Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Amnesty accuses govt of suppressing people’s right to peaceful assembly

Aug 25. 2020
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By THE NATION

Amnesty International Thailand has slammed the arrest of prominent pro-democracy activist Panupong “Mike Rayong” Chadnok in saying it explicitly reveals Thai authorities’ attempts to suppress people’s right to freedom of peaceful assembly.

Panupong was arrested on Monday (August 24) over five charges related to his speech at the “Thammasat Cha Mai Thon” (Thammasat will not endure) rally at Thammasat University’s Rangsit Campus on August 10.

He had been detained earlier on August 8 for his role in the July 18 protest, but had been released on bail.

Piyanut Kotsan, director of Amnesty International Thailand, said it is time that Thai authorities stop instilling fear in the public and instead thrive for progressive dialogue.

“Thai authorities use lawsuits as weapons to shut down peaceful criticism of the government. Amnesty International reaffirms that the authorities must end attempts to arrest and charge peaceful anti-government leaders and demonstrators, and tolerate their opinions.

“The right to freedom of peaceful assembly is fundamental and must be protected for everyone who chooses to exercise this right. The authorities must also protect the right to freedom of expression and freedom of association. The government has a duty to promote these rights, instead of infringing on them and intimidating those who peacefully exercise them

“Despite having an elected government in place for more than a year, Thailand has not made any progress with regard to improving its human rights record. The government continues to intimidate and take legal action against those who peacefully exercise their rights. It is the right moment for the international community to pressure the Thai government to comply with international human rights law.”

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