World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Thailand: Threats Against Human Rights Defenders

News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International

AI INDEX: ASA 39/007/2004 17 May 2004

Thailand: Threats against human rights defenders

Amnesty International is concerned by anonymous death threats received by several human rights defenders, including academics and two National Human Rights Commissioners, in the wake of ongoing violence in Thailand's far south. The organization is also calling on the Thai Government to initiate independent investigations into recent serious human rights violations, including "disappearances", possible extrajudicial killings and torture, allegedly committed by the security forces in the context of the violence.

"A number of people who are investigating and publicly reporting on the violence in the South have received threats via telephone, email and the post. In order to protect them the Thai Government should clearly state that threats against people who are carrying out legitimate human rights work will not be tolerated." Amnesty International said today.

Violence in the four Muslim-dominated southern provinces escalated on 28 April when groups of men armed with machetes and some guns attacked 10 police bases and checkpoints, killing five members of the Thai security forces. Over 100 of the suspected assailants were reportedly killed by the security forces and several people were arrested during the violence.

Prior to the 28 April attack, there were reliable reports of "disappearances" and torture of Muslims during the 2004 upsurge of violence in the far south. Human rights defenders have raised concerns about such allegations, as well as possible disproportionate lethal force used by security forces to quell the 28 April attacks.

Vasant Phanich, a prominent human rights lawyer and National Human Rights Commissioner, received a written death threat on 8 May from an anonymous source at his private residence. Several days earlier, he had returned from southern Thailand, where he was conducting an investigation into the recent violence there in his capacity as Human Rights Commissioner. He had also expressed concerns publicly about human rights violations in the context of the violence.

Jaran Dittha-apichai, another National Human Rights Commissioner investigating and reporting on the situation, has received hundreds of emails, some of which threatened him with abduction and death. He also received threatening telephone calls at his home. In a similar pattern, academics in the far south have received threatening letters.

On 30 April Amnesty International's Secretary General wrote to Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, expressing concern that the security forces' response to the 28 April violence may have been disproportionate to the threat posed by the attackers. She also urged the Thai Government to initiate an independent investigation and to ensure that those arrested in the context of the violence had immediate access to legal counsel, their families, and proper medical care.

The authorities have initiated a fact-finding investigation into one of the incidents, the security forces' storming of Krue Se Mosque when over 30 suspects were killed on 28 April. However, as other serious human rights violations reportedly occurred in other locations on that day, it is incumbent on the government to initiate an independent investigation into all of the allegations.

Background

In January 2004 violence escalated in four predominantly Muslim provinces in southern Thailand, when armed groups attacked government facilities, including police stations, schools, and army bases. The government enforced martial law and scores of people have been arrested. Some have reportedly been tortured and "disappeared".

A Muslim human rights lawyer, Somchai Neelapaijit, was apparently abducted on 12 March 2004 by people suspected of being members of the police. He had received anonymous death threats prior to his "disappearance" and had been providing legal assistance to Muslims who were arrested for alleged involvement in Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), an Islamist group in Southeast Asia. He is still missing. At the time Amnesty International appealed to the Thai Government to initiate an independent, impartial, prompt, and effective investigation into Somchai Neelapaijit's "disappearance".

"Amnesty International's concern about threats against human rights defenders in Thailand is heightened by the 12 March "disappearance" of a prominent Muslim human rights lawyer. In spite of widespread appeals, he is still missing and feared dead," the organization said today.

Thailand's anti-drug policy should not be killing people - Take action! Visit http://amnesty-news.c.topica.com/maacf4gaa6Wrvbb0hPub/

View all documents on Thailand at http://amnesty-news.c.topica.com/maacf4gaa6Wrwbb0hPub/

******************

You may repost this message onto other sources provided the main text is not altered in any way and both the header crediting Amnesty International and this footer remain intact.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>

ALSO:

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news