Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
Thailand is a constitutional monarchy, where the king serves as head of state and has traditionally exerted political influence. In May 2014, military and police leaders, taking the name of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) led by General Prayuth Chan-o-cha, overthrew the interim government led by the Pheu Thai political party. The NCPO replaced the 2007 Constitution with an interim constitution. The NCPO has maintained control over the security forces and all government institutions since the coup.
On 27 April 2016, Ms. Sirikan (“June”) Charoensiri, a lawyer at Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, received a summons to report to the public prosecutor at the Office of Special Prosecutor at Subdistrict 3 Court (Dusit) in Bangkok on 12 May 2016 at 10.00.
Saturday, 30 April 2016, was the fifth anniversary of the imprisonment of Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, a long-time labour rights activist and human rights defender. On 30 April 2011, Somyot was arrested on allegations of violating Article 112 of the Criminal Code. He was held for six months of pre-trial detention and then hearings in his case were held between 12 November 2011 and 3 May 2012.
On 26 January 2016, the Prime Minister, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, wrote a letter to the Chairperson of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) regarding the draft Act on Trafficking in Persons Procedure Code. He wrote about the rationale and provided a summary of the main issues, and urged the NLA to give priority to the Bill.
On 11 February 2016 the Thai army threatened human rights defenders for documenting the military’s continued use of torture on detainees in the country’s south. Major General Banpot Poonpien, the spokesperson for a specialist counterinsurgency agency, the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC), accused the human rights groups of fabricating accounts of torture to obtain funding from abroad. He also asked whether or not the groups had the mandate to investigate the work of state officers.
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has over the past 15 years documented close to 3,000 cases of torture from Asia.
June 26 is observed as the International Day in support of the victims of torture. Unfortunately, in Thailand, the day will be eclipsed by the military regime that is in power since May 2014, when it overthrew the last elected government. The National Council for Peace and Order that is in power is military machinery. It has, since inception, actively engaged in purging voices of political as well as academic dissent on the military coup. Practice of torture is widespread in Thailand.
Photo from Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
Since 10 March 2015, the Burmese government has detained 70 students and their supporters in Tharawaddy Prison. Out of the 127 students arrested and detained, 70 are still being held in detention. These arrests were part of a crackdown to quash the student protest march against the National Education Law that was passed on 30 September 2014. Out of the students arrested, 27 were released without charge and 30 students were released on bail.
A bomb exploded inside the compound of the Bangkok Criminal Court on 7 March 2015 and nine suspects have been arrested so far. Today, 17 March 2015, the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) has received complaints from four of the suspects in this case including Mr. Sansern Sriounruen, Mr. Chanwit Chariyanukul, Mr. Norapat Luephon, and Mr. Wichai Yusuk.