Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 21 May 2012.

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Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the treatment of people (a) arrested and (b) convicted under lèse majesté laws in Thailand.

Photo of Jeremy Browne Jeremy Browne The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The UK attaches great importance to human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Freedom of expression is a fundamental right of every human being. We are closely following the development of freedom of expression in Thailand and are concerned by the significant increase of lèse-majesté cases in the country and the application of the laws and length of sentences in recent cases.

With our European Union partners, the UK expressed concern last year at the conviction and imprisonment for 20 years of Ampon Tangnoppakul for violating the lese-majeste laws.

Our embassy in Bangkok continues to monitor the ongoing trials of high profile lèse majesté and freedom of expression on the internet cases. We have urged the Thai Government to ensure that the rule of law is applied in a non-discriminatory and proportionate manner consistent with upholding basic human rights, and will continue to take appropriate opportunities to do so.

During my visit to Thailand in 2010, I raised the issue of conditions for detainees in Thailand, referring specifically to the importance of access to exercise, proper food and medical facilities.

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