Monthly Archives: November 2013

TAHR Stands Against All Forms of Violence

stopviolenceNOW

The Thai Alliance for Human Rights has been monitoring political movements by all groups in Thailand. 
We are urging the Thai government to protect the rights of peaceful demonstrators and strictly enforce the laws in order to keep peace, order and stability.

Democratic exercises of rights must be facilitated, but all illegal, violent, and immoral acts must be monitored and stopped. 

Following mobilization of the redshirts mass to show their support to the government, we have begun to see violent acts aiming at injuring and killing civilians.
Whoever is behind this must be brought to justice. We urge the Thai police to effectively and promptly enforce the laws against all human rights violators. 

ภาคีไทยเพื่อสิทธิมนุษยชน ขอประนามทุกฝ่ายที่ใช้กำลังและความรุนแรง จนนำไปสู่การบาดเจ็บและเสียชีวิต
และขอเรียกร้องให้รัฐบาลไทย ดำเนินการอย่าเด็ดขาด ตามหลักกฎหมายสากล เพื่อหยุดการกระทำนอกกฎหมายและศีลธรรมทุกรูปแบบ
ก่อนที่ประเทศไทยจะกลายเป็นสมรภูมิเลือด  มีการบาดเจ็บและเสียชีวิตมากที่สุดในประวัติศาสตร์ชาติไทย

 

Below: Royalist protesters in front of Ramkamhaeng University turned violent.

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Abusive act by royalist and Democrat Party supporters. 
 

Pro-government demonstrators got attached while in their buses.

 

 

Unless the Thai government acts effectively, these violent acts will claim more lives than ever.

 

 

TAHR Endorses HRW’s Statement “Thai Protest Leaders & Authorities Should Act to Prevent Violence”

Protest Leaders, Authorities Should Act to Prevent Violence
NOVEMBER 27, 2013
“Opposition groups have a right to protest peacefully, but that doesn’t mean assaulting journalists or anyone else. At the same time, the Thai authorities need to allow antigovernment demonstrations that are secure and don’t degenerate into violent confrontations.”

 

 

Brad Adams, Asia director

 

 

 

 

(New York) – Protesters have assaulted journalists, in some cases at the instigation of protest leaders, at rallies in Bangkok since November 25, 2013, Human Rights Watch said today. Thai authorities and protest leaders should act to prevent violence during ongoing political demonstrations.

The rallies involving more than 100,000 people have been led by members of the opposition Democrat Party against the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. In some cases, protesters have forcibly occupied government buildings.

“Opposition groups have a right to protest peacefully, but that doesn’t mean assaulting journalists or anyone else,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “At the same time, the Thai authorities need to allow antigovernment demonstrations that are secure and don’t degenerate into violent confrontations.”

The protests have targeted journalists considered supportive of the government. On November 25, opposition protesters assaulted Nick Nostitz, a German freelance journalist, after remarks by a speaker at a mass rally. According to witnesses and news footage, a former Democrat Party member of parliament, Chumpol Junsai, announced to thousands of protesters in front of the Bangkok Metropolitan Police headquarters that Nostitz was affiliated with the pro-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), known at the “Red Shirts,” and urged them to chase him out.

Several protesters immediately attacked Nostitz, punching him several times in the face, until police officers intervened and rescued him. Shortly thereafter, a pro-Democrat Party cable TV station, the Blue Sky Channel, posted Nostiz’s profile on its Facebook page, and his photograph has been spread widely on antigovernment social media sites, raising concerns for his safety.

On November 24, reporters and a broadcast van from TV Channel 3 were pressured to leave the main protest site on Ratchadamnoen Road after protesters accused them of presenting biased news. A day later, Democrat Party politicians led hundreds of protesters to the headquarters of TV Channels 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11 to pressure them to end “biased reporting” about the demonstrations.

Protesters singled out and surrounded the popular TV Channel 3 news show host Sorayuth Suttassanachinda, claiming he was a government mouthpiece. In a tense confrontation in front of TV Channel 3 station, hundreds of protesters demanded Sorayuth apologize to them and compelled him to blow a whistle – a symbol of the opposition campaign – before permitting him to return inside the station.

The Thai authorities need to take stronger action to deter violence, including fully investigating reports about attacks on demonstration sites and protesters’ motorcades. On November 23, unidentified assailants fired slingshots at buses transporting protesters from southern Thailand to Bangkok. Bus tires were spiked with long nails scattered on the road on their way into the capital.  

On November 25, in response to the worsening situation and the protesters’ occupation of the Finance and Foreign Ministries, Prime Minister Yingluck ordered the enforcement of the Internal Security Act (ISA) in every district of Bangkok, neighboring Nonthaburi province, where key government agencies are located, and parts of Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan provinces to protect Thailand’s satellite station and international airport. The ISA grants the government powers to set curfews and seal off roads and buildings. Neither the parliament nor the courts are given any role in considering, reviewing, or approving the use of these emergency-style powers.

Government measures to protect public safety may be justified so long as they are provided by law and are proportionate to the level of threat or legitimate objective to be achieved. In policing demonstrations, all members of the security forces should abide by the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, which provide that authorities shall, as far as possible, apply nonviolent means before resorting to the use of force. Whenever the lawful use of force and firearms is unavoidable, the authorities shall use restraint and act in proportion to the seriousness of the offense.

“Left unchecked, the dramatic escalation of confrontations on Bangkok’s streets poses serious risks of violence, so both the authorities and protest leaders should change course,” Adams said. “Protest leaders should ensure that their supporters act peacefully, and the security forces need to maintain order within the bounds of the law."

The first version of this press release contained a typo in the second paragraph that misstated the number of protesters as 10,000.  The corrected figure is 100,000 protesters.  

 

TAHR Press Release: Thais overseas ask King Bhumibol to allow Thailand to join ICC (November 23, 2013)

ดาวน์โหลด เพื่อการเผยแพร่ ได้ที่ https://www.mediafire.com/?ylm4e7e4miib58mTAHRLOGO-FinalOfficial

THAI ALLIANCE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS  (TAHR)
ภาคีไทยเพื่อสิทธิมนุษยชน
1268 Grant Avenue, 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94133
Email: [email protected]   Phone: +1 (323) 306-4406
Website: http://thai-ahr.org

PRESS RELEASE
23rd November, 2013                           
The Hague, Netherlands

Thais overseas ask King Bhumibol to allow Thailand to join ICC

The Thai Alliance for Human Rights (TAHR), a network of Thais living in the US and other parts of the world, in a letter sent through the Thai Embassy in the Netherlands, urges King Bhumibol  to allow Thailand to ratify the Rome Statute of the ICC. The letter, signed by TAHR members attending the 12th Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court and other delegates of governmental and non-governmental organizations, was read by TAHR representative in one of the meetings during the Assembly.  TAHR is a member of the global Coalition for the ICC (CICC), a network of more than 2,500 civil society organizations in 150 countries that has a special status with the Assembly of States Parties of the ICC.

“We are calling on the King to give his approval to the ratification. Joining the ICC can help prevent further violence like the past coup d’états that killed and injured many civilians.  We do not want these violent killings to happen ever again” said Sue Pong, a coordinator of TAHR.

“We believe that justice for the victims of past atrocities committed by soldiers and other gun-bearing forces in our society is not possible,  given the volatile political situations in our country.  The ICC is a mechanism that can protect us if and when the government is unable or unwilling to prosecute those responsible for these violent massacres,” said Dr. Snea Thinsan, Executive Director of TAHR.

“The ICC gives us hope, and that is why we are here in The Hague to attend this ICC assembly.  We left Thailand many years ago, but our hearts always remain with Thailand although some of us are not able to return to Thailand safely, and we could not bear to see more killings and more human rights violations happening.  We are now involved in the ICC campaign because it gives us hope that we can change the human rights situation for the better, and that gives us the opportunity to return safely to Thailand in the future to help rebuild our beloved motherland,”  Dr. Thinsan further said.

Thailand signed the Rome Statute that gave birth to the ICC in 2002.  However, due to the changes in the political situation in the country, final ratification has not taken place, leaving Thailand the only country in Asia that has signed but not ratified the Rome Statute.  The Philippines and Bangladesh that have likewise signed the Rome treaty have already ratified in 2010 and 2011 respectively. To date, there are 17 countries in the Asia-Pacific Region that have joined the ICC.  Despite this number, Asia-Pacific remains to be the least represented region before the Court, with countries in Europe, the Americas,   Africa, and the Middle East comprising the total of 122 countries that have already ratified– nearly two-thirds of the world’s nations.

“Working for the universality of the jurisdiction of the ICC is our only guarantee that there is no space in this planet can perpetrators – whoever and wherever they are, run to evade justice and accountability. That is why it is so important for Thailand and other countries like Indonesia, China and India to be part of this international movement for justice because no global justice is possible without Asia and the Pacific in it,” says Evelyn Balais-Serrano of FORUM-ASIA, a regional network of human rights organizations in Asia and also a delegate to the Assembly.

 

For more information, contact Dr. Snea Thinsan at [email protected]

For more information about TAHR, see http://thai-ahr.org

For more information about ICC, see http://www.icc-cpi.int

 

ภาษาไทย

TAHRLOGO-FinalOfficial

THAI ALLIANCE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (TAHR)
ภาคีไทยเพื่อสิทธิมนุษยชน
1268 Grant Avenue, 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94133
Email: [email protected]   Phone: +1 (323) 306-4406
Website: http://thai-ahr.org

PRESS RELEASE
23 พฤศจิกายน 2556
ณ กรุงเฮก ประเทศเนเธอร์แลนด์

คนไทยในต่างแดนร้องขอให้กษัตริย์ภูมิพลอนุญาตให้ประเทศไทยเข้าร่วมกับไอซีซี

ภาคีไทยเพื่อสิทธิมนุษยชน (The Thai Alliance for Human Rights  หรือ TAHR) เป็นเครือข่ายคนไทยที่อาศัยอยู่ในสหรัฐและส่วนอื่น ๆ ของโลก ได้ส่งจดหมายผ่านสถานเอกอัคราชทูตไทยประจำประเทศเนเธอร์แลนด์ เพื่อถวายฎีกาให้กษัตริย์ภูมิพลอนุญาตให้ประเทศไทยลงสัตยาบันรับธรรมนูญกรุงโรมของศาลอาญาระหว่างประเทศ หรือ ไอซีซี   จดหมายฉบับนี้ ลงนามโดยตัวแทนภาคีไทยเพื่อสิทธิมนุษยชนที่เข้าร่วมการประชุมภาคีสมาชิกของศาลอาญาระหว่างประเทศ ครั้งที่ 12 และตัวแทนองค์การรัฐบาลและเอกชนจากทั่วโลก และได้ถูกอ่านโดยตัวแทนภาคีไทยเพื่อสิทธิมนุษยชน (TAHR) ต่อหน้าตัวแทนองค์การสากลในระหว่างการประชุมอย่างเป็นทางการด้วย    TAHR เป็นสมาชิกของเครือข่ายระดับโลก คือ ภาคีเพื่อศาลอาญาระหว่างประเทศ (CICC) ซึ่งเป็นเครือข่ายขององค์การพลเรือนที่มีสมาชิกกว่า 2500 องค์กร จาก 150 ประเทศที่ได้มีสถานะพิเศษในการได้รับสิทธิเข้าร่วมประชุมประจำปีของรัฐภาคีครั้งนี้

“เรากำลังเรียกร้องให้กษัตริย์ภูมิพลท่านทรงพระกรุณาอนุญาตให้มีการลงสัตยาบันรับธรรมนูญกรุงโรม  การเข้าร่วมกับไอซีซีสามารถป้องกันการเกิดความรุนแรงเหมือนที่เกิดขึ้นพร้อม ๆ กับการรัฐประหารหลายครั้งในอดีต ที่ได้ทำให้เกิดการฆ่าและทำร้ายพลเรือนจำนวนมาก  เราไม่ต้องการให้การฆ่ากันอย่างรุนแรงเกิดขึ้นอีกต่อไปแล้ว” นางซู พง หนึ่งในผู้ประสานงานของ TAHR กล่าว

“เราเชื่อว่า ความเป็นธรรมต่อเหยื่อในโศกนาฏกรรมในอดีตที่ก่อขึ้นโดยทหารและกองกำลังติดอาวุธในสังคมเราเกิดขึ้นไม่ได้ หากเราดูสภาพการเมืองที่ไม่เสถียรในประเทศเราขณะนี้  ไอซีซีเป็นกลไกที่จะสามารถปกป้องพวกเรา หากและเมื่อรัฐบาลไม่สามารถหรือไม่เต็มใจที่จะจัดการเอาผิดกับผู้ที่มีส่วนเกี่ยวข้องกับการฆาตกรรมหมู่ที่ผ่านมา” ดร.เสน่ห์ ถิ่นแสน ผู้อำนวยการฝ่ายบริหารของภาคีไทยเพื่อสิทธิมนุษยชน กล่าว    

“ไอซีซีให้ความหวังกับพวกเรา และนั่นคือสาเหตุที่เราส่งตัวแทนมาที่กรุงเฮก เพื่อร่วมการประชุมครั้งนี้  เราออกจากประเทศไทยหลายปีมาแล้ว แต่หัวใจเราอยู่ที่ประเทศไทยเสมอ แม้ว่าพวกเราบางส่วนจะไม่สามารถกลับบ้านเกิดได้อย่างปลอดภัยได้ในเวลานี้  และเราก็ไม่สามารถทนเห็นการฆ่าฟันพี่น้องร่วมชาติและการละเมิดสิทธิมนุษยชนเกิดขึ้นซ้ำซากอีกต่อไปแล้ว   ตอนนี้เราร่วมรณรงค์กับไอซีซีเพราะมันให้ความหวังกับเราว่า เราจะสามารถเปลี่ยนสถานการณ์ด้านสิทธิมนุษยชนให้ดีขึ้นได้ และผลพลอยได้อีกอย่างก็คือ มันอาจจะทำให้พวกเรามีโอกาสกลับไปยังบ้านเกิดอย่างปลอดภัยได้ในอนาคต เพื่อช่วยกันสร้างแต่งแผ่นดินเกิดของพวกเราได้ด้วย” ดร.เสน่ห์ กล่าวต่อ

ประเทศไทยได้ร่วมลงนามธรรมนูญกรุงโรมประเทศหนึ่ง ซึ่งทำให้เกิดการก่อตั้งศาลอาญาระหว่างประเทศเมื่อปี 2545   แต่อย่างไรก็ตาม ด้วยความเปลี่ยนแปลงทางการเมืองในประเทศ การลงสัตยาบันในขั้นสุดท้ายไม่ได้เกิดขึ้นจนถึงวันนี้  จึงทำให้ประเทศไทยเป็นเพียงประเทศเดียวในเอเชีย ที่ยังไม่ได้ลงสัตยาบันรับธรรมนูญกรุงโรม  ประเทศฟิลิปปินส์และประเทศบังคลาเทศซึ่งได้ลงนามก่อตั้งเหมือนประเทศไทย ก็ได้ลงสัตยาบันรับธรรมนูญกรุงโรมไปเมื่อปี 2553 และ 2554 ตามลำดับ  หากจะนับไปแล้ว มี 17 ประเทศในย่านเอเชียแปซิฟิกได้เข้าร่วมรับอำนาจไอซีซีแล้ว  แม้ว่าตัวเลขจะมาก แต่ภูมิภาคเอเชียแปซิฟิกกลับมีตัวแทนในศาลน้อยที่สุด โดยมีประเทศในทวีปยุโรป อเมริกา แอฟริกา และตะวันออกกลาง รวมกันแล้วมีจำนวนถึง 122 ประเทศที่ได้ลงสัตยาบันแล้ว  ซึ่งถือเป็นเกือบสองในสามของประเทศในโลกทั้งหมดเลยทีเดียว

 “การต่อสู้เพื่อให้เกิดอำนาจสากลของศาลไอซีซีในการพิจารณาความเป็นธรรมทางศาลนั้น เป็นสิ่งเดียวที่ประกันได้ว่าจะไม่มีช่องว่างบนโลกใบนี้ให้ผู้กระทำความผิด ไม่ว่าจะเป็นใครก็ตาม สามารถหนีหรือหลบพ้นความยุติธรรมและความรับผิดชอบได้  นั่นคือสาเหตุที่มันสำคัญยิ่งที่ประเทศไทยและประเทศอื่น ๆ เช่นอินโดนีเซีย จีน และอินเดีย ต้องเข้าร่วมในความพยายามระดับสากลเพื่อความยุติธรรมนี้ เพราะความเป็นธรรมทั่วโลกใบนี้จะเป็นไปไม่ได้เลยหากไม่มีประเทศในเอเชียและแถบแปซิฟิกร่วมด้วย” นางสาวเอวลีน บาไลส์ เซอราโน่  ผู้อำนวยการบริหารองค์การฟอรั่มเอเชีย ซึ่งเป็นเครือข่ายนักสิทธิมนุษยชนในเอเชีย และเป็นตัวแทนเข้าร่วมการประชุมภาคีสมาชิกครั้งนี้ กล่าว

ข้อมูลเพิ่มเติม

For more information, contact Dr. Snea Thinsan at [email protected]

For more information about TAHR, see http://thai-ahr.org

For more information about ICC, see http://www.icc-cpi.int

 

รูปภาพบางส่วนของการร่วมงาน Assembly of States Parties ครั้งที่ 12 ของศาลอาญาระหว่างประเทศ (ไอซีซี)

 

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iccmeeting ICCPresident

 

TAHR Representatives Attending the ICC’s 12th Assembly of States Parties in The Hague, the Netherlands

Invitation-WebsiteInvitation-Website

iccmeetingAs an ally to and member of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) for Asia Pacific and as selected Thai NGOs, the Thai Alliance for Human Rights was invited to attend the International Criminal Court's (ICC) 12th Assembly of States Parties in The Hague, the Netherlands.  The event this year takes place during November 20-28, 2013.  Thailand has not ratified the Rome Statute with the ICC yet, but it is increasingly evident that Thailand will need to do so sooner than later before another episode of violent clash as a result of the political rifts that have ceaselessly grown since the 2006 coup d'etat.  TAHR sends its delegates to this crucial assembly, including three members of the Board of Directors and three Executive Board members.  

In addition to an opportunity to learn about how the ICC is operated as a large, international organization with global impacts, TAHR is expecting to network with human rights defenders from over 2500 organizations from over 120 countries from around the world, share information about situations in Thailand, meet with the ICC and EU Council officers regarding their potential assistance on Thai issues, and support other nations on their causes.  This event is expected to be truly fruitful.

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TAHR members have donated money to support this trip.  The budget allocated for this project is $3000. It will be worthwhile, well spent, and transparently reported by the team.  Thanks for all the support. We shall keep you updated. 

Report by TAHR Executive Director
November 18, 2013

ส่วนหนึ่งของจดหมายเชิญเข้าร่วมงาน

Invitation-Website Invitation Letter to ASP 12 - Chupong Theethuan

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Ending violence against women and girls (Amnesty International USA)


LL CONGRESS: Show me your commitment to ending violence against women and girls

"Being raped, it makes you…a person without rights…every day someone reminds me that I've been raped and that I should put myself in a corner, that I shouldn't speak, I should say nothing."- Rose, raped at age 15, Haiti

Defend women like Rose.

The first time Rose was raped, her aunt arranged the attack as punishment for an argument. Rose was kidnapped by three men, assaulted, and then abandoned in a remote area. She was 15 years old.

The second time Rose was raped, a thief came into her house and assaulted her while her children were sleeping. She was 20 years old.

We cannot undo Rose's pain, but Amnesty supporters like you CAN do something to put an end to the violence that robs women and girls like Rose of their rights.

Urge your Members of Congress to co-sponsor the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA).

IVAWA was just reintroduced in Congress. This bill seeks to end the global epidemic of violence against women and girls, making preventing and ending this human rights abuse a diplomatic and foreign assistance priority for the US government. IVAWA includes:

Rose's story bears a horrible truth – that one in three women globally has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime. IVAWA has the potential to make the one in three become none in three. But not without your help.

Please take one minute of your time now to ask your Members of Congress to co-sponsor IVAWA and push for its swift consideration in Congress.

Countries, communities, and families cannot thrive without the contributions and talent of half their populations.

You can take action to end one of the world's most pervasive human rights abuses today. Tell your Representatives in Congress to support IVAWA.

Let's get this bill passed.

In solidarity,

Cristina Finch
Managing Director, Women's Human Rights Program
Amnesty International USA

Redefining Legitimacy

 

Redefining Legitimacy
 
In a world composed of modern nation states, those who struggle to live without the necessary documentation are often excluded from society. Even the most basic human rights such as work and travel are denied to undocumented human beings deemed "illegal".
 
 

THAILAND: No amnesty for state-sponsored murder


The Thai Alliance for Human Rights endorses the statement below by the Asian Human Rights Commission.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AHRC-STM-201-2013
November 6, 2013

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission

THAILAND: No amnesty for state-sponsored murder

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) would like to express grave concern about the current state of the draft amnesty bill in Thailand. The draft amnesty bill (in full, the Draft Amnesty for Those Who Committed Offences as a Result of the Political Protests and Political Expression of the People B.E…..) is broad, vague, and appears to be motivated by political expediency at the expense of human rights, justice, and the rule of law. If passed in its current form, the bill will allow murderers to walk free without even a slap on the wrist. The amnesty will constitute the erasure of the suffering and losses of those who died or were injured as a result of violence perpetrated by state actors. In particular, if passed in its current form, the amnesty will allow those who were responsible for the deaths of 92 persons and the injuries of over 2000 during the clashes between state forces and Red Shirt protestors in April-May 2010 to evade accountability.

The core of the draft amnesty bill is in Article 3, the measure which describes which actors, what actions, and what period of time are to be covered by the law. In the initial draft, prepared by Mr. Worachai Hema, a Pheu Thai MP and his colleagues, Article 3 stipulated the following: “All actions of persons that were related to political demonstrations or political expression, or individuals who did not participate in political demonstrations but the motivation of the actions was related or connected to political conflict. By calling through speeches or broadcasting through whatever means to call for or create opposition to the state, self-defense, resistance to the operations of state officials, or rallies, demonstrations, or expressions using any means that could impact life, body, hygiene, property, or any rights of other individuals that were incidents related to political demonstrations or political expression from 19 September 2006 until 10 May 2011, are no longer offences, and the actors are absolved from wrongdoing and all responsibility. The actions in the first paragraph do not include the actions of those who had decision-making authority or decisive authority or directed political movements in the period specified above.”

In sum, the draft approved during the first reading exempted from responsibility all those involved in political demonstrations on all sides, including state actors but excluding those in positions of authority inside and outside the state, during the period of political conflict which began with the 19 September 2006 coup and ended with the dissolution of Parliament and announcement of elections on 10 May 2011. Parliament voted to accept this in principle during the first reading of the bill in August 2013. In a written submission to the UN Human Rights Council during the September 2013 session, the Asian Legal Resource Center (ALRC), the AHRC’s sister organization, echoed the concerns of the Office of the UN High Commission on Human Rights that the draft bill might allow those involved in the violation of human rights to be exempt from punishment, and further noted that the categories of those to be amnestied were unclear.

Subsequent to the first reading, an ad hoc committee of MPs was appointed to examine the draft amnesty bill. In late October 2013, they returned the draft to the full assembly for the second and third readings. The ad hoc committee made significant changes to Article 3. In the current draft version, Article 3 stipulates that: “All actions of persons or people that are related to political demonstrations, political expression, political conflicts or those accused of being wrongdoers by a group of individuals or an entity established after the coup of 19 September 2006, including organizations or agencies who proceeded in relation to the aforementioned matters that occurred between 2004 and 8 August 2013, whether the person undertaking actions did so as a principal, supporter, someone who ordered to take action, or some who used , if those actions were illegal, the actors are absolved from wrongdoing and all responsibility.”

In sum, the draft returned by the ad hoc committee and approved during the second and third readings exempts all involved persons from responsibility, including state officials who gave orders and protest leaders who directed demonstrations. This draft also expands the period of time covered by the amnesty to begin in 2004 (although when precisely in 2004 is not specified) and to extend until August 2013. As human rights activists have raised, this then seems to be an attempt to extend the amnesty, which already will provide impunity to those state actors who perpetrated violence during the April-May 2010 crackdown on Red Shirt protestors, to cover the incidents of the Krue Se and Tak Bai massacres, the disappearance of human rights defender (HRD) and lawyer Somchai Neelaphaichit, and the murders of other HRDs which took place during the years in which Thaksin Shinawatra was prime minister before being extraconstitutionally ousted in the 19 September 2006 coup. This draft version of the bill was passed by Parliament in the second and third readings on 31 October and 1 November 2013, and has now been forwarded to the Senate for examination.

If an amnesty bill which contains this version of Article 3 becomes law, the long history of impunity in the country will be further consolidated by the passage of this amnesty bill. The AHRC would like to remind responsible actors of the state responsibilities to end impunity and to urge concerted effort to act in the service of human rights. In the updated set of principles for the protection and promotion of human rights through action to combat impunity (E/CN.4/2005/102/Add.1), the United Nations Commission on Human Rights described the obligation of states to end impunity and secure accountability in the aftermath of state violence as follows: “Impunity arises from a failure by States to meet their obligations to investigate violations; to take appropriate measures in respect of the perpetrators, particularly in the area of justice, by ensuring that those suspected of criminal responsibility are prosecuted, tried and duly punished; to provide victims with effective remedies and to ensure that they receive reparation for the injuries suffered; to ensure the inalienable right to know the truth about violations; and to take other necessary steps to prevent a recurrence of violations.”

What makes this draft amnesty a signal of a particular crisis of impunity in Thailand is that in contrast to earlier instances of mass state violence, namely 14 October 1973, 6 October 1976, and May 1992, there has been extensive investigation of the violence of April-May 2010, and the beginnings of judicial processes to hold state perpetrators to account. A series of investigations have been carried out by different kinds of actors, including a state agency, two state-appointed independent bodies, and a citizen group. The citizen group, the People’s Information Center (PIC), released their report in late August 2012; the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Thailand (TRCT), the first of the independent bodies, released a short report in September 2012 and their full report in July 2013; and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the second of the independent bodies, released their report in August 2013. The report of the state agency, the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), has not been made public. In comparison to the reports of both the TRCT and the NHRC, the report of the PIC represents a rigorous accounting of the events of March-May 2010. The ALRC views the report of the PIC as an important action by citizens in the service of protecting human rights and ending impunity. Although the AHRC wishes to note concerns about the lacunae in the TRCT and NHRC reports, and dismay at the continued refusal of the DSI to release their report to the public, this marks the first time in Thai history that there has been a sustained, public attempt at gathering information about state violence carried out by state, or state-appointed, agencies.

Further, in addition to gathering information, judicial proceedings have begun in many instances with post-mortem inquests into the deaths of April-May 2010. To examine but one example, on the final day of the crackdown, 19 May 2010, 6 civilians were killed inside a Buddhist temple, Wat Pathum Wanaram, which was close to the center of the protests. On 6 August 2013, the Bangkok Southern court ruled in the postmortem inquest in Black Case No. C5/2555 that these 6 civilians were killed by soldiers. The court noted that, “The deaths were caused by being shot with .223 or 5.56 mm bullets and the direction of fire was from where the competent officials were stationed to perform their duties to maintain order on the BTS’s rail tracks in front of Wat Pathum Wanaram Ratcha Worawiharn and around Rama I Road. At the instructions of the Center for Resolution of Emergency Situation (CRES), the officials took control over the area of the Ratchaprasong Intersection. And as a result of that, the first deceased died of gunshot wounds on his lungs and heart causing hemorrhage, the second deceased died of gunshot wound that destroyed his lungs, the third deceased died of gunshot wounds that destroyed his lungs, heart and liver, the fourth deceased died of gunshot wounds that destroyed his lungs and liver, the fifth deceased died of gunshot wounds that destroyed her brain and the sixth deceased died of gunshot wounds that went through his oral cavity, whilst no particular perpetrators can be identified” (unofficial translation provided by Prachatai). Given the conclusion by the court, the AHRC is concerned that if the amnesty is passed in its current form, it means that the case will end with the inquest, rather than further action being taken so that the officials responsible for carrying out the violence and the officials responsible for ordering the violence are held to account.

The dangers posed by the draft amnesty bill in its current form are not only specific to the instances of state violence and violation of human rights which have taken place since 2004, but extend into the future as well. In a recent statement criticizing the draft amnesty proposed by the Parliamentary ad hoc committee, the Khana Nitirat, a group of law lecturers at Thammasat University warned that in addition to being in direct conflict with the Thai state’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the amnesty will “further habituate state officials, especially soldiers, to take such actions against the people without concern that they will have to accept legal responsibility in the future.”

At this important juncture in Thai history, the Asian Human Rights Commission calls on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Members of Parliament, Senators, and all other responsible actors in Thailand to act in the service of ending impunity and fostering human rights. The AHRC is cognizant that it may not be possible to halt the amnesty process and recommends that if this is the case, that the Senate send the draft bill back to the Parliament for reconsideration and redrafting so as to bring any potential amnesty bill in line with the principle and rationale decided upon by the Parliament during the first reading.

However, rather than an amnesty bill being passed, the AHRC urges full and equal prosecution under existing criminal law for acts of violence committed during the protests and subsequent crackdown. The AHRC is concerned that if a blanket amnesty such as the current draft bill is passed, it will allow state officials who murdered citizens to evade being held to account. Given that the state prosecutor has already filed charges against former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban for their roles in ordering the killings, any amnesty that halts this process will amount to the direct obstruction of truth and justice. In addition to continuing with prosecutions against involved state officials, who have not been prosecuted to date, the AHRC urges review of the cases of Red Shirt activists who were prosecuted and sentenced to long prison terms related to their actions in the protests. In many cases, the accusations and prosecutions were highly politicized, and the AHRC is concerned that the judiciary may not have acted independently. Individuals who were prosecuted on the basis of their ideas, including those prosecuted under Article 112, the law which criminalizes alleged lese majeste, should be immediately released. The unprecedented documentation of information about the events of April-May 2010, including the ongoing inquest process, means that in comparison to prior instances of mass state violence in Thailand, there is an unprecedented opportunity to act in the service of justice and human rights, rather than the further entrenchment of impunity. This is an opportunity that must not be wasted.

# # #

About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

 


 

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September-October 2013: Thailand Update: Culture of Impunity-The license of killings prolonged in Thailand

Dear all friends and comrades!

Warm greetings!

Hope this email find all of you in good spirits!

A.   Summary:

Here is the  Sept- Oct 2013 updates of happening inside Thailand :

-There is  both good and bad news happened in Thailand during these period.

– Good news is  one of the long time socialist leader ,Surachai was released lately under the royal pardon.

Bad news is there is no sign of the other lese majeste law political  prisoners are able to seek their justice via the right to bail and also the continued use of lese majeste law to silence dissidents.

-There is proposed of Amnesty Bill to be passed in parliament. Unfortunately the bill allow the impunity that caused suffer and mass killing in Thailand since centuries back. Many pro democracy civilian and activists were killed in the past till the latest massacre during year 2006-10. Yet, there is no sign of the culture of impunity to be end in Thailand with the ruling government who want to remain its status quo of in power. They excluded those who are convicted under lese majeste law. This is a big blow to the pro democracy movement in Thailand which  this government supported by them.

 Ps: the law was passed on the 1 nov early morning. unfortunately.

The political prisoners who are still struggle to seek their justice via the judiciary need to face the  continue uncertainty of their fate in jails for coming years.

  1. September  highlights:

Wife of convicted Thai lèse-majesté activist Somyot in Geneva

Wife of Somyot presented the situation of the  Somyot and other political prusoers of LML in Thailand during a panel discussion of the Freedom of Expression-during the side event of the 24th Human Right Council Regular Session and met with high level officials in the UN agencies and ILO.
Wednesday 11 September, 2013: 2 – 4 pm, Palais des Nations, Room XXII. If you are in Geneva, please come and join us.

More detail here:

https://www.facebook.com/notes/free-somyot/lese-majeste-aired-in-geneva/520979517988347

https://www.facebook.com/notes/free-somyot/wife-of-convicted-thai-l%C3%A8se-majest%C3%A9-activist-somyot-in-geneva/520979907988308

  1. October  highlights:

Somyott Pruksakasemsuk——“I will not seek royal pardon. I won't lose my foundation and principle for proofing my innocent”

Update from wife of Somyott Pruksakasemsuk——16 Oct 2013, I visited Somyot as usual this morning and complained to him that many people keep asking whether he will seek royal pardon. He said he wouldn't change his mind and won't lose his foundation and principle for proofing his innocent. He anticipated that he would have to complete his jail term of 11 years.

Somyot gave interview to Thailand Mirror on Friday 25 Oct 2013 that he is fighting for justice, not for mercy. This fight is meaningful for Thai society, it is a fight for legitimacy and a call for freedom of expression. He is ready to follow the law process and hope to get the right to bail as same as other criminal trials and other 112 prisoners (lese majeste prisoners). He is well prepared that he will be tortured and in trouble but he dare to do so without being shaken

2 Oct 2013: Another lese majeste case convicted.

A Thai court jailed a woman for five years today for posting online comments insulting to the monarchy, the second ruling of its kind this week under tough lese-majeste laws carrying penalties activists say are too harsh. She was allowed to get bail.

A judge ruled Noppawan Tangudomsuk, nicknamed Bento, posted messages in 2008 on the web board of news website Prachatai that were deemed offensive to the monarchy, a breach of Thailand's Computer Crimes Act, a controversial law passed by a legislature hand-picked by generals after a 2006 coup. http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/world/article/thai-woman-jailed-for-5-years-for-anti-royal-web-post

4 Oct 2013: Surachai Danwattananusorn

Release of  political prisoners of lese majeste law.

A political activist who was convicted of defaming Thailand’s monarchy has received a royal pardon from the king and will be freed from jail.

Surachai Danwattananusorn was sentenced last year to seven and a half years in prison for making remarks judged to have insulted the monarchy. He was a communist insurgent in Thailand in the 1970s and was imprisoned in the 1980s. Surachai also led a faction of the Red Shirt political movement, whose members took to the streets and clashed with the military in 2010

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/politics/373035/lese-majeste-convict-surachai-released

http://www.bangkokpost.com/breakingnews/372821/king-pardons-lese-majeste-convict-surachai-danwattananusorn

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=298996666905770&set=pcb.298997216905715&type=1&theater

Note: It is obvious a Thai way: You need to confess guilty even you are not wrong. You will be pardon and free. Instead questioned the draconian lese majeste law and the political intended arrest. This way to pacify the resistance movement to the law and freedom of speech.


D.      Culture of Impunity:

Culture of Impunity  continue in Thailand with the blanket amnesty bill that will allow  the impunity and license for the state agencies continue massacre the pro democracy movement and civilians.

It come to a real hard fact that he real obstacles of democracy and justice today in Thailand obviously is not the military, amart, royalists…but Thaksin and Prue Thai Party, Thai government-as they allow the impunity continue to grow and massacres to civilians to be continued

Read here:
Why Thaksin is wrong
24 10 2013

Thaksin is wrong to speak of forgiving. He should consider those who don’t seek revenge but who want justice as a way of breaking the cycle of impunity.

If he really does “have no problem staying in foreign lands for another 10 years…” then he should be comfortable with an amnesty that seeks real justice. Such an amnesty would be a real historical breakthrough, and not just a resetting that is simply another cycle of impunity.
thaipoliticalprisoners.wordpress.com/page/2/

 

A culture of impunity has been profoundly entrenched in Thailand. Through several tumultuous periods in Thai history in which lives of ordinary citizens were sacrificed, none has been successfully brought to.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2013/08/17/commentary/hope-for-amnesty-bill-as-thai-protests-return/#.UmVFyFN0sr4


Red shirts feel betrayed

Phayaw Akkahad, mother of slain nurse Kamolkaed Akkahad, said she felt betrayed by Thaksin but vowed to fight on until those responsible are brought to justice.

"What Thaksin did today was an act of betrayal against the people. Thaksin became ungrateful to the 15 million people who voted for him," said Phayaw, sounding noticeably upset. She said she and other relatives of those killed in 2010 would soon call a press conference, and insisted that she would not give up calling for the end to the immunity even if she had to fight alone.

A group of 20 red-shirt university students led by Panitan Prueksakasemsuk, son of lese majeste convict Somyos Prueksakasemsuk and a senior law student at Thammasat University, staged a protest in front of the Pheu Thai Party headquarters. Organising a play mocking Thaksin under the title "Stepping on Dead Bodies to Return Home", Panitan told The Nation that his feelings towards Thaksin had changed and the development demonstrated that most politicians cannot be trusted.

The red-shirt movement, said Panitan, is now divided over the issue, but the blame must be placed squarely on Thaksin and the Pheu Thai Party and not on those who oppose the blanket amnesty, he stressed.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Red-shirts-feel-betrayed-30218535.html

Please continue lend your support to call and press for :

"Free Somyot

Free all political prisoners of Lese Majeste Law

Abolish lese majeste law"

You can find our latest and previous update in this FB Page:

Sept-Oct 2013: Thailand Update: Culture of Impunity-The license of killings prolong in Thailand.https://www.facebook.com/notes/international-solidarity-for-thailand/sept-oct-2013-thailand-update-culture-of-impunity-the-license-of-killings-prolon/657778657587431

In solidarity,
Malaysia Support Group for Democracy in Thailand