UN Human Rights Council Moves the Ball Forward on Refugee Rights in Thailand, Tanzania

Read the official press release here.

Since opening our doors in Thailand and Tanzania, Asylum Access has been challenging the barriers that keep refugees from rebuilding their lives.

We are encouraged by recent results from the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the United Nations in Geneva that show progress towards achieving greater refugee rights in these countries. (What is the Universal Periodic Review (UPR)?)

During this past UPR session May 9-11, States from around the world called on the Governments of Tanzania and Thailand to better uphold the human rights of refugees.

The session ended with pledges from Thailand to increase refugees’ access to health, education and social welfare and improve the living conditions in immigration detention centers.

The session also marked the first time that the human rights of refugees was part of Tanzania’s UPR. Asylum Access submitted to the UPR in coalition with Church World Service, the Legal and Human Rights Centre and Children Education Society .

Greater attention to refugee rights at Thailand and Tanzania’s UPR reflects the increase in priority the issue has garnered by the international community. Progress on improving the human rights of refugees will be reexamined during the countries’ next UPR, slated to take placed in 2021.

The UPR mechanism is an effective tool to protect and promote human rights worldwide. A study from 2014 shows that nearly 50 percent of UPR recommendations were either partially or fully implemented within 2.5 years of being raised.

As Jessica Therkelsen, Global Policy Director at Asylum Access, notes:

“The UPR mechanism is crucial for ensuring that states protect the rights of refugees alongside citizens and others in their borders. These recommendations give refugee rights advocates clear goals for engaging governments over the next four years.”


Jessica Therkelsen
Global Policy Director, Asylum Access
(+1) 510.899.8700

Emily Arnold-Fernandez
Executive Director, Asylum Access
(+1) 415.601.3896

[box]The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a mechanism by which the United Nations Human Rights Council examines each of the 193 UN Member States human rights record. Each country is reviewed every 4.5 years and as part of the examination, other UN Member States can pose questions and make recommendations to the State under review. In following sessions, States are expected to report back on what they have done to implement previously raised recommendations.[/box]