Amnesty International has had a longstanding presence in Thailand and is committed to continuing to promote and protect human rights for people in the country despite calls for it to be expelled, the organization said on 16 February.
“As a global movement with operations in more than 70 countries and members in 150 countries and territories, no matter where we operate, our job remains the same: to prevent, monitor and hold states, corporations and others accountable for abuses of human rights under international law,” said Kyle Ward, Amnesty International’s Deputy Secretary General.
“We offer constructive recommendations to authorities on steps they can take to uphold their international human rights obligations. We will continue to do this independently and impartially on the basis of facts. In response to the anti-Amnesty campaign and related investigation, we continue to answer any questions the Thai government may have about our work in the country.
“While we recognize that the Royal Thai Government has a duty to protect public order and national security, we continue to highlight that authorities must do so in a manner that is in accordance with international human rights law, and that is proportionate, necessary and fulfils the government’s obligations to ensure and facilitate respect for human rights, including the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
“Amnesty International’s constructive recommendations for authorities to fulfil their human rights obligations derive from internationally agreed human rights standards that Thailand has committed to uphold.
“The anti-Amnesty campaign comes at a time when authorities are separately trying to pass a controversial law regulating non-profit organizations in the country. This NPO law could have severe consequences for all civil society in Thailand, and Amnesty has repeatedly called on the government to withdraw the bill and seek further consultation. The targeting of Amnesty is taking place against a backdrop of a growing intolerance for human rights discourse among Thai authorities.”
In November, a vice minister in the Prime Minister’s office made public calls for Amnesty International to be expelled from Thailand. The official has started an online petition, helped organize calls on social media and staged small protests.
The prime minister responded by announcing an investigation into Amnesty International Thailand on 26 November.
The global Amnesty International movement is made up of the International Secretariat and a network of international members and national membership entities, including Amnesty International Thailand. Whilst Amnesty International Thailand and the International Secretariat are separate legal entities, they work closely together under the same Statute.