A group of United Nations (UN) experts condemned Thammakaset, a Thai poultry producer, for alleged targeting of human rights defenders Thursday.
In 2019, Thammakaset allegedly used Thai defamation laws to sue and have prosecuted ten individuals who criticized Thammakaset’s labor practices for human rights abuses. The UN experts called upon Thailand to reform defamation laws based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to prevent companies from silencing human rights activists.
Thailand is the first country in the Asia Pacific region to have a national action plan against human rights abuses in business. Additionally, Thailand has recently proposed to amend laws and protect human rights defenders.
Despite these promising actions, the UN experts recommended that Thailand take further action:
Although the adoption of the national action plan and the amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code to protect human rights defenders are positive steps in the right direction, it is time for the Thai Government to ensure that these measures are effective and that companies like Thammakaset stop vexatious legal proceedings against human rights defenders.
The report follows a March 2018 report to the Human Rights Council that previously called upon Thailand to reform its defamation laws for similar concerns.