Letter from the International Buddhist Sangha in Thailand to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Protesting the government’s military movements on Wat Phra Dhammakaya, and other alleged cases of judicial harassment of Buddhism

To​ Mr. Laurent Meillan
Officer-in-Charge ​
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Yours Excellency,

We have been observing the news reports in Thailand with grave concerns. There have been many cases of human’s rights violation and suppression of freedom expression on Buddhist communities. These actions were conspired by Thai authorities and media. Their objectives are to defame Buddhism.

Buddhism has been globally recognized as the religion of peace. Its philosophy promote peace and compassion beyond boundaries of races or religions. Thailand is the center of Buddhism in the world as 95% of its population is Buddhist. The monarchy has also been supportive of the promotion of Buddhism. This helps building peace in the society.

There were news reports on the plan to use force in order to break into Wat Phra Dhammakaya. A number of cases have not been charged yet. There was no proof of Phrathepyanmahamuni – Former Abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya – committed of any crimes. Hence, he has not been indicted of any charges or crimes. Nonetheless, news reports showed that Thai authorities prepared over 2,200 armed forced with K-9 unit and riot control equipment. There were also sound clips of deputy commanders of Royal Thai Police ordering the use of fire hose on people who have not shown any threats. The authorities’ actions are overly exaggerated. As the arrest warrant for a 72-year-old sick monk is only for interrogation, not for arresting a criminal. Their actions may cause severely harm the lives of thousands of peaceful devotees in the temple ground.

There was also the case on Thai soldier suspended the seminar on the current situation of Buddhism. The seminar was not commenced yet. It is within the rights of Thai citizens to express their opinions in accordance with the constitutions. The Thai soldiers raid the seminar room and suspended it without prior notice. We could not comprehend the actions of Thai soldiers.

There are also more cases in the cases where as monks were arrested and forced to disrobe from monkhood. Later, they were found not guilty. Many cases did not have plaintiffs or accusers. This is not considered as justice being served. This is an execution before proven guilty, as that person cannot return to be monk again. These cases have never been compensated. None of the media ever clarifies their innocent as much as when they reported the false claims. This is the unfair treatment in Thai judicial system on monk.

We request for your kind consideration to look into the protection of Buddhist monks and devotees’ rights in Thailand. They live their lives based on principles of compassion and non-violence. If their rights are not protected, there would not be any individuals who try to resort everything through peaceful means. No one shall be encouraged to withstand such abuses peacefully.

We would be most grateful if the UN Human Rights Commissioner shall request the Thai government to seek peaceful and non-violent means on the case of Wat Phra Dhammakaya, and promote the protection of human rights of Buddhists.

Yours Truly,

International Buddhist Sangha in Thailand

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