Thailand: Isan activists harassed by military after signing statement denouncing coupEvent
- Initial Date
- Nov 4, 2014
- Event Description
Only two days after North East-based NGOs and activists issued a courageous statement denouncing the military government, the military on Tuesday November 4th summoned and briefly detained the statement signatories. According to the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), the individual signatories have been summoned via telephone to meet the military at military camps in various provinces in the region. In some cases, fully armed military officers raided their houses of some and took the persons to the military camps. On Tuesday, two persons were interrogated by the military at Prajak Silpakorn Camp in Udon Thani. During the interrogation, the military officials asked about their motives in issuing the statement. Upon their release, they were forced to sign a document indicating their obligation to immediately present themselves to the authorities once summoned. Other individuals in other provinces including Mahasarakham and Khon Kaen may present themselves and meet the military authorities as summoned later, the TLHR reported in its statement issued on Wednesday. In the statement, "No Reform under the Boot of the Military,' jointly issued on Sunday by 12 human rights, environmental, and community rights organizations based in the North East, such as the Human Rights and Peace Information Centre and Isan Human Rights Media, it denounced the legitimacy of the junta's cabinet led by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, and his apparatus in governing and reforming the country because those apparatus are not connected with the people and human rights violations, especially the censorship are all over the place. The groups also condemned the military government for collaborating with investors, while it uses the martial law to silence people. The first group of the signatories comprised 12 NGOs and 17 individuals. On the TLHR's statement issued on Wednesday, the lawyers expressed concerns as follows: 1. The issuance of the public statement is simply an exercise of the right to freedom of expression guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which provides that everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference and Thailand is obliged to observe it. That the military officials summoned the individuals to meet simply because their issuance of the statement shall inevitably inflict the climate of fear in public and is in itself an act to stifle the right to freedom of expression. 2. Even though Thailand is ruled under Martial which authorizes military officials to hold a person in custody not more than seven days, but the exercise of such power is only possible only to when there is a reasonable ground to suspect that any person is the enemy or violates the provisions of this Act or the order of the military authority. The law does not provide a blank cheque for the military officials to act arbitrarily as it has happened thus far. 3. The act of the military officials simply reiterates that the points raised in the statement by the 12 civil society organizations that under military coup rule, it is impossible for people to hold the state accountable for their policies, laws or any development projects, since even a criticism made in good faith is not allowed. TLHR also demands that the military should stop suppressing the exercise of the right to freedom of expression of the individuals and other groups and repeal Martial Law countrywide as well as observe the rule of law in their governing of the country. Reform shall not take place without an effort to listen to opinions from all parties and without the enforcement of law equally among all people.
- Impact of Event
- (Arbitrary) Arrest and Detention
- Intimidation and Threats
- Reprisal as Result of Communication
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On the 4th November 2014, members of North-East based NGOs were summoned and briefly detained by the military. The military action was in response to the issuing of a statement by the NGOs denouncing the military government. During the interrogation of two activists, the military officials asked about their motives in issuing the statement. Upon their release, they were forced to sign a document indicating their obligation to immediately present themselves to the authorities once summoned.