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Thailand

    May 20, 2014

    Authorities in Thailand must ensure that human rights are protected and respected, following the imposition of Martial Law today, which grants the army sweeping powers and imposes tight restrictions on key human rights and has already led to several media outlets being taken off air, Amnesty International said.

    “The declaration of Martial Law decree must not be a blueprint for human rights violations. It is crucial that the military shows the utmost restraint and fully respects Thailand’s obligations under international human rights law,” said Richard Bennett, Amnesty International’s Asia Director.

    Martial Law, which was unilaterally declared by the Thai army today, suspends or restricts a number of human rights.

    The military now has powers to detain people without a warrant for up to one week, to seize property, and to search people or property without a court order. It also provides the military with impunity from claims for compensation.

    May 15, 2014

    The Thai authorities must bring to justice those responsible for killing at least three people in this morning’s grenade and gunfire attack on an anti-government protest camp in Thailand’s capital Bangkok, Amnesty International said.

    “Today’s appalling attack is the latest escalation of political violence. Authorities must launch a thorough investigation, in accordance with Thailand’s international human rights obligations,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    “A failure to investigate the attack and hold those responsible accountable would signal that impunity rules in Thailand and risk an increasingly vicious cycle of retaliatory violence. It would also fly in the face of victims’ and their families’ right to justice.”

    This morning’s attack, when unidentified gunmen stormed an anti-government protest camp nearby Bangkok’s Democracy Monument, has left at least three people dead and more than 20 injured.

    January 10, 2014

    Thai authorities must protect and respect human rights during mass protests planned to be held in Bangkok next week, Amnesty International said. The organization has also urged all protest leaders to call on their followers not to commit human rights abuses.

    Protesters have announced plans to stage mass demonstrations and shut down government offices until the current government steps down. The government has deployed some 15,000 military and police to the capital.

    “The situation in Thailand is tense, volatile and unpredictable. There is a real risk of loss of life and injury unless human rights are fully respected,” said Isabelle Arradon, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Deputy Director.

    “Security forces should ensure that the right to peaceful protest is upheld - however, they also have a duty to protect the safety of the public. When carrying out their work, law enforcement officials should apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force, and always exercise restraint in its use.” 

    August 01, 2013

    A ruling by Thailand’s Supreme Court shows how the authorities have failed to provide justice for 85 people that died at the hands of the security forces in Tak Bai, Amnesty International said.

    “Today’s ruling ignores the actions of security forces and officials involved in events that led to deaths of 85 people. Their actions were either intentional or negligent and therefore those involved should be brought to court. Families have been waiting for more than eight years for justice,” said Isabelle Arradon, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    On 25 October 2004 security forces opened fire on protesters demonstrating outside Tak Bai police station in the southern province of Narathiwat.

    Seven were shot dead, and a further 78 were suffocated or crushed to death in army vans transporting them to a military detention camp. Some 1,200 people were also held in military custody for days without medical attention, many of whom were severely injured.

    January 23, 2013

    The sentencing of a human rights defender to ten years in prison for publishing two articles allegedly insulting the monarchy is a serious setback for freedom of expression in Thailand, Amnesty International said.

    The Criminal Court today found Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, a magazine editor and labour rights activist, guilty under Thailand’s so-called lèse majesté law for allegedly publishing two articles defaming the royal family.

    Somyot has been detained since 30 April 2011, and the authorities have repeatedly turned down his request for bail.

    “This is a regressive decision – Somyot has been found guilty simply for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression and should be released immediately,” said Isabelle Arradon, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director.

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