Amnesty International (AI)
Since seizing power in a 2014 coup, Thailand’s military authorities have allowed a culture of torture and other ill-treatment to flourish across the country, with soldiers and policemen targeting suspected insurgents, political opponents, and individuals from the most vulnerable sections of society, a new report by Amnesty International said today.
When the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) announced the “3 part road map” in June 2014, it indicated that restrictions on rights put in place following the 22 May 2014 coup would be temporary. In the immediate aftermath of the coup, and on several occasions since, Amnesty International has raised concerns that - even as temporary measures - many of these restrictions amount to human rights violations and as such are unacceptable.
Civil society groups have urged lawmakers not to pass the new Computer Crime Bill, as it further violates the rights to freedom of expression and to privacy. Representatives from the Thai Netizen Network (TNN), an internet freedom advocacy group, on Thursday, 6 July 2016, submitted a petition to Peerasak Porjit, Deputy President of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), urging the authorities to halt the process to pass the amended version of the Computer Crime Act.
Amnesty International has today issued a worldwide Urgent Action appeal for Somchai Homla-or, Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, and Anchana Heemmina, who have been charged by the Thai military with criminal defamation and violations of the Computer Crimes Act. On 21 June 2016, Amnesty International headquarters in London issued an appeal to its members worldwide to write to the Thai authorities calling for them to immediately and unconditionally drop charges against Somchai Homla-or, Pornpen Khongka
The Thai authorities must reverse their decision to charge three prominent human rights defenders with criminal defamation and computer crimes for documenting and publishing details of human rights violations in the country, Amnesty International said today. “Instead of using broad and vague laws to target human rights defenders, the Thai authorities should be following up on the reports of alleged torture and other ill-treatment, with a view to holding those responsible accountable,” said Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty International’s Director of Global Issues.
Eight persons linked to a satirical Facebook community page were charged with sedition and computer crimes on 28 April. They are scheduled to appear in a military court on 3 July.
In light of recent events where some space has been given by authorities to Thais’ to publicly discuss more controversial topics, Amnesty International’s birthday seemed to follow that trend. In the evening of Friday, 27 May, Amnesty International Thailand held an event, with fun activities and a panel discussion, at Root Garden at Thong Lor to celebrate the 55th year of the international organization.
International rights organisations have expressed concerns that the amendment of the Computer Crime Act might violate the rights to freedom of expression and to privacy. On Thursday, 26 May 2016, Amnesty International, the Thai Netizen Network (TNN) and Privacy International handed a joint statement to Pol Gen Chatchawan Suksomjit, Chair of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) committee vetting the amended version of the Computer Crime Act.