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UN rights chief concerned by Thailand government’s new security order

JURIST UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein 1 official profile expressed alarm 2 press release Thursday over the Thai government’s decision to replace martial law with a new security order. On Wednesday Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha 3 BBC profile announced the military government would lift martial law 4 JURIST report and replace it with Article 44 of Thailand’s interim constitution 5 text. Zeid said the move is “really very worrying because it could lead to quite wide-scale human rights violations with total impunity and gives quite extraordinary powers even to junior military officers in their dealing with civilians.” The imposition of Article 44 permits Chan-ocha to issue any legislative, executive or judicial order.

According to Zeid, the order may annihilate freedom of expression. Moreover, violations of human rights under national and international laws would be legal and “peace and order maintenance officers” could be provided with immunity from both criminal and civil liabiliy. Thailand has undergone political turmoil since the military coup last May when the country’s armed forces declared martial law 6 JURIST report on a military run television station, citing Thailand’s martial law act of 1914 as the basis for the military’s action.

Just two days later, Chan-ocha announced that the military had seized control of the country and suspended its constitution 7 JURIST report.

In July Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej expressed his support 8 JURIST report for the interim constitution even though the international community expressed concern.

In September a group of Thai human rights activists denounced 9 JURIST report and called for an end to the country’s state of martial law, accusing the ruling militia of imposing a judicial “twilight zone.” References ^ Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein (www.un.org) ^ expressed alarm (www.ohchr.org) ^ Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha (www.bbc.com) ^ military government would lift martial law (jurist.org) ^ interim constitution (lawdrafter.blogspot.com) ^ declared martial law (jurist.org) ^ suspended its constitution (jurist.org) ^ expressed his support (jurist.org) ^ activists denounced (jurist.org)