Human rights organizations urge Thai junta to drop charges against student activists

Thai and foreign human rights organizations issued statements, urging the junta to drop all charges against Dao Din, the anti-coup student activists from northeastern province of Khon Kaen.

On Monday, the Human Rights Lawyers Association (HRLA) and the Union of Civil Liberty (UCL) issued statements on the judicial harassment against  on 19 June which 3 students of the Dao Din, an anti-coup student activist group based in Khon Kaen, were arrested and detained for drawing paintings.

The HRLA and the UCL stated that the students’ action was their fundamental rights which is upheld by the constitution and the international agreements on human rights. They should be allowed to peacefully express their opinion. The legal proceeding against them will not be beneficial for the public.

The statement also urge the state-officials to reconsider the use of power granted by the junta’s order. According to the principle of legal state and good governance, the state officials should consider whether the enforcement of power violates the rights to bodily integrity and liberty of the citizen.  If it does, there should be an investigation and remedy measures for the affected party, and the punishment upon the abusers.

The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), a Bangkok-based regional human rights group, denounced the crackdown on peaceful political activity of the student activists on 22 May in Khon Kaen. The FORUM-ASIA stated that the assembly was guaranteed by Article 4 of the Interim Constitution of Thailand and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in which Thailand is a signatory.

Evelyn Balais-Serrano, Executive Director of FORUM-ASIA, said that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) should drop all charges against the student activists to ensure that the NCPO respected the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Thai Constitution and international human rights standards.

“The government should open up space for different opinions and expressions as a genuine democracy cannot be driven by force or suppression. It must be build on the will of the Thai people.” Balais-Serrano said.

Meanwhile, the Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) said the arrest of 3 Dao Din students on 19 June was “arbitrary and over-reactionary”.  The CrCF urged the NCPO to stop intimidating and monitoring the Dao Din group and their parents, as well as other students who carry out their activities peacefully. They also urge the NCPO to stop restricting the right to peaceful and nonviolent expression and assembly, revoke the warrants and charges against the seven students from Dao Din group and nine other students from Bangkok and stop trying civilians in military court.

Read the full statement: