeline is the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights which will involve the private sector more comprehensively in our human rights works.
  3. These are all actions aimed at leaving no one behind.

Mr. President,

  1. After 70 years, the UDHR remains our inspiration. I wish to share some thoughts for our further actions.
  2. First and foremost, the work on human rights must not be viewed as the work of government alone. It must be everybody’s work – be they States, the private sector, CSOs, academia, the media, as well as those in vulnerable situations.
  3. Secondly, we must focus more on prevention and protection rather than remedy. We must ensure that everyone, especially law enforcement officers, are fully aware of the importance of human rights and, in carrying out their duties, they do so with full respect for human rights and do not abuse their power.
  4. Thirdly, human rights promotion and protection must start early, at home, in family, and extend to schools, communities, workplaces, and social settings - both physical and virtual.  Today’s digitalized world makes it easier to communicate, but at the same time, to commit crimes and human rights violations. While social media helps to connect us, we need to ensure that it does not spread hatred and divisiveness. And while freedom of expression is important to innovation and development, it must be exercised with respect to the rights and reputation of others, and with a moral conscience and naturally it should not infringe upon the rights and interests of people at large who enjoy peace and stability and the benefits of public order.
  1. Fourthly, human rights is not simply about making demand to others to respect our rights, but it is about holding ourselves accountable.  Only through holding ourselves responsible for our words and actions can the values and principles of the UDHR be fully translated into reality.
  2. Equally important to all other aspects, we need to strengthen the UN human rights mechanisms to be fit-for-purpose, responsive, and constructive, as well as relevant by bringing about concrete impacts on the ground. We want to see synergies within the UN human rights mechanisms, including among the Council, the treaty bodies, special procedures, and the UPR.  We want to see the Human Rights Council as a venue for genuine, constructive dialogues. We need a Human Rights Council with a holistic perspective and mindset which aims to solve the challenges of our time in a manner that will bring sustainable change and development.   


I thank you, Mr. President.