Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Open Letter to UK Foreign Secretary on the Illegitimate Use of Force Against Peaceful Protestors in Thailand

As a signatory of the International Covenant on Civil and Political (ICCPR), Thailand is obligated to uphold the principles enshrined in the ICCPR. Those include the right to peaceful assembly under Article 21, the right to hold opinions without interference under Article 19, and the freedom of association under Article 22. The Thai government has failed to uphold these obligations. Hence, we ask that you stand with us in upholding the principles of free human beings with civil and political freedom and the obligation to promote universal respect for human rights. We urge that you condemn the illegitimate force used against peaceful protestors in Thailand and call on the Thai authorities to heed the demand of protestors and respect human rights. 

The Thai authorities have been carrying out a brutal crackdown on peaceful protestors in Thailand. The excessive force used by the Thai authorities has occurred prior to the 16th of October 2020, but that day saw a notable escalation, as seen by the deployment of water cannons, tear gas and threats to use rubber bullets against peaceful protestors. These actions undermine the right to protest and expression of Thai citizens signifying the deterioration of good governance in Thailand and a refusal to abide by Thailand’s human rights obligations. Thai authorities have continued to exercise undue force on Thai protestors, as seen on the 17th of November 2020. In attempts to disperse the demonstrators in front of the parliamentary building, the use of tear-gas, high-pressured water cannons mixed with irritable chemicals, and rubber bullets were employed. Pro-Monarchy counter-protestors contributed to this assault with rocks, wooden boards, flag poles, and firearms. Yet, only pro-reform protestors have been reprimanded for exercising their basic human rights. These actions have led to an escalation in demonstrations, tensions, and injuries towards various citizens. These include children, adults, elderly people, and medical staff. Moreover, not one pro-monarchy counter-protestor has been charged for crimes of battery, assault, and deadly use of firearms. Those protesting peacefully are doing so because the Thai government has failed them, inequalities are rife in Thailand, and the people demand a brighter future. Many of these protestors are young people in Thailand who want to live in a freer, more democratic, and rights-respecting society. Hence, they are speaking up against the tyranny of the military-controlled government in Thailand. It is our consideration that the United Kingdom shares the same values of respect for democracy and human rights. Hence, the Thailand Human Rights Campaign UK would like to urge you to condemn the actions of Thai authorities and call for them to heed the demands of protestors. 


Thailand Human Rights Campaign 

24 November 2020

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