Urgent Action: 31 Peaceful Protesters Face Imprisonment (Thailand: UA 134.20)

September 2, 2020

Thai authorities issued arrest warrants for 15 pro-democracy leaders and activists for their role in a mass gathering in Bangkok on 18 July 2020. 16 other protestors have been summoned and charged from the same incident. All 31 face serious allegations including sedition – this broadly worded and repressive law is often used by the government to silence critical voices. If convicted, each activist could face up to seven years in prison. This recent slew of arrests of peaceful demonstrators illustrates the authorities’ intensifying crackdown on freedom of expression and assembly.

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TAKE ACTION:

  1. Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
  2. Click here to let us know the actions you took on Urgent Action 134.20. It’s important to report because we share the total number with the officials we are trying to persuade and the people we are trying to help.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha
Office of the Prime Minister
Pitsanulok Road
Bangkok 10300
Thailand
Tel: 66 2 618 2323
Fax: 66 2 282 5131
Email: [email protected]
Ambassador Thani Thongphakdi
Royal Thai Embassy
1024 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington DC 20007
Phone: 202 944 3600 I Fax: 202 944 3611
Contact form: https://bit.ly/2DYwCp1
Twitter: @ThaiEmbDC
Facebook: @Thaiembdc
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

SAMPLE LETTER

Dear Prime Minister,

I am deeply concerned that your government charged 31 individuals solely for their role in organizing or joining in a peaceful demonstration on 18 July 2020.

The police issued arrest warrants for 15 protestors on 7 August 2020. While some of them have since been arrested and released on bail, it was further distressing to learn that at least 16 other individuals were later summoned. All the protestors are facing serious charges, including sedition, arising from the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of assembly and expression. I fear that this broad and overreaching charge is being used to silence critics.

Unfortunately, Thailand has a long history of unlawful or politically motivated arrests, and I am saddened that the crackdown on activism in public spaces has intensified. It is alarming that each of these peaceful protestors faces up to seven years in prison for simply exercising their human rights.

Under international human rights laws and standards, participating in and organizing peaceful assemblies are fundamental rights to which all people are entitled, as is freedom to express their opinions and criticisms of any government. Simply exercising these rights is not a crime and should never have been treated as such.

I urge you to immediately drop all charges against the 31 protestors and other individuals charged solely for exercising their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression; cease all attempts or operations aimed at dissuading public participation in peaceful gatherings or silencing voices critical of the government and social issues; and amend or repeal all broadly-worded, repressive, or vague legislation and regulations to conform with the country’s commitments to respect, protect, and fulfill the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression.

Yours sincerely,

[YOUR NAME]

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES