GENEVA, May 23 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations human rights chief on Friday urged Thailand to ensure respect for human rights and a prompt restoration of the rule of law in the country.
"I am deeply concerned about the forcible replacement of an elected Government, the imposition of martial law, the suspension of the constitution and the emergency measures that are restricting the enjoyment of human rights," said Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, in a statement.
The Thai military on Thursday sized control of the country following months of unrest and widespread protests in the country.
It was reported that since Thursday, twenty one announcements and three orders have been issued by the National Peace and Order Maintaining Council (NPOMC), the new body that has seized power in Thailand.
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) stressed that the eleventh announcement suspended constitutional rights and freedoms.
"I am very concerned by the restrictions on fundamental freedoms imposed by the NPOMC," Pillay said, adding that freedom of expression and freedom of assembly were particularly important in resolving difficult political issues through dialogue and debate.
The senior UN official said the military detention of senior politicians and civilians was very disturbing, and urged NPOMC to immediately release them.
"I remind the authorities that the implementation of any emergency measures must comply with international human rights standards. The right to life and the prohibition against torture cannot be breached, regardless of the circumstances," Pillay stressed.
The human rights official urged NPOMC to ensure that they do not stray from Thailand's obligations under international human rights law, particularly the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, highlighting that measures deviating from provisions of the covenant "must be of an exceptional and temporary nature and must be limited to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation".
Popular demonstrations in Thailand began in late 2013, with calls for the ouster of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's administration and implementation of anti-corruption reforms. On May 7, Yingluck reportedly was removed from government after a ruling by the Thai Constitutional Court. The military declared martial law earlier this week.