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

 


Thailand: Judicial Harassment of Human Rights Defender

Thailand: Judicial Harassment of Human Rights Defender

We, the undersigned civil society groups, are gravely concerned about the criminal legal action taken for defamation and libel against the Cross Cultural Foundation, headed by Ms. Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, by the Army’s Task Force 41. Ms. Pornpen, Director of the Cross Cultural Foundation – an organization which monitors and documents cases of torture and ill-treatment in Thailand – received a police warrant on Sunday 24th August 2014. The Thai Royal Police warrant is dated from 8th August. Major General Leekit Katchodnok, acting on behalf of the Army’s Task Force 41, filed a legal suit against Ms. Pornpen for libel and defamation. The army accuses the Cross Cultural Foundation for damaging the reputation of the army by publishing an open letter exposing a claim to torture. According to the warrant Ms. Pornpen must present herself at the Yala Police Station, in southern Thailand, on August 25th.

Ms. Pornpen is a leading Human Rights Defender in Thailand who has been involved in various Human Rights issues both in Thailand and the region, including women’s rights, indigenous rights and preventing forced disappearances. Her work serves the public interest by ensuring that authorities are held accountable and pressuring authorities to unconditionally respect the Human Rights of all. As Director of the Cross Cultural Foundation, Ms. Pornpen has constantly been monitoring and documenting cases of torture and Human Rights violations in Thailand’s southernmost provinces.

We deem the army’s action to be an unreasonable, arbitrary and heavy handed attempt to silence all torture complaints against authorities. By quashing Ms. Pornpen’s efforts to support torture victims to publicly complain about Human Rights violations by authorities, the army is seeking to make it more than impossible for torture victims to voice their complaints. Moreover, this is a deplorable act by the army as it aims to further intimidate existing and potential victims of human rights violations to not report these violations. Instead of suppressing the work of Human Rights Defenders, such as Ms. Pornpen, the army should investigate all torture complaints and take all necessary measures to resolve the problem of continuing Human Rights violations.

This judicial harassment constitutes a direct infringement of Ms. Pornpen’s right to work as a leading Human Rights Defender in Thailand. As stated in Article 1 of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders “Everyone has the right to (individually and in association with others) promote and to strive for the realization of Human Rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international level.” We believe that the filing of this criminal legal case against Ms. Pornpen was undertaken with the purpose of intimidation and that it is in response to Ms. Pornpen’s peaceful and legitimate activities to hold authorities to account for cases of Human Rights violations, including torture, in southern Thailand.

We call on the army to:

• Immediately and unconditionally withdraw the legal action against Ms. Pornpen. Such legal action against the legitimate work of Human Rights Defenders is against the public interest.

We call on the government to:

• Respect the universally recognized rights, duties and obligations of everyone and organizations to highlight information about Human Rights violations and injustices to the public, as is stated in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders;

• Ensure that all persons affected by torture and other human rights violations, including the right to complain which must be respected at all times, receive justice.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

MSF: Ebola Crisis Update - 16th October 2014

16 October 2014 Cases Deaths Guinea 1,472 843 Liberia 4,249 2,458 Nigeria 20 8 Sierra Leone 3,252 1,183 Senegal 1 0 Total 8,994 4,492 WHO Figures - Data are based on official information reported by Ministries of Health. These numbers are subject to change ... More>>

ALSO:

Detroit: City-Backed Water Shut-Offs Contrary To Human Rights

20 October 2014 – The city of Detroit must restore access to water for its citizens who remain unable to pay their bills, two United Nations experts urged today, adding that a failure to do so would be a violation of the most basic human rights of those ... More>>

ALSO:

DR Congo: Head Of UN Mission Condemns Deadly Rebel Attacks

A MONUSCO APC is greeted by FARDC soldiers on their way back from the front line in the Beni region of the DRC where the UN is backing the FARDC in an operation against ADF militia. Photo: MONUSCO/Sylvain Liechti More>>

UNESCO Chief Denounces Killing Of Cambodian Journalist

17 October 2014 – The head of the United Nations agency tasked with defending press freedom today denounced the killing of a Cambodian reporter shot while investigating illegal logging in the eastern part of the country. More>>


UN Lauds Role Of Family Farmers In Ending Global Hunger

A farmer at work in a dragon fruit field in Viet Nam (July 2013). Photo: FAO/Hoang Dinh Nam | See more photos More>>


Funding Gap Looms Amid Efforts To Tackle Ebola & ISIS

Funding Gap Looms Amid Efforts to Tackle ‘Twin Plagues’ Ebola, ISIL, Warns UN Rights Chief More>>

ALSO:

  • The White House - Ebola: What You Need to Know

  • Egypt Sentences Another Al Jazeera Journalist

    In another disturbing move against freedom of speech and independent journalism in Egypt, one of Al Jazeera Arabic channel’s presenters, Ahmed Mansour, has been sentenced in absentia to fifteen years imprisonment by Cairo’s criminal court on the absurd ... More>>

    ISIL Advance On Iraqi Town Unleash New Flood Of Displacement

    Syrian Kurds from the town of Kobane seeking shelter in Iraq's Kurdistan region. Photo: UNHCR/D. Nahr More>>

    ALSO:

  • U.S. Department of State - U.S. Condemns ISIL Attacks in Iraq

  • Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
    World
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news