Monthly Archives: February 2014

TAHR condemns PDRC’s aggressive and rights abusive acts against democratic activists

Below is a facebook-based personal statement by Mr. Sombat Boon-ngam-anong, a pro-democracy activist.  The PDRC mobs ganged up and targetted Sombat, chased him, and attempted to harrass him. This is totally unacceptable.  Mr. Boon-ngam-anong has been non-violent, reasonable, friendly, and respectful, exercising his political and civil rights. 

LailaBGLaijood 

"บก.ลายจุด" เปิดประสบการณ์ระทึก – ม็อบกปปส.ไล่ล่าในสถานีเอ็นบีที !



ทันทีที่ได้ยินเสียงรถเครื่องเสียงดังมาจากด้านหน้าสถานี NBT ผมชะโงกหน้าไปดูที่ประตูใหญ่ สายไปเสียแล้วม๊อบอารายะ กปปส ได้เครื่องตัวเข้ามาหน้าอาคารเรียบร้อย 



ผมคว้า MacAir คู่ใจยัดใส่กระเป๋าสะพายตัวเก่งที่ซื้อมา 10 ปีภายในไม่กี่วินาที ตะโกนบอกลา ดร.วุฒิพงษ์ พิธีกรคู่ขวัญ(เสีย) ออกประตูหลังที่แม่บ้านใช้กันทันที เมื่อเท้าแตะพื้นผมสวมวิญญาณอุ๊ยเสี่ยวป้อใช้ชุดวิชาตัวเบาวิ่งไปด้านหลังของอาคาร ทันใดนั้นเสียงชายผู้หนึ่งตะโกนถามว่าจะวิ่งไปไหน ผมตะโกนสวนไปว่าม๊อบมา แล้วก็วิ่งต่อ

ผมคิดเอาเองว่ามันต้องมีประตูหลัง แต่ก็หาไม่เจอว่าอยู่ตรงไหน ชายผู้นั้นก็ขี่มอเตอร์ไซค์บอกให้ผมซ้อนท้ายและจะพาออกไปด้านหลัง หลังจากกระโดนควบมอเตอร์ไซค์ไม่ได้รับจ้างคันนี้ ก็ไปเจอกับการ์ด กปปส 2 คนที่ขี่มอเตอร์ไซค์หาอะไรบางอย่าง เมื่อเขาเห็นผมก็รีบขี่ไปไปแจ้งแกนนำ 

ผมเจอชุดการ์ดอีก 2 ชุดและเมื่อเขาเห็นผมก็ขี่ไปแจ้งแกนนำ 

เมื่อมอเตอร์ไซค์พาผมไปที่ประตูด้านหลังก็พบการ์ดอีก 4 คนยืนอยู่ตรงนั้น ชายคนนี้กลับรถทันที แล้ววิ่งกลับเข้ามาที่อาคารหลังหนึ่งใน NBT บอกว่าให้วิ่งไปซ้อนตัวข้างใน 

รปภ.มองหน้าผมเล็กน้อยและคงจำหน้าผมได้ ชี้แนะผมว่าเข้าไปหลบข้างในก่อน แต่ไม่รู้หลบตรงไหน ผมเดินกึ่งวิ่งหามุมว่าจะไปอยู่ตรงไหน ก็เจอห้องเก็บของเล็ก ๆ ที่ชั้นหนึ่งและแทรกตัวเองเข้าไป โชคร้ายประตูล๊อคไม่ได้ มันเสีย

คว้าโทรศัพท์ขึ้นมาเหลือแบตอยู่ 8 นาที ผมตัดสินใจปิดโทรศัพท์เผื่อฉุกเฉิน 

ชายที่ขับมอเตอร์ไซค์ก็เข้ามาในอาคารอีกครั้งถามหา บก.ลายจุด กับจนท.คนอื่น แต่ไม่มีใครเห็นหรือรู้จัก สตรีคนหนึ่งตอบว่า "ที่นี่มี บก.หลายคน" ชายคนนั้นจึงบอกว่าผมเป็นคนพาเขาเข้ามาในนี้เอง ผมจึงรู้ว่าเสียงของชายคนนี้ ไม่ใช่การ์ดคนดี แต่เป็นชายคนนั้น จึงเปิดประตูออกไปว่าผมอยู่นี่ เขาพยายามจะพาผมไปออกโดยการปีนรั้ว วปอ. ที่อยู่ข้าง ๆ โดยมี จนท. ของสถานีวิทยุแห่งประเทศไทยท่านหนึ่งอาสาขับรถไปส่งผม แต่ผมมองว่าผมออกไปก็คงเจอคนดีพวกนั้นอีก หลบอยู่ที่นี่ดีกว่า ไม่ทันไร เสียงรถเครื่องเสียงก็ดังใกล้เข้ามา ผมกลับไปอยู่ในห้องนั้นอีกครั้ง แต่แม่บ้านมาเห็น ตะโกนเสียงแหลม "เข้าไปทำไม" จนชายคนนั้นต้องอธิบายว่าผมเป็นตำรวจ ให้คนนี้หลบในห้อง

ไม่นานรถเครื่องเสียงพร้อมมวลชนก็มาจอดอยู่หน้าตึกที่ผมซ่อนตัวอยู่ เสียงนกหวีดดังสลับเสียงปราศรัย "ไอ้บก.ลายจุด มึงมันไอ้เลว…..ฯลฯ บังอาจมาจัดรายการในช่อง NBT" ขณะที่เจ้าหน้าที่ในอาคารก็วิ่งส่งเสียงตกอกตกใจทั่วอาคาร ผมใช้เวลาอยู่ในห้องเก็บของเล็ก ๆ ที่เป็นที่เก็บผ้าขี้ริ้ว ไม้ถูกพื้น และสวิตซ์ไฟฟ้าของระบบทั้งอาคาร รวมถึงสายโทรศัพท์ที่รุงรังเต็มไปหมด นึกในใจว่าจะโดนกระทืบตายหรือโดนไฟดูดตายอยู่ในห้องหรือเปล่า 

เป็นครั้งแรกที่ผมได้ฟังการปราศรัยสด ๆ กับหูตัวเอง เพราะปกติต้องติดตามฟังจากช่อง Blue Sky แต่ก็นับว่าไม่ผิดหวัง ได้อารมณ์จริง ๆ พับผ่าซิ

30 นาทีผ่านไปนับเป็นช่วงเวลาที่คุ้มค่าของประสบการณ์ชีวิต เสียงรถเครื่องเสียงเคลื่อนออกไปไกลขึ้น สักพักเจ้าหน้าที่ของอาคารดังกล่าวกับตำรวจนอกเครื่องแบบคนนั้นก็มารับผมออกจากอาคาร โดยอาศัยรถยนต์ของ จนท. คนนั้นออกไปถึงรั้ว วปอ ก่อนจากกัน จนท.คนนั้นบอกว่า "ผมเป็นแฟนคลับพี่ในเฟสบุ๊ค

เรื่องราวต่อจากนั้นหาได้มีความสำคัญแก่การเล่าต่อ 

ผมอยากขอบคุณ ตร.นอกเครื่องแบบท่านนั้น จนท.สวท. รปภ.หน้าตึก และคุณแม่บ้านที่อนุญาตให้ผมเข้าไปแอบในห้องทำงานของท่าน

ส่วนที่ คุณสุเทพ ประกาศค่าหัวผม 1 ล้านบาท 

ขอเปลี่ยนเป็นการบริจาคเงินซื้อข้าวช่วยชาวนาได้มั๊ยครับ ?

THAILAND: Legal and Extralegal Threats to Freedom of Expression

ALRC-CWS-25-07-2014
February 24, 2014

 

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
Twenty fifth session, Agenda Item 3, General Debate

A written submission to the UN Human Rights Council by the Asian Legal Resource Centre

THAILAND: Legal and Extralegal Threats to Freedom of Expression

  1. The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) wishes to raise grave concerns about the intensification of legal and extralegal threats to freedom of expression in Thailand. Carried out in the name of protecting the monarchy, this range of threats constitutes the entrenchment of the normalization of the violation of human rights and curtailment of freedom of expression. This statement is the eighth on this topic that the ALRC has submitted to the Council since May 2011. During the seventeenth session of the Council in May 2011, the ALRC highlighted the rise in the legal and unofficial use of Article 112 of the Criminal Code and the 2007 Computer Crimes Act (CCA) to constrict freedom of expression and intimidate citizens critical of the monarchy (A/HRC/17/NGO/27). During the nineteenth session in February 2012, the ALRC detailed some of the threats faced both by those who have expressed critical views of the monarchy, both legal and extralegal, as well as those who have expressed concern about these threats (A/HRC/19/NGO/55). During the twentieth session in June 2012, the ALRC raised concerns about the weak evidentiary basis of convictions made under Article 112 and the CCA (A/HRC/20/NGO/37) and the concerning conditions surrounding the death in prison custody of Amphon Tangnoppakul on 8 May 2012, then serving a 20-year sentence for four alleged violations of Article 112 and the CCA (A/HRC/20/NGO/38). During the twenty-second session in March 2013, the ALRC highlighted the January 2013 conviction under Article 112 of human rights defender and labour rights activist Somyot Prueksakasemsuk (A/HRC/22/NGO/44). During the twenty-third session in June 2013, the ALRC emphasized the regularization of the crisis of freedom of expression, and noted that constriction of speech had become constitutive of political and social life in Thailand (A/HRC/23/NGO/42). During the twenty-fourth session in October 2013, the ALRC emphasized the dangers of the normalization of the violation of human rights in the name of protecting the monarchy (A/HRC/24/NGO/35).
  2. Over the course of the prior seven statements, the ALRC first noted with surprise the active use of measures to constrict speech, then tracked the expansion of this use, and finally, the entrenchment of the foreclosure of freedom of speech. The ALRC is again raising the issue of freedom of expression with the Council because the law has continued to be actively used to violate the right to freedom of expression and extralegal threats to freedom of expression, and human rights broadly, have emerged in Thailand. In the statement submitted to the Council in October 2013, the ALRC warned that the routine denial of bail and the use of vague references to national security to attempt to legitimize the violation of the human rights of those with dissident views had become normalized. In this statement, the ALRC wishes to alert the Human Rights Council to ongoing developments that indicate the urgency, and growing difficulty, of addressing the crisis of freedom of expression in Thailand.
  3. There are two primary laws that are used to both legally constrict freedom of speech in Thailand and create a broad climate of fear for those who hold dissenting opinions. Article 112 of the Criminal Code criminalizes criticism of the monarchy and mandates that, "Whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years." The 2007 Computer Crimes Act (CCA), which was promulgated as part of Thailand's compliance as a signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, has been used to target web editors and websites identified as critical of the monarchy or dissident in other ways. The CCA provides for penalties of up to five years per count in cases that are judged to have involved the dissemination or hosting of information deemed threatening to national security, of which the institution of the monarchy is identified as a key part. While Article 112 has been part of the Criminal Code since the last major revision in 1957, available statistics suggest that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of complaints filed since the 19 September 2006 coup; how often these complaints become formal charges and lead to prosecutions is information that the Government of Thailand has continuously failed to provide up to the present. The CCA has often been used in combination with Article 112 in the seven years since its promulgation; similar to the use of Article 112, the Government of Thailand has not made complete usage information available. This failure to make information public about the frequency and conditions of use of both laws creates fear and diminishes the space for freedom of expression through the use of secrecy and creation of uncertainty.
  4. In addition to the continued use of the law to constrict speech, recent events indicate that there is an increase in the potential for extralegal violence against those who hold dissident views. During the statement submitted to the nineteenth session (A/HRC/19/NGO/55) in March 2012, the ALRC warned the Council about the threats made against members of the Khana Nitirat, a group of progressive legal academics at Thammasat University who proposed reform of Article 112. In response, hundreds of threats were posted online against the group, calling for the members to be attacked, killed, beheaded, and burned alive. Subsequently, one of the members of the group, Professor Worachet Pakeerut, was assaulted outside his office at Thammasat by two young men who later told the police that they attacked him because they disagreed with his ideas.
  5. On February 12, 2014, an attack on another progressive academic, Professor Somsak Jeamteerasakul, a history professor at Thammasat University and outspoken political and cultural critic, indicates a renewed increase in the permissive climate for extralegal intimidation and violence of those who hold dissenting opinions. Two assailants fired repeated gunshots at the home and car of Professor Somsak. Although he did not sustain any physical injuries, the damage to his car and house indicate that the violence was intended to be deadly. The attack took place during the day, while Professor Somsak was at home, which lends further credence to the idea that the perpetrators intended to inflict harm or death and that they were unconcerned with being seen.
  6. Professor Somsak Jeamteerasakul's writing and teaching have inspired many students and citizens to carefully examine the past, present, and persecution of the powerless by the powerful in Thailand. His criticism often makes those in power uncomfortable, and there has been an attempt to use Article 112 to curtail his speech. In April 2011, a police investigation began against him in relation to a complaint likely made in relation to comments he made in article about a Princess Chulabhorn's (one of the daughters of the current Thai king) appearance on a talk show. This case is still ongoing, even though Article 112 does not apply to Princess Chulabhorn, and so there is no legal restriction of comments made about her. In early February 2014, the deputy spokesman of the Royal Thai Army commented that the Army plans to file additional complaints of violations of Article 112 against Professor Somsak in relation to comments he posted on the social media website Facebook.
  7. The ALRC is particularly concerned that the violent attack on Professor Somsak has come so close following the comments of the deputy spokesman of the Royal Thai Army regarding further proceedings under Article 112 against him. While the identities and motivations of the attackers remain unknown pending police investigation, the temporal link to the formal and legal action taken against him by the Royal Thai Army is striking. In addition, given the severe polarization in Thai society which began when the protracted protests against the elected government began in November 2013, this extralegal attack on Professor Somsak is a further indication of the ongoing breakdown of the rule of law in Thailand.
  8. The ALRC would like to remind the Thai government that they are a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and are bound to uphold the human rights principles named therein. In particular, the ALRC would like to call on the Thai state to uphold Article 19 of the ICCPR, in particular, paragraph 1, which guarantees that, "Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference," and paragraph 2, which guarantees that, "Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice." It is imperative that the Thai state's protection of the rights guaranteed in Article 19 and the remainder of the ICCPR be active, rather than passive. Upholding the ICCPR necessarily entails protecting those whose views are dissident and ensuring that they can safely exercise their political freedom. Failure to do so will signal to vigilante actors that attacking those who hold different views are acceptable within the Thai polity.
  9. The ALRC would also like to remind the Government of Thailand that under Article 19 of the ICCPR, restrictions on the right to freedom of expression are only permissible under two circumstances: "for respect of the rights or reputations of others" and "for the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals." Although Article 112 is classified as a crime against national security within the Criminal Code of Thailand, and this, along with the need to protect the monarchy, is frequently cited by the Government of Thailand when faced with the criticism that the measure is in tension with the ICCPR, a precise explanation of the logic for categorizing the measure as such has not been provided to date. Until this explanation is provided, the constriction of freedom of expression is arbitrary and contributes to a climate hostile to human rights.
  10. The ALRC is gravely concerned about the ongoing legal and extralegal threats to freedom of expression in Thailand, and their effects on human rights, justice, and the rule of law in Thailand. The intensification of extralegal threats to dissenting citizens' rights and lives as indicated by the February 2014 attack on Professor Somsak Jeamteerasakul represents a new point of crisis in the longstanding climate of constriction of political freedom in Thailand.
  11. In view of the above, the Asian Legal Resource Center calls on the UN Human Rights Council to:
  1. Call on the Government of Thailand to ensure that a full investigation into the attack on Professor Somsak Jeamteerasakul is carried out and bring the men who shot at his house and car to justice;
  2. Call on the Government of Thailand to release all those convicted or facing charges under Article 112 and the 2007 Computer Crimes Act. At a minimum, those currently being held should immediately be granted bail while their cases are in the Criminal or Appeal Courts;
  3. Demand that the Government of Thailand revoke Article 112 of the Criminal Code and the 2007 Computer Crimes Act;
  4. Urge the Government of Thailand to allow and support the full exercise of freedom of expression and political freedom, consistent with the terms of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which it is a signatory, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which it is a state party, and;
  5. Request the Special Rapporteur on the freedom of opinion and expression to continue ongoing monitoring and research about the broad situation of constriction of rights and individual cases in Thailand; and, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to continue to monitor and report on those cases of persons arbitrarily detained under Article 112.

# # #

About the ALRC: The Asian Legal Resource Centre is an independent regional non-governmental organisation holding general consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. It is the sister organisation of the Asian Human Rights Commission. The Hong Kong-based group seeks to strengthen and encourage positive action on legal and human rights issues at the local and national levels throughout Asia.

Read this online from AHRC

25th Session of the UN Human Rights Council – AHRC

Read this online from ALRC

25th Session of the UN Human Rights Council – ALRC

 


 

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Respect our votes! Statement by TAHR Australia


ภาคีไทยเพื่อสิทธิมนุษยชน ออสเตรเลีย ออกแถลงการณ์เรียกร้องให้เคารพสิทธิในการโหวต อันเป็นสิทธิมนุษยชนพื้นฐานสากล

แถลงการณ์ TAHRA Australia 1

แถลงการณ์ TAHRA Australia 1

 

Help! Thailand at the risk of becoming a failed state with a civil war

 

Photo: Participants in TAHR’s recent academic seminar on “Thailand’s Future & ICC/CICC” taken on January 26, 2014, Bellflower, CA

 

Thai Alliance for Human Rights (TAHR)
1268 Grant Avenue, 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94133   Website: http://thai-ahr.org
Email: [email protected]   Phone:  (323) 306-4406

Subject:  Help! Thailand at the risk of becoming a failed state with a civil war

Attention: International Friends of Thailand, Governments, Ambassadors, and Human Rights Defenders:

The Thai Alliance for Human Rights, which is a non-governmental, non-profit, and politically non-partisan organization registered with the State of California, U.S.A. on June 28, 2012, condemns all forms of violence, undemocratic acts, and violations of the universal human rights in Thailand as a result of its unresolved and worsening political conflicts that began before the 2006 coup d’etat.  We would like to invite you to consider our statement and join us in pressuring all the rights abusers so that all parties seek open dialogues, adopt non-violent means, respect all universal human rights, and observe all democratic principles.

Before pinpointing who to blame in the extended and escalating political conflicts and violence triggered by the 2006 coup d’etat, let’s consider whether the following description of Thai politics is agreeable.   After the revolution in 1932 to eliminate the absolute monarchy regime and establish democracy, the elites and royalists fought back and managed to take back power from the revolution members and drastically changed the Thai constitution 15 years later so that the Thai monarch would become more revered, untouched, and more powerful.  King Bhumibol, who ascended the throne on May 5, 1950, has endorsed the following coup d’etats:

  1. November 29, 1951: Military overthrows 1949 constitution and reverts to 1932 constitution
  2. September 21, 1957: Sarit Thanarat overthrows Plaek Pibulsongkram
  3. October 20, 1958: Sarit Thanarat overthrows Thanom Kittikachorn
  4. November 18, 1971: Thanom Kittikachorn overthrows his own parliament
  5. October 6, 1976: Sangad Chaloryu overthrows Seni Pramoj
  6. October 20, 1977: Kriangsak Chomanan overthrows Tanin Kraivixien
  7. February 24, 1991: Sunthorn Kongsompong overthrows Chatichai Choonhavan
  8. September 19, 2006: Sonthi Boonyaratglin overthrows Thaksin Shinawatra

 

Since the 1950 coronation, Thailand has sadly witnessed the following massacres:

Name/Date/ Location/ Deaths/ Injuries

1973 Thai student uprising
October 14, 1973
Bangkok
77 deaths
Over 800 injuries

Thammasat University massacre
October 6, 1976
Bangkok
46 deaths
147 injuries

Black May (1992)
May 17, 1992
Bangkok
52 deaths
Hundreds of injuries (plus  many disappearances,and over 3,500 arrests)

Krue Se incident
April 28, 2004
Pattani Province
32 deaths (Excessive use of power made in contradiction of orders from the Minister of Defense!)

 

Tak Bai incident
October 25, 2004,
Tak Bai, Narathiwat
85 deaths

2010 Thai military crackdown
April to May 2010,
Bangkok
100 deaths2000+ injuries

After each of these massacres, victims did not find their justices, and royal amnesty was usually granted.  And interestingly, after all these political incidents and violent episodes, royally trusted figures rose to power, and the amended or rewritten constitutions became less democratic, increasing the monarch’s strength and creating elements that hinder democratic progress.  Through these manipulative and structurally subtle developments, however, Thais have been made to believe they are ruled under “democracy”; so, they have also learned to adopt words associated with democracy, such as voting rights, people’s power, elections, distribution of wealth, people as recipients of national benefits, and so on.

What we see now and during the past eight years may be summed up as a class struggle or the clash between the status quo, or the royalists and elites’ attempt to enforce their cleverly established and monarchy-centered elements of authorities and the democratic citizens who challenge the status quo.  The Thaksin Shinawatra’s phenomenon only proves that the latter know their power, too, and they have elected the party that promises and delivers the most benefits and hope.  Because Thaksin became the most powerful threat to the status quo in the last decade as the political parties under his directorship (two were dissolved and the Peua Thai Party is now under threat) won popular votes from the grassroots despite all the odds presented by the royalist and elitist forces.  Thaksin’s supporters, the Redshirts, may have been inspired by his charisma and ability to deliver the promised benefits, but, having realized that the forces ganging up against the Thaksin camp are the conservative royalists and minority elites trying to monopolize “democratic” power and keep the wealth among them, truly democratic citizens now demand only democratic means and reject the opposite.  Now is when the two poles are colliding.

The Thai status quo has used all its collaborative elements, namely the classically woven loyalty to the monarch, the influential Privy Council members, palace-connected armies, the royalist and conservative political party- the Democrat, the royalist government officials, palace-allied business giants, royalist citizens, and now the judicial bodies added to the 1997 constitution and further empowered in the 2007 constitution.   What is happening now is already acknowledged by many Thais and some internal media as a “silenced coup” orchestrated by the elements above.  After the army coup d’etat in 2006 that resulted in an appointed royal government, the Constitutional Court and other “independent” judicial bodies have lavishly exercised their authorities.  Resisting political parties have been dissolved while the Democrat Party, even with evident proofs of guilt, has been well guarded.  When the Redshirts rose up against the “undemocratically” powered government of Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva in 2009 and 2010, the royal armies closely connected to the royal family were employed to brutally murder unarmed protesters on the ground that they had to use firearms because “men in black” had attacked them.  After losing the subsequent election in 2011, the Democrat as a main opposition party has done virtually everything inside the parliament to stop any attempt by the Yingluck government and the parliament to amend the undemocratic elements in the 2007 constitution and to deliver the promised policies to the people.  The goal of the status quo has been clear since 2011– that the Yingluck government must be stopped before it could implement all the plans to modernize the country and to successfully carry out its populous projects.  Thus, the Democrat’s actions of creating dilemmas in the parliament, destroying the legitimacy of the Yingluck administration and the parliament, and resigning to force an end to the parliament were just the beginning.  The Democrat Party taking the agendas further to the street under the name the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) should not be regarded as single plot of its own without orchestrated efforts by its allies under many names but with familiar faces.

Why did the Yingluck government have to resolve the parliament?  Surely, it did so partly to avoid violence and because it believed it could win the resulted election.  Perhaps, the PDRC had some legitimate ground for its protest, especially the rather selfish blanket amnesty bill and some corruption allegations. However, the government decided to withdraw the bill, and the allegations have not yet been properly investigated.  Of course, the announced PDRC goal of parliament dissolution or Yingluck resignation was just a game.  It appeared later that PDRC wanted to get rid of the Thaksin regime, the Shinawatra, and election scheme under which the Democrat Party can never win.  Its goals marry perfectly with the status quo’s non- negotiable plot.  To make the long story short, the PDRC is an important tool of the status quo, and therefore it must be protected, immunized from all harms, and facilitated by the royalist allies.

If you agree that the above observation or description is at least somewhat true, you may be able to understand why the following illegal, undemocratic, and rights abusive acts are possible in Thailand:

– PDRC and other allied protesters under several names have completed their actions qualified as “rebels” according to Article 68 of the 2007 constitution, but the Constitution Court has ruled that their acts are peaceful and rightful. The police have not been able to arrest Mr. Suthep Thaugsuban and core leaders despite many hard proofs for about three months now.

– PDRC guards have been found to be armed and intoxicated people with criminal histories and army officers affiliated with units involved in the 2010 massacres.  Many video clips have shown their rights abusive acts against other civilians, such as verbally harassing, searching bodies, beating, destroying governmental and private properties, shooting, and many more resulting in serious injuries and an increasing number of deaths.  In spite of these acts, the Thai police have been ordered not to use any weapon while on duty!  The royal Thai army officers in power now, also royal guards, have been trying to protect the PDRC leaders from being arrested by the Thai police.

– PDRC leaders have on many occasions used hate speeches eliciting violent acts by its supporters, unfair or unsubstantiated accusations, insulting and rude words, dehumanizing and demonizing terms, and many abusive tactics on stages.  However, they are clever enough to show the images of good-looking, fun-loving, kind and generous protesters to the domestic and international media while their guards have done so many nasty, illegal, and rights abusive things elsewhere.

– PDRC members want to avoid an election under the same scheme according to the 2007 constitution, again, under which they cannot win.  They want to reform some things unclear before the next election.  At least we can understand that they want to change some rules so that they could somehow win an election.  Other reform schemes are vague as to who to do it, how they can be legitimately selected, what to reform, which legal grounds support the move, and so on.  Therefore, PDRC has failed to elicit support from Thai citizens, resulting in efforts to shut down Bangkok and to use violence so as to pave the way for another military coup instead of an election that would legitimize the return of the Yingluck government.  Given also that the Democrat Party has decided to boycott the scheduled February 2nd election whose timing is dictated by the 2007 constitution, which means that the Democrat Party will not have participated in two elections within eight years and will be subject to an automatic dissolution, the PDRC has to take more abusive and violent actions to stop or nullify the February 2nd election.  Therefore, we have seen the PDRC members abusing the rights of the people during the January 26th early election by blocking gates to election booths, using whistles to irritate voters, physically pressuring and threatening registered voters, beating, harming, shooting, and forcing election officials to abandon duties.

The Thai Alliance for Human Rights has been worried about the predicted, and now seemingly inevitable, political clash in the form of fatally violent confrontations in the face of a failed state and even a resulted civil war.  We do not side with any group, but we believe that all parties in Thailand must respect the principles of democracy, maintain the rule of law, adopt non-violence means, seek open dialogues, and importantly respect the universal basic rights.  We have written a letter to involved parties in Thailand in December 2013, but things have not improved.  We are now compiling a soon coming list of the people who take important roles in acts that violate the universal human rights at http://thai-ahr.org/rightsabusers/.  These people, if you agree that the proofs are sufficient, should not be welcomed to civilized countries where human rights are strictly observed.  At least denying a visa to rights abusers may be instructive to them and many others who may think they can still get by easily because of the privileges and power they enjoy in their home country.   At this juncture, Thailand is at the brink of becoming a failed state and subsequent civil war.  If you have been to Thailand, you should probably know very well of its potential value to the world.  Please help us pressure all concerned parties so that they pursue peace, democracy, and respect for human rights using only democratic and constructive means. Importantly, Thais must return to the election booths and use this part of the democratic elements as a temporary solution before dialogues, reform efforts, and other civil acts can ensue on the path away from tragedies.  We urge you to do what you can now to help Thailand.

Thank you for your kind attention and further actions.

Sincerely yours,

Thai Alliance for Human Rights

Endorsed by the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors on January 31, 2014.