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  • "Access to Justice in Thailand: Currently Unavailable."

    Thai junta forces rights group to nix presentation
    Sep 2

    BANGKOK (AP) -- Thailand's ruling military junta has forced a human rights group to cancel a presentation on the precarious rights situation in the Southeast Asian country three months after the army staged a coup.

    The military told Bangkok-based Thai Lawyers for Human Rights that if the group has concerns about lack of freedom of expression or access to the justice system it should report them instead via a government hotline.

    The group had been scheduled to host a panel discussion on the issue Tuesday and release a report titled "Access to Justice in Thailand: Currently Unavailable."

    The May 22 coup deposed Thailand's elected government, and since then the junta has showed no tolerance for dissent.

  • #2
    FCCT event tonight :

    Silencing Media Coverage of Migrants: The Wider Repercussions in Thailand

    Sep 01, 2014

    This is a little late as thought that the event would be on Wednesday, but it is actually tonight. The blurb is below:
    Silencing Media Coverage of Migrants: The Wider Repercussions in Thailand
    BPherehere and here in the past month) His trial beigns tomorrow. AFP:

    BPpostblogged about last week). It is a very worrying trend.


    • #3
      Thai junta blocks rights meeting in BangkokBANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand's ruling junta ordered that a rights talk at a journalists' club in Bangkok be shut down on Tuesday, further stoking concerns over freedom of expression in the country since a military power grab in May.

      Police, armed with orders from the junta, turned up at the Foreign Correspondent's Club of Thailand as an event, entitled "Access to Justice in Thailand: Currently Unavailable" and organised by Thai rights groups and Amnesty International Thailand, was about to take place.

      In the order the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), as the junta is formally known, asked organisers to cancel the event in order to "follow the policy of the NCPO".
      The military says it took power in May to avert further bloodshed and restore stability after six months of street protests pitting supporters of ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra against Bangkok-based royalist opponents.

      Rights activists say the junta has worked systematically to snuff out all challenges to its authority, including through the detention of hundreds of activists, academics and journalists in the weeks following the coup.

      Tuesday's panel discussion was to have included a presentation on the rights situation in Thailand 100 days after the army seized power.

      Martial law, which bans gatherings of more than five people, has been in place since May 20. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, the army chief who led the coup, said the law was still needed to maintain order.

      "The event was organised to report the human rights situation in Thailand ... which has to do with access to justice after the coup. It is not a political gathering," Amnesty Thailand said in an emailed statement.

      "The NCPO has always said it would respect human rights. Asking to stop activities is a violation of freedom."


      • #4
        Freedom of speech is not welcome in Thailand.

        Ruling general of Thai military junta appointed prime minister
        Samantha Hawley
        Wednesday, September 3, 2014

        Listen to MP3 of this story ( minutes) | MP3 download

        MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: In Thailand the Junta still has firm control over its citizens, with the ruling army general now also the nation's newly appointed prime minister. Any sense of democracy has been stamped out for now and critics are worried an election might not come at the end of next year as promised.

        In the latest case of repression, human rights lawyers and activists were banned from addressing foreign journalists in downtown Bangkok.

        South East Asia correspondent Samantha Hawley reports from the Thai capital.

        SAMANTHA HAWLEY: It was a gathering to mark 100 days since Thailand's coup, but not one welcomed by the powerful ruling military. It was brought to an abrupt end. Freedom of speech is not welcome in Thailand.


        (Sound of people speaking)

        REPORTER:SAMANTHA HAWLEY: At the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Bangkok, Pawinee Chumsri had come to talk about life after the coup. But no sooner had the first words been spoken than police moved in, not to arrest - just yet - but to intimidate and stop the event.

        (Question at Foreign Correspondents' Club): What do you think about being silenced today by the ruling military?

        (Sound of Pawinee Chumsri responding)

        "We consider the request to stop the event as a violation of freedom of expression," she tells me. "Citizens have the right to be informed about the human rights situation in the country."

        In a press release issued later, the organisation Thai Lawyers for Human Rights condemns the military's action, saying: We shall persist to uphold our duties to protect the people's rights and liberties.

        Pronpen Khongkachonkiet is a human rights activist who also attended the event.

        How does it feel to be silenced by the military? You're not even able to speak here today. What do you think about that?

        PRONPEN KHONGKACHONKIET: I think there's still some channel that we can communicate to the public related to the situation on human rights, access to justice and also enforcement of the martial law.

        SAMANTHA HAWLEY: Are you worried though that you could be arrested as you pursue these human rights issues?

        PRONPEN KHONGKACHONKIET: Of course, of course. But we hope that the military also respects the space for human rights activism.

        SAMANTHA HAWLEY: But the military doesn't respect it, does it?

        PRONPEN KHONGKACHONKIET: Have not seen it obviously, but I think gradually they will understand what we're trying to do.

        SAMANTHA HAWLEY: In another case of critics under fire, a British activist who campaigned for better working conditions for migrant workers in Thailand is facing up to eight years in jail.

        Andy Hall has been charged under draconian criminal defamation laws by one of the country's largest pineapple processors.

        ANDY HALL: This is about persecution. It's a political case to try and silence me and to try and get me to leave the country. That's the intention behind the case. And I'm someone who's revealing things that the government and the industry don't want them to reveal.

        SAMANTHA HAWLEY: His case is now before the courts.

        This is Samantha Hawley in Bangkok reporting for AM.


        • #5
          Junta orders rights groups not to hold talks on human rights violations since coup
          Tue, 02/09/2014

          The junta has forced human rights groups, including Amnesty International, to call off an event to discuss human rights violations since the coup, and deployed troops at the venue.

          The event, organized by Amnesty International Thailand, the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) and the Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF), was to be held at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand, Maneeya Building, Bangkok, at 2.30 pm on Tuesday.

          Policemen in front of the Maneeya building on Tuesday morning

          The letter, sent by the military to the head of the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, on 2 September 2014

          A Statement from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

          2. The right to freedom of expression is a fundamental human right enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Thailand is a state party and is obliged to observe. After all, NCPO has been telling the press that it respects human rights principles. Also, Section 4 of the 2014 Interim Constitution written by NCPO itself provides for protection of human dignity, rights, liberty and equality of all Thailand people in accordance with the Constitutional practice in the democratic regime of government with the King as Head of the State and any existing international obligations should therefore be respected as per the Constitution. Any attempt to prevent a public event to discuss about human rights from happening is a gross violation of such rights and liberties.

          1. Martial Law which is being imposed countrywide should be revoked.
          2. No persons shall be subjected to apprehension, arrest and detention invoking Martial Law.
          3. Any restriction to curb the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly should be lifted.
          4. No civilians should be tried in the military court.

          Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR)


          • #6
            UN expresses human rights concerns over Thailand

            The United Nations Human Rights Office for South-East Asia (OHCHR) on Wednesday expressed "serious concern" about increasing human rights restrictions in Thailand.

            Pawinee Chumsri of Thai Lawyers for Human Rights complains against a military ban on its planned human rights discussion in Bangkok on Tuesday

            The UN statement said it "is seriously concerned about increasing restrictions on human rights defenders in exercising their rights to peaceful assembly and expression in Thailand".
            The regional office was responding to the 3rd Cavalry Battalion in Bangkok's order that the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights organisation cancel a planned forum on Tuesday at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand. t

            its event to present human rights situations after the May 22 coup by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). The session was planned at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand in Bangkok Tuesday afternoon.

            The planned discussion was on the human rights situation in Thailand in the wake of the May 22 coup.

            "The cancellation of this event adds to other incidents indicating a deteriorating environment for human rights defenders in the country," the OHCHR stated.

            It cited Amnesty International Thailand was invited in August to a police station and requested to cancel their planned public events to campaign for the protection of civilians in Gaza.

            In the same month, it also stated, Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, a prominent human rights defender and the director of the Cross Cultural Foundation, was summoned by the police for a defamation complaint filed by the army in response to allegations she raised of torture in one case in the South.

            "OHCHR has raised concerns directly with the government and reiterates its call to the government to comply with its international human rights obligations," the OHCHR stated.
            It said Thailand had ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly.

            Further, as a member of the United Nations, it should respect the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, which provided that everyone had the right to conduct human rights work and discuss and bring public attention to human rights situations, the OHCHR said.



            • #7
              NCPO: Rights Talk Cancelled Due To Potential 'Prejudiced' and 'False' Information
              05 September 2014

              BANGKOK "We had to be careful about the discussion topic, to make sure that it would not [defame] other individuals or organisations," explained Col. Winthai Suvaree. "The discussion could have lacked sufficient facts or contained unreliable information not supported by clear evidence."

              He continued, "That information may have also only presented a one-sided perspective full of prejudice. It may have caused misunderstanding in society about certain individuals or organisations."

              Policemen also arrived at the venue of the talk - the Foreign Correspondent Club of Thailand (FCCT) - to make certain the discussion did not take place.

              However, Col. Winthai said any complaint about perceived "injustice" under the NCPO should be submitted directly to the junta through regional government agencies.

              "Those who are responsible in the relevant issues will urgently resolve the problems in an appropriate manner," Col. Winthai told reporters. "I believe this effort will adequately meet the need for information ... in contrast to the aforementioned activity [the panel discussion]."

              "We were concerned that the activity may involve politics. Relevant officials had to carefully consider it," Col. Winthai said.

              Tuesday marked the second time security officers have entered the FCCT, long known as a sanctuary for free debate in Thailand, in the last four months. On 27 May, soldiers stormed the FCCT and detained former Minister of Education Chaturon Chaisaeng as he was speaking to a crowd of foreign journalists about why he did not surrender himself to the NCPO.



              • #8
                Thai junta orders cancellation of human rights event
                Thu, June 04 2015

                Thailand's military rulers Thursday banned a panel discussion exploring rights abuses alleged to have taken place during the junta's one-year rule.

                Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, which provides legal aid to those who fall foul of the junta, had been due to launch a report on the kingdom's faltering rights record at the Foreign Correspondent's Club of Thailand (FCCT) on Thursday evening.

                But in a statement released Thursday afternoon the FCCT said it had been forced to cancel the event "on the orders of the NCPO and the police".

                The NCPO is the official name for Thailand's junta -- the National Council for the Restoration of Peace and Order.

                A letter sent to the club from police said the FCCT should cancel the discussion because "there might be some people with ill-intentions using the opportunity to create some situations that might cause chaos".

                The FCCT said the panel discussion was not sponsored by the club. Thai Lawyers for Human Rights had paid to use the venue.

                Club president Jonathan Head tweeted through his personal account that although the panel discussion was cancelled the club would remain open in the evening, adding that there would be "a visible police presence".

                A junta spokesman, Major General Werachon Sukhondapatipak, confirmed the military halted the event, saying Thai Lawyers for Human Rights had not sought permission from the authorities.

                "They did not talk with NCPO first. They have to keep NCPO informed and explain the content of the event," he told AFP.

                Werachon said the junta had previously allowed political events to go ahead at the club if organisers contacted them in advance.

                An attempt by Thai Lawyers for Human Rights to hold a similar event after the junta's first 100 days in power was also cancelled after junta pressure.

                The organisation was not available for comment.

                Thailand's generals took over in a May 2014 coup that toppled the democratically elected administration of Yingluck Shinawatra after months of sometimes violent street protests.

                They have since ruled the country with an iron fist, banning public protests, muzzling the media and arresting critics.

                Last month iLaw, a local group that monitors arrest figures, said 751 people have been "summoned" by the authorities for attitude adjustment since the military took over while 166 people have been arrested "while expressing their opinions in a public place".

                The junta says its power grab restored order after months of protests against Yingluck left dozens dead and the economy in a straitjacket.

                They initially vowed to hold new elections within 15 months but that timetable has repeatedly slipped as the junta goes about rewriting the country's constitution.

                New polls are not expected until September 2016.

                Supporters of the Shinawatra family say the putsch was the latest assault by the royalist Bangkok-centric elite on the kingdom's burgeoning democratic forces.

                But while the Shinawatras are loved by poor voters, particularly in the culturally distinct northeast, they are loathed by their establishment opponents who accuse them of corruption, cronyism and costly populist polices.



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