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PSPD    People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy

  • Int. Solidarity
  • 2020.10.23
  • 689

In solidarity with Thailand’s peaceful democracy movement

 

(Jakarta, 22 October 2020) ‒ We, 60 organisations across Asia, stand in solidarity with the peaceful democracy movement in Thailand as it continues to push for fundamental freedoms and democratic reforms, in the midst of government repression.

 

The Government of Thailand should abide by its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to respect and protect the people’s rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

 

We assert that the ‘State of Severe Emergency,’ announced on 15 October 2020 violated international human rights standards, and failed to meet the principles of legality, necessity, proportionality.[1]

 

We condemn the use of the ‘national security’ narrative to block these peaceful protests, as well as the attempts to portray the movement and its leaders as a threat to national security and to the stability of the nation.

 

We further condemn the use of police violence, including the use of water cannons on 16 October 2020 against peaceful protesters, which included high school and university students.[2]  This fails to meet OHCHR’s guidance which states that water cannons are advisable for use only for situations ‘of serious public order where there is a significant likelihood of loss of life, serious injury or the widespread destruction of property.’[3]

 

The continuous arrests and the use of judicial harassment against human rights defenders are unjustifiable, and serve no other purpose than to instil fear and to promote reprisals against the movement. The arrested protesters and its leaders should be immediately unconditionally released

 

We likewise condemn the use of intimidation and reprisals against social media users who have ’checked-in’ at protests sites, taken selfies, or posted about the protests on social media. On 19 October 2020, the Minister of Digital Information announced that they will investigate more than 300,000 URLs of social media accounts that have allegedly violated the Emergency Decree.[4]

 

We are also gravely concerned about efforts to have media organisations Prachatai, the Standard, The Reporters, and Voice TV investigated for their reporting of the protests, as well as efforts to prevent them from reporting these events.[5] The role of journalism remains ever crucial in these times, and the government has the obligation to protect media freedom and independence. The right to access information is integral in the fulfilment of the people’s right to freedom of expression.

 

We recognise that these tactics are also being used by other governments in the region to stifle social movements. These tactics violate international human rights standards, and have no role in any fair and just society. 

 

We call on the Government of Thailand to commit to the respect and protection of freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly. We urge the government to:

 

  • Refrain from any further use or announcement of orders and policies including under the Emergency Decree to hinder people’s ability to exercise their fundamental rights;
  • Immediately and unconditionally release all arrested Human Rights Defenders and protesters, drop all charges against them, and refrain from any further arrests, threats or intimidation;
  • End the use of police violence against protesters;
  • Respect the rights of children and youth to safely and peacefully express their opinions on issues that affect them;
  • Review or repeal draconian offences under the Criminal Code such as defamation and sedition, which have been used as tools of fear and reprisal;
  • Respect and support media independence and freedom, including through allowing local and international journalists to operate, without any interference or reprisals; and
  • Take genuine steps to address the structural violations being raised by the democracy movement.

 

We call on the international community to stand in solidarity with Thailand’s democracy movement, and all our social movements in Asia in our pursuit of government accountability and the protection of human rights.  

 

Signatories:

 

1.       Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

2.       Action Committee for Democracy Development, Myanmar

3.       Another Alternative, Myanmar

4.       ASEAN SOGIE Caucus

5.       ASEAN Youth Forum

6.       Association for Law, Human Rights and Justice (HAK), Timor-Leste

7.       Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), India Administered Jammu and Kashmir

8.       Association of Women for Awareness & Motivation (AWAM), Pakistan

9.       Athan, Myanmar

10.   BALAOD Mindanaw, the Philippines

11.   Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), India

12.   Bir Duino, Kyrgyzstan

13.   Bytes For All, Pakistan

14.   Center for Communication and Development Studies (CCDS), India

15.   Centre for the Sustainable Use of Natural and Social Resources (CSNR), India

16.   Child Rights Coalition Asia (CRC Asia)

17.   Dalit Foundation, India

18.   Dignity-Kadyr-kassiyet (Public Association Dignity), Kazakhstan

19.   Equality Myanmar, Myanmar

20.   Future Light Center, Myanmar

21.   Generation Wave, Myanmar

22.   Genuine People's Servants, Myanmar

23.   Human Rights Defenders and Promoters Association, Myanmar

24.   Human Rights Foundation of Monland, Myanmar

25.   Human Rights Working Group (HRWG), Indonesia

26.   iDefend, the Philippines

27.   Indonesia Human rights Monitor (Imparsial), Indonesia

28.   Indonesia Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI), Indonesia

29.   Indonesia Legal Aid Foundation - Yayasan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Indonesia (YLBHI), Indonesia

30.   Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM), Indonesia

31.   International Legal Initiative Public Foundation (ILI Foundation), Kazakhstan

32.   Karapatan Alliance Philippines, the Philippines 

33.   Karenni Human Rights Group, Myanmar

34.   KontraS (Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence), Indonesia

35.   Korean House for International Solidarity (KHIS), South Korea

36.   Loka Ahlinn, Myanmar

37.   Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN), the Maldives

38.   Myanmar Cultural Research Society (MCRS), Myanmar

39.   Myanmar People Alliance (Shan State), Myanmar

40.   National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP), Pakistan

41.   Nyan Lynn Thit Analytica, Myanmar

42.   Odhikar, Bangladesh

43.   Paung Ku, Myanmar

44.   People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR), India

45.   People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), South Korea

46.   Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism and Active Vista (DAKILA), the Philippines

47.   Philippines Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), the Philippines

48.   Progressive Voice, Myanmar

49.   Psychological Responsiveness NGO, Mongolia

50.   Pusat KOMAS, Malaysia

51.   Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU), Bangladesh

52.   Strengthening Human Rights and Peace Education in ASEAN/Southeast Asia (SHAPE-SEA)

53.   Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM), Malaysia

54.   Synergy (Social Harmony Organization), Myanmar

55.   Taiwan Association for Human Rights (TAHR), Taiwan

56.   The Alliance of Independent Journalists Indonesia (AJI), Indonesia

57.   Think Centre, Singapore

58.   Women Peace Network, Myanmar

59.   Women’s Rehabilitation Centre (WOREC), Nepal

60.   Yayasan Sekretariat Anak Merdeka Indonesia (SAMIN), Indonesia


[1] https://www.forum-asia.org/?p=33176

[2] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-54573349

[3] https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/CCPR/LLW_Guidance.pdf

[4] https://www.khaosodenglish.com/politics/2020/10/19/govt-orders-censorship-of-4-media-sites-reports-say/

[5] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/10/19/police-in-thailand-to-investigate-media-over-protests-coverage

 

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