3. The core content of the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights

3.1 Action plan on labour

3.1.3 Action Plan (2019–2022)

Pillar 1: State duties in protecting (Protect)

 

No.

 

Issues

 

Activities

Responsible agencies Time-frame (2019–2022) Indicators (wide frame) Compliance with National Strategy/ SDGs/UNGPs
4. Recruitment Arrange for informers of corruption cases to enter the witness protection programme –   Royal Thai Police

– Ministry of Justice

2019–2022 Number of witnesses entering protection and receiving safety –   National Strategy for Public Sector Rebalancing and Development

–   SDG 16

–   UNGPs Articles 1, 3, 4, 10 and 25

 

3.3 Action plan for human rights defenders

3.3.1 Overview of the situation

… the processes, mechanisms and measures for protecting human rights defenders to be safe and able to fully use their rights and freedom to work and live. In the past, there have been many actions in this area, which can be summarized as follows:

1.Appointing a working group to develop measures to protect human rights defenders that are at risk of being violated (White List) The Ministry of Justice issued an order No. 412/2557 dated 28 October 2014 to appoint the working group chaired by the Director-General of the Rights and Liberties Protection Department with representatives from the government and the civil society sector to join as members of a working group. Their power and duties are to consider the criteria, guidelines and measures for the protection of human rights defenders and to consider the relevant rules, regulations and policies in order to establish guidelines for the protection of human rights defenders according to international standards and to perform other tasks as assigned. The working group meets continuously to determine the criteria and qualifications of human rights defenders, by decoding the action of human rights defenders and exchanging experiences.

2. Organizing a workshop to lay out guidelines for protecting human rights defenders The Rights and Liberties Protection Department conducted a workshop to set up a guideline to protect human rights defenders on 1 September 2016 by listening to opinions and views on the establishment of the guideline and categorizing the degree of the safety of human rights defenders into four groups, which are:

1) The black group means the human rights defenders threatened with death in which case compensation for damages should be given. Follow-up should be done to see if the relatives or those involved in the case of these human rights defenders are still at risk.

2) The red group means a group of human rights defenders that have been threatened such as by phone calls, threats or assault but the threats are not life-endangering.

3) The orange group means a group of human rights defenders that have been prosecuted. By using the law as a tool to attack human rights defenders, this causes disruption to their work, as they have to fight these other cases.

4) The grey group means a group of human rights defenders that have started to be attacked. It is unclear that there will be violence, but possibility that violence may occur.

In addition, the meeting also proposed to divide a framework into three measures as follows:
Short-term Medium-term Long-term
1.   Raise awareness with government agencies to understand the issues of human rights defenders

2.   Sign MOUs with various agencies

3.   Develop a manual for human rights defenders

4.   Field visits to the cases of human rights defenders to identify problems and

obstacles to define suitable measures to protect human rights defenders

1.   Appoint a working group to protect human rights defenders and appoint a representative from the Ministry of Interior to get involved

2.   Trial operations in a pilot style

1.   Enact laws or regulations of the Prime Minister’s office regarding measures to protect human rights defenders

2.   Include human rights defenders in the National Human Rights Plan No. 4

3. Developing a manual for human rights defenders. The Rights and Liberties Protection Department has collaborated with various sectors in developing a manual for human rights defenders and distributing to human rights defenders in the area of field visits or coming into contact with the Rights and Liberties Protection Department.

4. Adjusting the request and fact inquiry form (Form Kor Por Sor-17-02) of the Rights and Liberties Protection Division The Rights and Liberties Protection Department has adjusted the request forms to increase channels of communication to request assistance or make complaints on issues relating to the operation of human rights defenders.

5. Field visit to monitor the situation of human rights defenders who are violated or are at risk of being violated.

6. Preparing a weekly report on the situation of violation against rights, liberties and human rights to the Prime Minister. The Rights and Liberties Protection Department was assigned by the Minister of Justice to prepare a weekly report on the situation of violations of rights, liberties and human rights to the Prime Minister.

7. Revising the Act on Witness Protection in Criminal Case B.E. 2546 (2003) The Rights and Liberties Protection Department is currently proposing to amend the bill to cover cases of intimidation that have not yet entered into the justice process, in order to increase protection channels for human rights defenders.

8. Include issue of human rights defenders. The Rights and Liberties Protection Department will include issues for human rights defenders as one of the main issues under the 4th National Human Rights Plan, which will be effective in 2019–2022.

9.Establishing a committee on managing complaints related to torture and enforced disappearance.

 

In addition to the work of the Ministry of Justice, on 1 May 2018, the National Human Rights Commission has suggested measures or guidelines for the promotion and protection of human rights regarding human rights defenders.

The Office of the Court of Justice has attempted to amend the law to prevent the Anti-Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) by proposing to amend the Criminal Procedure Code, Section 161/1, in order to allow the court to exercise discretion in the event that the people are plaintiffs (meaning the victim is a person or juristic person).

In addition, the Office of the Court of Justice has attempted to present the draft Criminal Procedure Code, Section 165/2 to be added in with Section 165 … the newly drafted Section 165/2 specifies that the defendant may state facts to the court, or an important issue. … the law amendment on the issue will be another measure to help protecting human rights defenders from being falsely prosecuted.

Currently, many agencies have worked to create an understanding with affiliated staff regarding the work of human rights defenders, for example, the Ministry of Interior issued a letter to the governor of every province to inform the guidelines for prevention and resolving unrest from objections to implementing various government agencies’ projects and the private sector in the area. The Ministry of Defence also disseminated an operation manual for military personnel and civilians to look after demonstrators. Also, the Ministry of Justice through the Rights and Liberties Protection Department enacted a Mediation Act B.E. 2562 (2019) in order to set up a central dispute resolution system by government agencies including mediation in criminal cases in the investigative level, giving more options for people to terminate or dispute resolution voluntarily to the satisfaction of both parties, which is to strengthen reconciliation in society. These measures are considered additional measures of protection for human rights defenders as well.

 

3.3.3 Action Plan (2019–2023)

Pillar 1: State duties in protecting (Protect)

 

No.

 

Issues

 

Activities

Responsible agencies Time-frame (2019–2022) Indicators (wide frame) Compliance with National Strategy/ SDGs/UNGPs
1. Becoming a party to international human rights treaties and cooperation with various human rights mechanisms Clearly make a definition of “human rights defenders” by studying international standards – Ministry of Justice 2019–2022 Meeting to discuss with related agencies a clear definition of human rights defender –   National Strategy for National Security

–   National Strategy for Public Sector Rebalancing and Development

–   SDG 11 and 16

–   UNGPs Articles 1, 3, 5 and 7

Expedite ratification to relevant conventions such as the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED) – Ministry of Justice 2019–2022 Becoming a party of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED) –   National Strategy for National Security

–   National Strategy for Public Sector Rebalancing and Development

– SDG 11, 16 and 17

–   UNGPs Articles 1, 3, 5 and 7

2. Amendments to laws, regulations, policies

and related measures

Push for review, amendment and abolition of laws, as well as relevant mechanisms to facilitate the protection of human rights defenders, such as witness protection laws – Ministry of Justice 2019–2022 Reviewed policies, laws and related mechanisms to facilitate the protection of human rights defenders –   National Strategy for National Security

–   National Strategy for Public Sector Rebalancing and Development

–   SDG 16

–   UNGPs Articles 1, 3, 5 and 7

Study the guidelines for development of laws, regulations or measures to prevent Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation: (SLAPP) – Ministry of Justice 2019–2022 Studied development of guidelines for laws, regulations, or measures to prevent strategic litigation against public participation –   National Strategy for National Security

–   National Strategy for Public Sector Rebalancing and Development

–   SDG 16

–   UNGPs Articles 1, 3, 5 and 7

3. Protecting human rights defenders Establish or review policies, mechanisms and protection measures to protect human right defenders including female human rights defenders to work safely and train law enforcement agencies practically –   Ministry of Justice

–   Royal Thai Police

–   Office of the Attorney General

2019–2022 –   Reviewed or improvement of policies, mechanisms and protection measures to protect human right defenders including females to work safely

–   Train law enforcement agencies about policy, mechanisms, processes and measures to protect human rights defenders

–   National Strategy for National Security

–   National Strategy for Public Sector Rebalancing and Development

–   SDG 5 and 16

–   UNGPs Articles 1, 3, 5 and 7

Include the issue of protection of human right defenders in the 4th National Human Rights Plan – Ministry of Justice 2019 The issue of human rights defenders being put into the 4th National Human Rights Plan –   National Strategy for Public Sector Rebalancing and Development

–   SDG 16

–   UNGPs Articles 1, 3, 5 and 7

Organize discussions with human rights defenders by working creatively to prevent, alleviate and remedy adverse effects on human rights –   Ministry of Foreign Affairs

–   Ministry of Defence

–   Ministry of Justice

–   Other related agencies

2019–2022 Periodic consultation with human rights defenders –   National Strategy for National Security

–   National Strategy for Public Sector Rebalancing and Development

–   SDG 11 and 16

–   UNGPs Articles 1, 3, 5 and 7

4. Enhancing knowledge and understanding Organize training for law enforcement officers to enhance their knowledge and understanding in enforcing laws on the protection of human rights, such as handling rallies, expressing human rights, preventing dishonest lawsuits that attack human rights defenders, etc., including improving gender-sensitivity –   Royal Thai Police

–   Office of the Attorney General

–   Office of Court of Justice

–   Ministry of Defence

–   Ministry of Justice

–   Ministry of Foreign Affairs

2019–2022 – Trained law enforcement officers with better knowledge and understanding of law enforcement regarding the protection of human rights –   National Strategy for Public Sector Rebalancing and Development

– SDG 11, 16 and 17

–   UNGPs Articles 1, 3, 5, 7, 8 and 10

Organize activities to enhance community potential and human rights defenders in the community –   Ministry of Interior (Department of Provincial Administration)

–   Ministry of Justice

2019–2022 Target people are knowledgeable and understanding, able to protect themselves and not victims of human rights violations in the 76 provinces and in 878 districts

Provided knowledge and practical guidelines regarding human rights to the Deputy District Chief and administrative staff

Surveillance and suppression of risk areas in the 76 provinces of not less than once a month, and in the 878 districts, not less than 2 times a month

–   National Strategy for National Security

–   National Strategy for Human Capital Development and Strengthening

–   National Strategy for Public Sector Rebalancing and Development

–   SDG 11 and 16

–   UNGPs Articles 1, 3, 5 and 7

Organize training and enhance potential development for lawyers as well as providing a list of lawyers and legal advisors with expertise in defending human rights cases –   Ministry of Justice

–   Office of the Attorney General

2019–2022 Activities and projects to train and develop capacity of human rights lawyers

A list of lawyers and legal counsel with expertise and understanding in defending human rights cases

–   National Strategy for Public Sector Rebalancing and Development

–   SDG 16

–   UNGPs Articles 1, 3, 5 and 7

 

Pillar 2: Responsibilities of the business sector in respecting human rights (Respect)

The expectations will be the starting point and state enterprises as well as businesses of all sizes are encouraged to use them as a guideline, which is an important factor to reduce the adverse human rights impact of business operations.

2.1 Compliance with laws, measures and principles of human rights relating to the protection of human rights defenders

  • State enterprises and the business sector must comply with the law, measures and principles of human rights relating to the protection of human rights defenders.
  • State enterprises and the business sector should provide channels which their personnel can access for disseminating knowledge and understanding about laws, measures and principles of human rights related to protection of human rights defenders.
  • State enterprises and the business sector must cooperate with government agencies and international organizations to follow the monitoring and prosecution of human rights defenders.
  • State enterprises and the business sector should understand the role of human rights defenders in their job to protect them and ensure that they will not be terminated or prosecuted just because of their work for protecting the human rights of others.

2.2 Enhancing knowledge and understanding about the work of human rights defenders

  • State enterprises and the business sector should study and understanding the role of human right defenders’ work.
  • State enterprises and the business sector must cooperate in participation with government agencies’ activities organized to educate about the work of human rights defenders.
  • State enterprises and the business sector should provide a forum to discuss with human rights defenders in order to create an understanding of working together.
  • State enterprises and the business sector should disseminate and publicize the duty of human rights defenders to their staff and networks.

2.3 Establishing measures to protect human rights defenders

  • State enterprises and the business sector must provide an overview of the situation working with human rights defenders when requested by government agencies.
  • State enterprises and the business sector should participate with government agencies in implementing measures to protect human rights defenders and understanding the roles of human rights defenders.
  • State enterprises and the business sector and civil society should collaborate constructively in the prevention, mitigation and remedy of adverse human rights impacts.
  • State enterprises and the business sector should clearly assign personnel or agencies to correctly enhance knowledge and understanding to their staff regarding the work of human rights defenders to prevent misunderstandings and harassment between each other.

2.4 Complaint and remedy mechanism

  • State enterprises and the business sector should have a mechanism to consult with human rights defenders in order to deal with the violation of human rights.
  • State enterprises and the business sector should provide clear channels and designated coordinators for complaints.
  • State enterprises and the business sector should settle disputes with human rights defenders by fully negotiating and mediating disputes before bringing the case to justice which may involve coordination with relevant agencies in the area to help mediation to settle the disputes.
  • State enterprises and the business sector should avoid litigation to prosecute human rights defenders simply because they are performing their duty to claim and protect the rights of others.