Liberty: Thailand’s beleaguered nonviolent protest movement hope for UN help

Yesterday on Twitter, a Thai activist asked me, if Thais, who see their human rights being trampled by Prayuth’s junta, can lodge case at the United Nation. I reply that I did a research on the issue, and found that “Yes” citizens can petition the United Nations, but the the United Nations to accept the case, is very difficult and the process was very complicated.

However, recently, when a journalist Pravit, was called in to report to Prayuth’s junta, for his activity, Pravit seeked the United Nations help, and indeed, a representative of the UN’s human rights commission, went to observed Pravit’s reporting himself, to Prayuth’s junta.

Canada.com reports (source): Activists protesting last month’s military coup in Thailand face a possible two-year jail term if they get too strident, so on Sunday they found a new way to show their sentiments: handing out “sandwiches for democracy.” A small group of student activists from Bangkok’s Thammasat University had hoped to hold a picnic rally, but they found the park next to their campus sealed off by the authorities. So instead they paraded down a nearby street, handing out sandwiches and cakes to anyone who wanted them. One older man accompanying them shouted to onlookers, “Sandwiches for democracy!”

Canada.com reports: Other anti-coup activists have held silent public readings of symbolic works such as “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” George Orwell’s indictment of totalitarianism. But the intimidation level is high, with the authorities rolling out thousands of troops and police whenever they anticipate a protest. Those charged with breaching the junta’s regulation against stirring up unrest are liable to be tried before a court-martial.

Canada.com reports: The military council that took power May 22 has been the toughest post-coup regime in Thailand in more than four decades, summoning over 300 people perceived as threats to public order — including members of the ousted civilian government, activists and intellectuals — to elicit pledges not to instigate unrest. The most recent of Thailand’s 12 successful coups were in 1976, 1977, 1991 and 2006.

Canada.com reports: Those seen as hotheads are detained without trial for up to a week, in order to give them time to cool off and consider the situation, the army says.

Canada.com reports: The beleaguered nonviolent protest movement suffered a major blow last week when a leading organizer was arrested at his hideout east of Bangkok, and much defiance now takes place online, where protesters encourage each other to post photos of themselves giving a three-finger salute, a symbol of resistance adopted from the popular movie “Hunger Games.” Coup leader Gen. Prayuth Chan-cha said he didn’t have any problem with people making the gesture, though he indicated he considered it un-Thai because it came from a foreign film.

 The following is from:

UN’s Office of Human Rights high commissioner (Source)

“Fundamental rights at stake in Thailand” – UN experts concerned about arbitrary detentions and restrictions

GENEVA (13 June 2014) – “Stability and reconciliation can hardly be achieved in Thailand if human rights guarantees are neglected,” a group of United Nations independent experts* said today, while urging the current authorities to reverse all measures affecting basic rights and to restore democratic rule in the country.

“In moments of political crisis and turbulence, it is crucial to promote the full respect of the rule of law,” the human rights experts stressed.

“The various limitations to fundamental rights put in place since the military assumed control of the country and the Constitution was suspended are deeply disturbing,” they noted. “Reportedly numerous individuals remain arbitrarily detained, and unacceptable restrictions continue to be imposed on freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly.”

Particular concern was expressed with regard to the chilling effects of the summoning by the military of more than 440 individuals, including political leaders, academics, journalists and activists to army bases. Many remain in detention without access to family or lawyer. Some are held incommunicado in unknown locations and may be at risk of torture or ill-treatment.

“Public criticism of authorities and the freedom of the Thai media are negatively affected by various measures, including the ban on political gatherings of more than five persons and the reported closure of a vast number of community radios,” they said.

“Restoring the space for public dialogue is crucial to allow durable solutions to the political impasse affecting Thailand to be forged,” the experts underscored.

The group of experts requested information from the current authorities on multiple allegations of human rights violations they received after the imposition of martial law on 22 May 2014.

“We remain ready to engage in dialogue with the country authorities,” concluded the experts.

(*) The experts: Mr. Mads Andenas, Chair-rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances; Mr. Frank La Rue, Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Mr. Maina Kiai, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association and Mr. Juan E. Méndez, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The United Nations human rights experts are part of what it is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights, is the general name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world.

They are charged by the Human Rights Council to monitor report and advise on human rights issues. Currently, there are 37 thematic mandates and 14 mandates related to countries and territories, with 72 mandate holders. Three new mandates were added in March 2014. The experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity. Log on to:http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/SP/Pages/Welcomepage.aspx

Learn more, visit:
Arbitrary detention: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Detention/Pages/WGADIndex.aspx
Enforced disappearances: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Disappearances/Pages/DisappearancesIndex.aspx
Freedom of expression: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/FreedomOpinion/Pages/OpinionIndex.aspx
Freedom of association:http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/AssemblyAssociation/Pages/SRFreedomAssemblyAssociationIndex.aspx

OHCHR Country Page – Thailand: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/THIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests please contact Marcelo Daher (+41 22 917 9431 / mdaher@ohchr.org)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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