Thailand has withdrawn from a member of the World Heritage Convention


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June 30, 2011



Thailand-Cambodia relation has been tensed since Preah Vihear temple was granted UN World Heritage status in July 2008.
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In1962, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that the temple belonged to Cambodia; however, the dispute between Cambodia and Thailand over the ownership of 4.6 square kilometres area around the temple remains unresolved.

Cambodia requested the ICJ to interpret its 1962 ruling on the 4.6-square-kilometre overlapping territorial claims area and simultaneously incited the World Heritage Committee to find a management plan of the overlapping area around; however, on the other side, Thailand requested the World Heritage Committee for a prolongation of any proposed management plan until the ICJ has interpreted the ruling or until Thailand and Cambodia has finished the demarcation of the overlapping area.

Lastly, June 26, 2011 - Thailand has already informed the World Heritage Committee its intention to withdraw from a member of the World Heritage Convention after the World Heritage Committee failed to heed Thailand’s request in seeking postponement of the management plan which unilaterally proposed by Cambodia, as Thailand is afraid that it may threaten national sovereignty.

The resignation has caused the Director General of the Fine Arts Department, Mrs. Somsuda Leyavanija, one of 21 members of the World Heritage Convention, to leave her post.

As the result of the withdrawal, the World Heritage Committee could no longer force Thailand to be bound with its decision. Moreover, Thai Government spokesman, Mr. Panitan Wattanayagorn said the withdrawal aimed to protect Thailand’s interests.

He elucidated that the prime minister and the government of Thailand made a decision to withdraw from the treaty and the membership of World Heritage Committee because Thailand needed to make sure that we are not running any risks affecting our national integrity and sovereignty.



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