THAILAND: Revocation of passports by junta restricts freedom of movement and creates spectre of statelessness

lungyuth

ข้อกำหนดของสหประชาชาติที่คณะรัฐประหารละเมิดได้มีการให้ตัวอย่างไว้ด้วย จึงได้ขีดเส้นบนและเส้นล่าง แบ่งแสดงเอาไว้ เป็นแนวทางในการอ่าน สรุปรวมได้สั้นๆว่า การถอนหนังสือเดินทางนั้นไม่ชอบด้วยกติกาสากลที่ประเทศไทย (รวมทั้งประเทศอื่นๆ)ที่ได้ทำไว้ร่วมกัน

http://www.humanrights.asia/news/ahrc-news/AHRC-STM-135-2014

The Asian Human Rights Commission is gravely concerned that during the past two weeks, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), the ruling military junta, has revoked the passports of at least nine Thai citizens. According to reports from Prachatai and statements from the Ministry of Affairs, the passports of Junya Yimprasert, Somsak Jeamteerasakul, Pavin Chachavalpongpun, Jakrapob Penkair, Charupong Ruangsuwan, Sunai Julapongsathorn, Chatwadee Amornpat, Ekapop Luara, and Atthachai Anantamek, have been revoked following their decisions to not report to the junta’s summons. The revocation of passports operates as a coercive measure designed to ensure compliance with the junta’s orders and amounts to the restriction of freedom of movement of all of these persons, and in the cases of those who currently reside outside Thailand, making them into de factostateless persons.

While this action has been justified by the junta and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the Ministry’s 2005 Regulations on the Issuance of Passports, the Asian Human Rights Commission’s assessment is that the revocation of these passports in the politicized and increasingly lawless atmosphere following the 22 May 2014 coup is a derogation of Thailand’s responsibilities as a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). In all of these cases, reports indicate that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has relied on Section 23(2) in connection with Section 21(2) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ 2005 Regulations on the Issuance of Passports, which permits the revocation of a passport once an arrest warrant has been issued. Section 23(2) stipulates that, “Officials may revoke and recall a passport when the below occurs:  (2) The passport holder is an individual for whom the officials may not issue a passport in line with Section 21 (2), (3), and (4)” (unofficial AHRC translation). Section 21 (2) stipulates that,“Officials are able to deny or inhibit the request or amend a passport in the following cases: (2) When the requestor is someone who is undergoing punishment in a criminal case, or is on temporary release, or is a person who is a defendant in a criminal case in which an arrest warrant has been issued, that the court or the administrative officials or the police view that a passport should not be issued” (unofficial AHRC translation).

In all of these cases, arrest warrants have been issued for the individuals following their decisions not to report to the junta following summons. Those who have reported followed summons have, at a minimum, been interrogated and forced to sign a statement that they will cease political activities and will not leave the country without the junta’s permission, and in many cases, have been arbitrarily detained by the junta for periods of up to seven days, the maximum permitted under martial law. While the junta has repeatedly claimed that those who are summoned and then held are not being detained, but are instead being offered “accommodation” and “attitude adjustment,” the penalty for not responding to the summons is possible processing within the military court system and a punishment of a prison sentence of up to two years and/or a fine of up to 40,000 baht. The issuance of arrest warrants and the revocation of passports following non-response to the summons further confirms that the junta is engaging in arbitrary arrest and detention, regardless of the name they wish to attach to it.

 ————————————————–

In some of the cases of those whose passports have been revoked, there are other pending investigations or charges, including under Article 112, the section of the Thai Criminal Code which criminalizes any speech or acts deemed to insult the king, queen, heir-apparent, or regent. The Asian Legal Resource Centre, which the sister organization of the Asian Human Rights Commission, has repeatedly outlined the threats to human rights posed by Article 112 in a series of submissions to the United Nations Human Rights Council (The most recent of these statements can be read here: ALRC-CWS-25-07-2014.)

While the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ 2005 Regulations on the Issuance of Passports provides the NCPO with a legal basis within Thai law to carry out the revocations, the assessment of the AHRC is that this constitutes a derogation of Thailand’s obligations as a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). In particular, Article 12 stipulates that,

“1. Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence.

2. Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own.

3. The above-mentioned rights shall not be subject to any restrictions except those which are provided by law, are necessary to protect national security, public order (ordre public), public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others, and are consistent with the other rights recognized in the present Covenant.

4. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country.”

Without explicit justification under Article 12 (3), the revocation of a passport is a violation of Article 12 (2). The revocation of passports by the NCPO is a clear and arbitrary violation of Article 12 (2) of the ICCPR.

—————————————————————

General Comment No. 27 on Article 12 by the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations begins by noting that, “Liberty of movement is an indispensable condition for the free development of a person.” The Committee continues and comments with respect to Article 12 (2), that, “Since international travel usually requires appropriate documents, in particular a passport, the right to leave a country must include the right to obtain the necessary travel documents. The issuing of passports is normally incumbent on the State of nationality of the individual. The refusal by a State to issue a passport or prolong its validity for a national residing abroad may deprive this person of the right to leave the country of residence and to travel elsewhere. It is no justification for the State to claim that its national would be able to return to its territory without a passport.” With respect to restrictions permissible under Article 12 (3), the Committee emphasizes the importance of proportionality, and notes that, “it is not sufficient that the restrictions serve the permissible purposes; they must also be necessary to protect them. Restrictive measures must conform to the principle of proportionality; they must be appropriate to achieve their protective function; they must be the least intrusive instrument amongst those which might achieve the desired result; and they must be proportionate to the interest to be protected.” In addition, in a United Nations High Commission for Refugees report on “UNHCR and De Facto Statelessness,” de facto stateless persons are defined as those who, “are persons outside the country of their nationality who are unable or, for valid reasons, are unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of that country.” For those currently residing outside Thailand whose passports have been revoked, such as Pavin Chachavalpongpun who is a critic and academic based at Kyoto University in Japan, the revocation of his passport amounts to making him a de facto stateless person. The view of the Asian Human Rights Commission is that the revocation of passports and creation of de facto statelessness in reaction to non-response to summons by the junta is in excess of the principle of proportionality and constitutes a retaliatory measure intended to punish those who have not complied with the junta’s orders.

While the junta has claimed, through the use of martial law, that the current social and political situation represents a public emergency in which the derogation of responsibilities under the ICCPR is permitted, the AHRC’s assessment is that no such situation exists in Thailand at this time. Despite the country’s ongoing political unrest, much of which dates to the prior coup in September 2006, it is beholden on the civilian authorities to deal with that unrest in accordance with ordinary procedures. Further, while the revocation of the passports has been carried out in line with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ regulations, the AHRC would like to note that the criminal charges brought against these nine individuals are raise significant questions about the status of the rule of law in Thailand. In particular, the use of Article 112, the measure which criminalizes alleged defamation, insult, or threat to the king, queen, heir-apparent, or regent, is a highly-politicized measure which has been used extensively in the last six years to persecute those who exercise the right to freedom of expression, as well as those who work to protect those who do so. The revocation of the passports of these nine individuals, who include human rights defenders (Junya Yimprasert) and scholars (Somsak Jeamteerasakul and Pavin Chachavalpongpun) who are clearly being targeted for their dissident ideas, only confirms that the junta is acting in excess of its authority with respect to international human rights law. To think differently than the junta is not a legitimate crime.

During the seven weeks since the NCPO took power on 22 May 2014, there has been a marked constriction of freedom of expression and political freedom, and a significant decline in the broad human rights situation in Thailand. Those whose passports have been revoked are forced to either submit to proceedings in the military court system (See the AHRC’s letter on military courts to the United Nations Special Procedure mandate holders on 2 June 2014: AHRC-OLT-006-2014)  or be forced remain outside the country or in hiding inside the country. The price of full citizenship under the current regime is submission to the arbitrary exercise of power by the junta.

The AHRC would like to reiterate our unequivocal condemnation of the coup by the NCPO in the strongest terms. The AHRC calls on the NCPO and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to immediately reinstate the passports of Junya Yimprasert, Somsak Jeamteerasakul, Pavin Chachavalpongpun, Jakrapob Penkair, Charupong Ruangsuwan, Sunai Julapongsathorn, Chatwadee Amornpat, Ekapop Luara, and Atthachai Anantamek, and to cease revoking passports as a method of compelling compliance and creating fear.

 

 

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Red Radio Online

แถลงการณ์องค์กรเสรีไทย ฉบับที่ 1

lungyuth

There might be some unknown limitation of WordPress to a number of video and audio links to be posted here. Only PDF files of  “Declaration of the Organisation of Free Thais for Human Rights and Democracy (FT-HD)” in Thai, English and French  are posted for download here

Thai th declaration 1 FT HD

English en declaration 1 FT HD

French fr declaration 1 FT HD

For video and mp3, please see http://www.redudd.com/thread-19437.html

There is no French video nor mp3.

Posted in Red Radio Online

CAMBODIA: statement calling for Thai government to humanely treat Cambodian migrant workers with respect for their rights and dignity

Dear friends,


We wish to share with you the following statement from the Cambodian
Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC)

Asian Human Rights Commission

Hong Kong

————-

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AHRC-FST-039-2014

June 13, 2014

A statement from the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC)
by the Asian Human Rights Commission

CAMBODIA: statement calling for Thai government to humanely treat
Cambodian migrant workers with respect for their rights and dignity

The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC) – a coalition
of 21 NGOs working on the promotion of Human Rights, Democracy, and
the Rule of Law in Cambodia deplores the decision of the Thai junta to
deport Cambodian migrants en masse and demands that their deportation
is carried out in a manner which respects their human rights

Since June 1st, 2014, about 40,000 Cambodian workers in Thailand have
self-deported or have been forcibly removed from the country by the
military junta. ADHOC investigators have received credible witness
accounts up to nine Cambodian migrants have been killed, and that
beatings have occurred at the hands of the Thai armed forces..
Unfortunately, in times of crisis in Thailand Cambodians are often
scapegoated. Many Cambodian workers are now stranded at the border
without enough money to get them home.

In the past, the authorities have turned a blind eye to the presence
of illegal immigrants in Thailand needed for booming economy. But the
situation has changed and the country has experienced a decline in GDP
of 2.1%1 in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the previous
quarter.

Human Dignity is a fundamental human right as mentioned under Article
1 of United Nations Declaration of Human Rights to which both Thailand
and Cambodia are signatories.

The Thai military violated the human rights of undocumented Cambodian
migrant workers when it forcefully expelled them from the country,
placing them in crowded trucks. This treatment subjected these workers
to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment as prohibited by the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Moreover, due to
inadequate preparation and coordination between the Thai and Cambodian
authorities, the migrants workers have been forced to shelter in
makeshift tents at the border, and hundreds more workers continue to
arrive every day. Water, food, healthcare and shelter are severely
limited. .

To address and improve the situation of human rights of these
Cambodian migrant workers, CHRAC calls and put forwards the following
recommendations to both Thai and Cambodian governments follows:

 Thai government shall create a due process for deportation of
Cambodian migrant workers and ensure that Cambodian migrant workers’
right are respected and inform Cambodian Embassy and/or Consular in
Thailand in relation to the arrest, detention and any necessary
deportation of Cambodian migrant workers and treat them fairly and
humanely.
 Thai government shall promote and respect the migrant workers human
rights and shall also fulfil its international human rights
obligations regarding the treatment of Cambodian migrant workers as
members of ASEAN.
 Thai government should immediately investigate allegations of
killings of Cambodians.
 Cambodian government should create ad-hoc commission to monitor
Cambodian migrant workers’ situation and address emergency issues
faced by Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand and have a clear plan
for the evacuation of Cambodian migrant workers, providing them
temporary shelter, food and water.
 Cambodian government should set up temporary offices to provide
emergency support and assistance to Cambodian migrant workers and
widely disseminate the temporary offices where Cambodian migrant
workers are located and working.

For more information, please contact:

-       Mr. Sok Sam Oeun, Chairman of CHRAC,                                    012 901199

-       Mr. Ny Chakrya, Head of Human Rights and Legal Aid section, ADHOC,    011 274959

-       Mr. Ya Navuth, Executive Director of Caram – Cambodia                   012 961427

-       Mr. Run Saray, Executive Director of LAC,                                       012 838341

-       Ms. Sith Hong Eang, Acting President of KYA                             017 788955

-       Mr. Yong Kim Eng, President of PDP – Center,                            016 828211

-       Mr. Suon Bunsak, Chief of CHRAC secretariat,                            092 344357

lungyuth

 

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Red Radio Online

ประเทศไทย: กองทัพเริ่มจับตัวผู้คน

lungyuth

AHRC Logo

http://www.humanrights.asia/news/ahrc-news/AHRC-STM-099-2014-TH

ประเทศไทย: กองทัพเริ่มจับตัวผู้คน

May 30, 2014

ในเวลา ๓ นาฬิกา ของวันที่ ๒๐ พฤษภาคม ๒๕๕๗ พล.อ.ประยุทธ์ จันทร์โอชา ผู้บัญชาการทหารบก ประกาศใช้กฎอัยการศึก และสองวันถัดมา พล.อ.ประยุทธ์ก็เป็นผู้นำก่อรัฐประหารท่ามกลางสถานการ์อันไม่แน่นอน ซึ่งมีกฎอัยการศึกและรัฐบาลรักษาการแต่ในนาม ในเวลา ๕ นาฬิกา ของวันที่ ๒๒ คณะยึดอำนาจเรียกตัวเองว่า คณะรักษาความสงบแห่งชาติ (คสช.) ยกเลิกรัฐธรรมนูญ พ.ศ.๒๕๕๐ และตั้งตนเองเป็นผู้ปกครองอันที่จริง ความเข้มงวดเรื่องการห้ามแสดงความคิดเห็นและเสรีภาพทางการเมืองมีมาตั้งแต่ใต้กฎอัยการศึกแล้ว กองทัพอ้างอำนาจล้นฟ้าในการจับกุมและคุมขังตามอำเภอใจ ก่อนหน้าการยึดอำนาจนั้น มีความเข้มงวดต่อการแสดงออกทางการเมือง และหลังการยึดอำนาจแล้วคณะยึดอำนาจจึงห้ามการชุมนุมทางการเมืองทั้งหมด การรัฐประหารได้เพิ่มอำนาจให้กับกองทัพ ในช่วงความขัดแย้งทางการเมืองล่าสุดที่ดำเนินมามากกว่า 6 เดือน กองทัพเงียบมาโดยตลอด จนกระทั่งมาทำลายความเงียบด้วยการยึดอำนาจครั้งนี้
หนึ่งวันหลังจากการรัฐประหาร พลเมืองเริ่มการประท้วงต่อต้านรัฐประหารอย่างสันติ แสดงความไม่เห็นด้วยต่อกฎอัยการศึกและคำสั่งของคณะรัฐประหาร การประท้วงเริ่มมาตั้งแต่ ๑๗ นาฬิกา ของวันที่ ๒๓ พฤษภาคม ๒๕๕๗ โดยประชาชนมารวมตัวกันต่อต้านอย่างสงบ ณ หอศิลปวัฒนธรรมแห่งกรุงเทพมหานคร บริเวณสยามแสควร์ ซึ่งเป็นใจกลางกรุงเทพฯ ประชาชนผู้มาต่อต้านต่างก็จุดเทียนยืนรวมกันเป็นกลุ่ม และชูป้ายวิพาษ์วิจารณ์การยึดอำนาจและการใช้อำนาจของกองทัพ นอกจากนี้ การต่อต้านรัฐประหารยังเกิดขึ้นตามจังหวัดต่างๆทั่วประเทศ
หลังจากการประท้วงต่อต้านรัฐประหารเกิดขึ้นบางแห่ง กองทัพก็เริ่มปฏิบัติการจับกุมผู้ที่มาประท้วงและบังคับให้สลายตัว หนังสือพิมพ์ออนไลน์ประชาไทรายงานว่า เวลา ๑๙.๓๐ นาฬิกา มีผู้ที่ถูกจับหน้าหอศิลปวัฒนธรรมแห่งกรุงเทพมหานครอย่างน้อยห้าคน เป็นหญิงสองคน เป็นชายสามคน โดยยังไม่ทราบชื่อผู้หญิงสองคนที่ถูกจับ ประชาไทรายงานว่าผู้ชายสามคนที่ถูกจับคือ นายธนาพล อิ๋วสกุล (บรรณาธิการวารสารฟ้าเดียวกัน) นายอภิชาต พงษ์สวัสดิ์ และนายบุณยรักษ์ วัฒนะรัตน์ (อายุ ๒๐ ปี) ต่อมาเวลาประมาณ ๒๐.๑๐ นาฬิกา ทหารเข้ายึดพื้นที่ได้ และผู้ชุมนุมก็สลายตัวลง ขณะนี้ยังไม่ทราบถึงสภาพของประชาชนเหล่านั้น และสถานที่ๆพวกเขาถูกจับไปแต่อย่างใด
ตามกฎอัยการศึกที่ประกาศมาตั้งแต่สองวันก่อนยึดอำนาจนั้น ทหารมีอำนาจในการคุมขังและสอบสวนใครก็ได้เป็นเวลาเจ็ดวันโดยไม่ต้องมีหลักฐานหรือข้อกล่าวหา ประชาชนอาจถูกคุมขังในสถานที่ไม่เหมาะสมต่างๆ ไม่ว่าจะเป็นฐานทัพชั่วคราว หรือสถานที่อื่นๆที่มีไว้สำหรับการกักตัว การคุมขังในสถานที่ไม่เหมาะสมเหล่านี้ อาจทำให้การละเมิดสิทธิเพิ่มขึ้น เช่น การทรมาน การบังคับให้สูญหาย และทำให้เกิดการวิสามัญฆาตกรรม ตัวอย่างกรณีเช่นในสามจังหวัดชายแดนภาคใต้นั้น มีการประกาศกฎอัยการศึกตั้งแต่เดือนมกราคม ๒๕๔๗ และกฎอัยการศึกนี้เองเป็นเครื่องมือในการจับกุมคุมขังนักกิจกรรมทางการเมืองและพลเมืองทั่วไปตามอำเภอใจ
ในช่วงเวลาแห่งความสับสนอลหม่านทางการเมืองที่เกิดมาตั้งแต่การปฏิวัติครั้งก่อน ในวันที่ ๑๙ กันยายน ๒๕๔๙ นั้น วัฒนธรรมการปกป้องคุมครองสิทธิมนุษยชน และการวิพากษ์วิจารณ์ความอยุติธรรม ก็เติบโตแข็งแรงขึ้นในสังคมไทย นักวิชาการ ปัญญาชน นักเขียนที่ไม่ได้สังกัดมหาวิทยาลัยใดๆ นักกฎหมายสิทธิมนุษยชน นักเคลื่อนไหว ผู้ทำงานในองค์กรพัฒนาเอกชน  นักเรียน นักศึกษา และคนอีกจำนวนมาก ได้เขียน พูด และแสดงความเห็น ต่อต้านการใช้ความรุนแรง ต่อต้านความไม่โปร่งใสของการใช้อำนาจรัฐ การบังคับใช้กฏหมายอย่างไม่เท่าเทียม และการจำกัดเสรีภาพในการแสดงความคิดเห็น ความตื่นตัวและการเคลื่อนไหวทางสิทธิมนุษยชนเหล่านี้ เป็นส่วนหนึ่งของการเคลื่อนไหวต่อต้านการรัฐประหารครั้งล่าสุด ในวันที่ ๒๓ พฤษภาคม ๒๕๕๗ และการประท้วงเหล่านี้คงจะมีต่อไปเรื่อยๆ ทางคณะกรรมาธิการสิทธิมนุษยชนแห่งเอเชียจึงมีความเป็นห่วงว่า ผู้ที่เคลื่อนไหวปกป้องสิทธิมนุษยชน และผู้ที่แสดงการวิพากษ์วิจารณ์ ในช่วงระยะแปดปีที่ผ่านมา จะตกเป็นเป้าในการจับกุมของคณะยึดอำนาจ คณะกรรมาธิการฯ ยังเป็นห่วงอีกด้วยว่า การมีอำนาจล้นฟ้าของทหารภายใต้กฎอัยการศึกที่ฉีกรัฐธรรมนูญทิ้งไป ทำให้คณะรัฐประหารไม่ต้องถูกตรวจสอบ และไม่มีความโปร่งใส และจะยิ่งสร้างบรรยากาศแห่งความหวาดกลัวที่ทำลายหลักสิทธิมนุษยชนและหลักนิติธรรม
คณะกรรมาธิการสิทธิมนุษยชนแห่งเอเชียขอประณามการยึดอำนาจ และการละเมิดสิทธิมนุษยชนและเสรีภาพของคนไทยครั้งนี้อย่างถึงที่สุด เรามีความห่วงใยเป็นอย่างยิ่งถึงความปลอดภัยของ นายธนาพล อิ๋วสกุล นายอภิชาต พงษ์สวัสดิ์ นายบุณยรักษ์ วัฒนะรัตน์ และคนอื่นๆที่ถูกจับตัวไปโดยทหาร จากการที่พวกเขาออกไปต่อต้านการยึดอำนาจอย่างสันติ ในวันที่ ๒๓ พฤษภาคม ๒๕๕๗ ทั้งนี้ เพราะพวกเขาเป็นประชาชนคนธรรมดาที่แสดงความคิดเห็นอย่างสงบ และไม่ได้เป็นอันตรายต่อใคร คณะกรรมาธิการฯ ขอให้คณะรักษาความสงบแห่งชาติปล่อยตัวคนเหล่านี้ และคนอื่นๆที่ถูกคุมขังตามอำเภอใจโดยทันที
Document Type :
Statement
Document ID :
AHRC-STM-099-2014-TH
Countries :

http://www.humanrights.asia/news/ahrc-news/AHRC-STM-099-2014

THAILAND: Army begins arrests

May 24, 2014
At 3am on May 20, 2014, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army, announced that martial law was immediately in force. After two days of uncertainty, in which martial law co-existed with the constitution and the caretaker government remained nominally in power, General Prayuth led a coup at approximately 5 pm on May 22, 2014. A military junta, acting in the name of the National Order Maintenance Council (NOMC), abrogated the 2007 Constitution and installed itself as the government. Under martial law, there were already significant restrictions on freedom of expression and political freedom in place, and the military possessed extensive power to arrest and detain arbitrarily. Prior to the coup, there were severe restrictions on political demonstration put in place; subsequent to the coup, all political gatherings are illegal. The coup has intensified the power of the military. After over six months of increasing political contention during which the military remained largely silent, they have spoken through the violence of the coup.
Thanapol Eawsakul — source is Matichon TV
One day after the coup, citizens began to peacefully express their opposition to the coup in defiance of martial law and the junta’s orders. Beginning at 5 pm on May 23, 2014, hundreds of Thai citizens began peacefully demonstrating against the coup in front of the Bangkok Art and Cultural Center in Siam Square in central Bangkok. Citizens lit candles and stood in groups and held signs criticising the coup and the imposition of military rule. Similar gatherings were held in other cities throughout the country.
After allowing the protest to take place for several, the military then took action to arrest peaceful demonstrators and end the event. Prachatai online newspaper has reported that 7.30 pm, at least five persons, two women and three men, were arrested by the soldiers in front of the Bangkok Art and Cultural Center. The identities of the two women are not known, but Prachatai has reported that the three men who were arrested and taken are Thanapol Eawsakul (editor of Same Sky magazine), Apichat Phongsawat, and Bunyarak Wattanarat (age 20) (A video of the arrest was made by Matichon TV and can be viewed here) By 8.10 pm, the soldiers had taken control of the area and the demonstrations had dispersed. At this time of this statement, the location and conditions of the five people taken by the soldiers is not known.
Apichat Phongsawat — source is Prachatai
Under the terms of martial law, which have been in place since two days prior to the coup, soldiers can detain and interrogate anyone for up to seven days without having to provide evidence of wrongdoing or bring formal charges. People arrested can be held at irregular places of detention, including permanent or temporary military bases or other sites designated as places of detention. Detention in irregular places means that the possibility for rights violations, including torture, forced disappearance and extrajudicial execution is greatly increased. In southern Thailand, where martial law has been in continual force since January 2004, the instrument has been used to arbitrarily detain and activists as well as ordinary citizens.
In the years of political turmoil since the September 19, 2006 coup, a strong and robust culture of human rights protection and criticism of injustice has grown in Thailand. Scholars, intellectual and writers outside universities, human rights lawyers and nongovernmental organization activists, students, and others have publicly written, spoken, and demonstrated against state violence, the lack of accountability for state abuses, the unequal application of law and the constriction of freedom of speech. This awareness and action in the service of human rights is behind the peaceful protests against the coup on May 23, 2014. These protests are likely to continue. The AHRC is concerned that human rights defenders and dissidents who peacefully protest, or who have expressed criticism in the past eight years, will be targeted by the junta. The AHRC is further concerned that given the extensive powers granted to the military under martial law and in absence of a constitution, the actions taken by the junta will lack transparency and accountability, and will function to create an atmosphere of fear that is detrimental to human rights and the rule of law.
The Asian Human Rights Commission unequivocally condemns the coup and crackdown on rights and liberties in Thailand. The AHRC is gravely concerned about the safety of Thanapol Eawsakul, Apichat Phongsawat, Bunyarat Wattanarat and others who were arrested and taken by the military following the peaceful demonstration on May 23, 2014. They are citizens who were expressing their opinion peacefully and are a danger to no one. The AHRC calls on the National Order Maintenance Council to immediately release them and any others who are being arbitrarily detained
Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Red Radio Online

THAILAND: Human rights under threat following coup

lungyuth

 

http://www.humanrights.asia/news/alrc-news/human-rights-council/hrc26/ALRC-CWS-26-01-2014/

THAILAND: Human rights under threat

following coup

ALRC-CWS-26-01-2014
May 29, 2014

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
Twenty sixth session, Agenda Item 4, General Debate

A written submission to the UN Human Rights Council by the Asian Legal Resource Centre

  1. The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) wishes to raise grave concerns with the Human Rights Council about the threats to human rights subsequent to the coup launched by a military junta calling itself the National Peace and Order Maintenance Council (NPOMC) and led by General Prayuth Chan-ocha on May 22, 2014 in Thailand. The NPOMC abrogated the 2007 Constitution and installed itself as the government. Under martial law, which was put in place two days prior to the coup on May 20, 2014, there were already significant restrictions on rights and freedoms. The coup has intensified these restrictions and removed most checks on the power of the military junta. All public protest and criticism of the junta is banned. Carried out for the alleged purpose of vaguely-defined “reform,” the mass arrests and arbitrary detention, passage of repressive coup orders, and extensive constriction of political freedom during the first three days following the coup indicate that the junta’s vision of reform is one bereft of human rights and the rule of law. Despite the restrictions put in place under martial law and the law of the junta, Thai human rights defenders and citizens are courageously and peacefully demonstrating against the military’s presence in Bangkok and other cities across the country.
  2. The NPOMC immediately began a process of mass arrests of those deemed to oppose them. Under the terms of martial law, soldiers can detain and interrogate anyone for up to seven days without having to provide evidence of wrongdoing or bring formal charges. People arrested can be held at irregular places of detention, including permanent or temporary military bases or other sites designated as places of detention. Detention in irregular places means that the possibility for rights violations, including torture, forced disappearance and extrajudicial execution is greatly increased. In southern Thailand, where martial law has been in continual force since January 2004, the instrument has been used to arbitrarily detain and activists as well as ordinary citizens.
  3. Those detained, or targeted for arrest and detention, include politicians from all sides of the political spectrum, red and yellow shirt activists, academics, human rights defenders, writers, publishers, and other dissidents and citizens.  The methods of arrest and detention have varied widely.  This has included the arrest of peaceful demonstrators in protests throughout the country, as well as a series of ongoing orders announced via public broadcast beginning on May 24, 2014, for citizens to report themselves to the military in Bangkok. In other cases, the homes of human rights defenders and other citizens have been raided by the military and the residents taken into detention. There are also growing reports that in many local areas, citizens are being summoned to report to the military authorities as well. The simultaneous use of these various methods functions to create an atmosphere of public terror, in which citizens do not know if, or when, their name will be announced on the radio or television, or when a knock on the door will arrive.
  4. At this time, the complete number of those detained, as well as those released and those the authorities would still like to apprehend, has not been made available by the junta. On May 25, 2014, Colonel Winthai Suwaree, the spokesperson for the NPOMC said at a press conference that the junta will not reveal the total number of people who have been requested to report, detained, and/or released, nor the places of detention. Despite this refusal, there are more than 200 persons who have been named on various publicly-announced summons lists.  The ALRC has also learned that in northern and northeastern Thailand, the authorities  have issued local summons to people which have not been publicized.
  5. One of the lists of summons, NPOMC Order No. 5/2014 announced on May 24, 2014, indicates that the junta is moving swiftly to criminalize thinking and action which challenges the power or the military or the role of the monarchy in the Thai polity. For example, Worachet Pakeerut and Sawatree Suksri, two academics from the Khana Nitirat, a group of law scholars at Thammasat University who work to make legal knwoledge accessible to a wide range of people, are on the list. In addition, political scientist Pavin Chachavalpongpun, philosopher Surapot Thaweesak, historian Somsak Jeamteerasakul, criminology scholar Sudsanguan Suthisorn and communications scholar Suda Rangkupan, were also named. They are each scholars who question authority and the basis of the unjust exercise of power in Thai society.  The list also includes three former political prisoners who were accused of violating Article 112 (the article in the Thai Criminal Code which criminalizes alleged defamation of the monarchy) and were then pardoned and exonerated, namely Suraphak Phuchaisaeng, Surachai Danwattananusorn, and Thantawut Taweewarodomkul. Thanapol Eawsakul, writer and editor of Same Sky magazine, was also on the summons list, although he had been in custody since the prior day following arrest at a peaceful protest. The inclusion of these individuals on the list indicate that the NPOMC is casting a wide variety of dissident citizens as its enemies. Those listed on summons to report face a maximum punishment of 2 years in prison and/or a 40,000 baht fine (appx. 9,500 USD) if they fail to do so.
  6. While not all of those summoned have reported themselves, there are three people among those listed to have been summoned who are known to be detained. On May 25, 2014, the military junta confirmed that Thanapol Eawsakul, Surapot Thaweesak, and Sudsanguan Suthisorn have been sent to a miltary camp in Rachaburi province where the junta claims that they will be held for no more than seven days. While the junta has made reassurances that those who report themselves will not be mistreated, within the context of martial law and rule by the junta, this reassurance carries no weight. Any assurances of safety are further called into question by Colonel Winthai Suntharee’s refusal to reveal the locations of places of detention or to provide more specific information about the precise numbers and identities of those who are detained.
  7. In addition to the detention of those who have reported themselves following summons, the ALRC also wants to highlight the raid on the house of Sukanya Prueksakasemsuk and the subsequent detention of she and her son, Panitan Prueksakasemsuk. On May 25, 2014, the Prueksakasemsuk house was raided, two laptop computers were seized, and Sukanya and Panitan were arrested. Sukanya is the wife of Somyot Prueksakasekmsuk, who is curently serving an 11-year prison sentence for alleged violations of Article 112 in relation to articles published in a magazine he edited. Since Somyot was first imprisoned three years ago, Sukanya has struggled for his release and to protect the right to freedom of expression in Thailand. His son, Panitan, who has just completed a law degree at Thammasat University, has also worked on behalf of his father and others imprisoned for exercising the freedom of expression. The ALRC is concerned that their detention may herald harassment of family members of people serving prison sentences under Article 112, who are implicitly judged to be disloyal to the monarchy, and/or a sharp attack on human rights defenders working to protect freedom of speech.
  8. The ALRC would like to remind the Government of Thailand of its obligations as a State Party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In particular, article 9 bears upon the arbitrary detention described in this submission, and specifically that, “1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.  2. Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him.  3. Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release…”
  9. The detention of Thanapol Eawsakul, Surapot Thaweesak, Sudsanguan Suthisorn, Sukanta Prueksakasemsuk, Panitan Prueksakasemsuk, and all others who have been arrested under martial law following the coup is arbitrary. If the junta has evidence that those in detention have committed wrongdoing, then they should be formally charged through the judicial system and using the Criminal Code.
  10. The ALRC would also like to highlight a related, additional grave threat to human rights presented by the actions of the National Peace and Order Maintenance Council.  On May 25, 2014, the junta’s Order No. 37/2014 mandated that all cases of individuals charged under Articles 107 to 118 of the Criminal Code would now be adjudicated in the military court system Articles 107 to 112 describe crimes against the crown and Articles 113 to 118 describe crimes against national security. Since the September 19, 2006 coup, there has been a exponential rise in complaints brought under Article 112, which stipulates that “Whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished (with) imprisonment of three to fifteen years.” The measure, and the threat of being charged under it, has been used by the state to constrict freedom of speech, intimidate activists, and limit human rights. As the ALRC has warned the Council in eight previous statements, the most recent submitted during the twenty-fifth session in March 2014 (A/HRC/25/NGO/61), freedom of expression in Thailand has faced legal and extralegal threats under a democratic regime. With the imposition of military rule, and the transfer of cases under Article 112 to military courts, in judgments are summary and the accused has no right of appeal, the ALRC is concerned that freedom of speech will disappear entirely and those critics who have raised important questions about the role of the monarchy in the Thai polity will face long periods of imprisonment for their thinking and speech.
  11. In view of the above and in line with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Asian Legal Resource Centre calls on the UN Human Rights Council to:

a. Call on the Government of Thailand to immediately return to constitutional rule;

b.  Urge the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to carefully monitor events in Thailand and in particular, derogation of responsibilities under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and to call on the Government of Thailand to act in accordance with the protection and promotion of human rights;

c. Urge the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders to carefully monitor events in Thailand and in particular, the targeting of human rights defenders to safely carry out their work, and;

d.  Request the Special Rapporteur on the freedom of opinion and expression to continue ongoing monitoring and research about the broad situation of constriction of rights and individual cases in Thailand and how this is affected under military rule.

 

Read this online from AHRC

26th Session of the UN Human Rights Council – AHRC

Read this online from ALRC

26th Session of the UN Human Rights Council – ALRC

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Red Radio Online