Suppression of public launch of the report on situation of human rights one year after the coup in Thailand

The Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) plans to launch a report on the situation of human rights one year after the coup in Thailand on 4 June 2015, 18.00, at the Foreign Correspondent Club of Thailand (FCCT). But today (4 June) around noontime, TLHR was informed by the FCCT that the police had approached them asking them to refrain from allowing the event to take place at their venue.

TLHR deems the intervention a blatant suppression, an attempt to prevent the exercise of the right to freedom of expression, and a breach to Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which guarantees the right of a person to express one’s opinion without interference and the right to freedom of expression as well as the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds.

Such right to freedom of expression is a fundamental right ingrained in a genuine democratic system. The interference simply reinforces the gross human rights violation in Thailand under the whim of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) whereby government officials hold sweeping power to deny people the right to freedom of expression. It has simply given rise to the climate of clear as people are often threatened with draconian and harsh actions from the authorities. In addition, the use of military justice has deepened the fear since such justice process lacks independence and impartiality. 

TLHR reiterates that such interference which has been perpetuated in the past one year including attempts to censor and intervene at least 71 public events is tantamount to gross human rights violation. It will never help to solve the conflicts and will never pave the way for democratization in a long run.