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Amnesty International slams Thailand’s human rights record

PHOTO: AP/Sakchai Lalit

Amnesty International claims Thailand’s human rights record remains “dismal”, as it urged the government to drop all charges against child protesters.

In a report titled, The State of the World’s Human Rights: April 2024, the organisation says that despite a change of government, the rights of Thai children continue to be eroded, in particular for those who participated in anti-government protests.

Nation Thailand reports that Amnesty’s report is a review of human rights issues in 155 countries during 2023. The report accuses the Thai government of using criminalisation, surveillance, and intimidation to quash student protests and suppress dissent.

During the launch of the report, Piyanuch Kotsan, director of Amnesty International Thailand, called for all criminal charges against child protesters to be dropped.

“Amnesty urges the Thai government to drop all criminal proceedings against child protesters charged with participating in peaceful assemblies or for the exercise of their rights to freedom of expression.”

Meanwhile, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights say that since 2020, when protests against the then government started, 286 of the 1,938 people charged are children.

Many have been charged under an emergency decree that banned public gatherings (against the background of the Covid-19 pandemic), or for sedition, or violation of Thailand’s lèse-majesté law, which bans criticism of the monarchy or members of Thailand’s royal family.

One of those charged and imprisoned for 51 days was 15 year old Thanalop Phalanchai, aka “Yok”. She was jailed for taking part in a 2022 protest during which she called for the lèse-majesté law to be repealed.

Piyanuch says that despite the end of military rule, Thailand’s human rights situation remains a significant concern. Amnesty is calling on the Pheu Thai government to adopt a consistent approach to the protection of children’s rights as they engage in peaceful public gatherings.

Nation Thailand reports that last year, PM Srettha Thavisin addressed the UN General Assembly in the US, pledging to advance equality and justice in Thailand, in terms of human rights, human dignity, and freedom of speech.

“We plan to strengthen the rule of law and increase transparency within the government. We will ensure that the law is fair, strictly enforced, and applied to everyone equally.”

The Thai government is currently bidding – for the third time – for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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