Hundreds of human rights defenders continue to be detained, indicted, and prosecuted for peacefully exercising their human rights and participating in protests for reform. Authorities continue to use stringent bail conditions to excessively restrict activists right to freedom of peaceful assembly. With an increasing trend of excessive and indiscriminate force being used by police during protests, there are grave concerns for the safety of protestors.
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Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-Cha
Office of the Prime Minister
Bangkok 10300, Thailand
Phone: 66 2 618 2323
Fax: 66 2 282 5131
Dear Prime Minister,
I write to express my grave concern at the ongoing crackdown on peaceful demonstrators in Thailand. Your government is arbitrarily detaining and penalising human rights defenders for peacefully protesting and expressing their opinions publicly and online. I am further concerned by the excessive and indiscriminate or unlawful force increasingly used by police to disperse protests.
I find it distressing to learn that prominent protest leaders Anon Numpa
, Jatupat ‘Pai’ Boonpattararaksa, Panupong ‘Mike’ Chadnok
and Parit ‘Penguin’ Chiwarak,
have again been detained with their right to bail denied or revoked since August 9, 2021. Held in in poor conditions, I fear for their health and wellbeing as Jatupat and Parit have both already contracted COVID-19 while in detention. Further to my concern is the continued indictment of peaceful protesters, including Panusaya ‘Rung’ Sithijirawattanakul,
who received further criminal charges related to her peaceful activism on September 22, 2021.
Your government has targeted at least 1,161 people, including 134 children, with criminal proceedings in relation to peaceful protest and peacefully exercising their human right to freedom of expression in the last year. Many are at risk of lengthy prison sentences of up to life imprisonment. Police have responded to protests with crowd control measures that have often violated protesters rights. They have responded with often indiscriminate and unlawful use of force to disperse protests, including firing tear gas, chemical laced water cannon, beatings, and rubber bullets
I urge your government ends this cycle of repression by upholding Thailand’s international human rights obligations on peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, and ensuring police use the minimum of force proportionally.
Therefore, I call on you to:
- Drop all criminal proceedings against persons targeted for peaceful exercise of their rights, and release those currently arbitrarily detained;
- Allow individuals to peacefully protest and express their opinions, and do not impose bail conditions on them that may arbitrarily restrict peaceful exercise of their rights;
- Investigate all reports of the excessive, indiscriminate or unlawful use of force by police when detaining individuals and in policing assemblies, hold anyone responsible to account and issue guidelines to police in line with international standards.