Re: Human Rights Violations Against Citizens Dissenting from the NCPO Government
Attn: The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and the military government have continually violated human rights against citizens who dissent from them, using the unlimited power under Article 44 of the 2014 interim Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand and the NCPO Orders 3/2015 and 13/2016.
Over time, political dissenters have faced arrest, abduction and torture while a large number of people, including university students, academics, journalists, social activists and politicians have faced constant threats and harassment in various forms for criticizing the military government and the NCPO. Such forms of harassment include summon people to military camps for “attitude adjustment,” monitor people’s daily lives, threaten people’s relatives and family members, and put pressure on agencies or organizations people work for or are affiliated with. Other forms of harassment include the use of state media to incite hatred towards those with differing opinions, intrusion into personal data on computer files and systems, and filing complaints against those expressing differing opinions with harsh laws.
Such violation, control and curtailing of rights and freedom of expression have intensified during the time when the country is preparing for the draft constitution referendum. In the early morning of April 27, 2016 soldiers abducted eight Facebook managers and others, allegedly involved with online posts which mock the junta chief, in Khon Kaen and Bangkok. Along with the round-up, the abducted were subjected to searches and had personal belongings confiscated without a warrant before being taken into custody at the 11th Military Circle. The Military Court in the following day then issued an arrest warrant on charges of using false information and breaching the Computer Crime Act as well as being guilty of sedition under Article 116. Moreover, two of them have been further charged with royal defamation as stipulated by Article 112.
Such actions of the military government are excessive. If the mockery is an insult using false information, General Prayut could take legal action for defamation without having to resort to harsh punishments for “violations of state security.” Moreover, the means in which state authorities have treated the accused are violations of human rights since they involve abductions of persons and taking them into custody at undisclosed locations to extract information for more than 24 hours before martial court’s warrants were issued and the legal proceedings against them instituted. The accused have also been denied bail and then were sent for detention at the Bangkok Remand Prison. Two of them have been charged with lese majeste. But the use of their personal information from computers against them before a court warrant was issued and without an assigned lawyer goes against legal procedures.
In addition, the military government hinders the citizens’ rights to criticize the draft constitution by issuing rules and regulations which limit freedom of expression over the draft constitution and the referendum and by threatening those who openly voice out their opposition to the draft constitution. The well-rounded, public debates on the draft constitution then cannot occur, and this will yield negative effects on the draft constitution referendum to be held in this coming August.
Thai Academic Network for Civil Rights (TANC) views the arrest and incarceration of these eight citizens as the beginning of a new round of intensive wipe out of those dissenting from the military government and the NCPO. Such actions created an unprecedented horrific atmosphere. When combined with the military government and the NCPO’s attempts to get the draft constitution pass the referendum by curtailing citizen’s rights to express differing opinions on the draft constitution, they brought a grave concern to the TANC because Thai citizens’ civil and political rights are under jeopardy. The TANC then file this petition to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in hope that it would investigate the aforementioned cases and make the world know how shamelessly the military government and the NCPO have violated basic human rights of these eight citizens and other dissidents. We strongly urge the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to take a firm stance against the military government and the NCPO to help put an immediate end to the atrocious violations of human rights in Thailand.
We write this with the sincere appeal for the Commissioner’s full consideration,