Junta goons and freedom of expression

3 09 2014

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand was raided by the police last evening to prevent a discussion fronted by the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights.

Australia’s ABC has a report, both sound and print:

In Thailand the Junta still has firm control over its citizens, with the ruling army general now also the nation’s newly appointed prime minister. Any sense of democracy has been stamped out for now and critics are worried an election might not come at the end of next year as promised.

In the latest case of repression, human rights lawyers and activists were banned from addressing foreign journalists in downtown Bangkok.

South East Asia correspondent Samantha Hawley reports from the Thai capital.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: It was a gathering to mark 100 days since Thailand’s coup, but not one welcomed by the powerful ruling military. It was brought to an abrupt end. Freedom of speech is not welcome in Thailand.


Prachatai has a story with more pictures. The junta expressed its disapproval of the event:

A letter dated 2 September, sent by the military to the head of the TLHR, states: In order to follow the policy of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), the 1st Cavalry Squadron, King’s Guard, as the agency assigned to enforce law and order in Pathumwan District, kindly asks for your cooperation in cancelling the activity. If there is any complaint from people who face problems accessing justice and exercising their freedom of expression, or any recommendation related to human rights, please contact the Damrongtham Centre, under the Inspection and Grievances Bureau, Ministry of Interior (Hotline 1567).

The Bangkok Post reports that the United Nations Human Rights Office for South-East Asia (OHCHR) has stated that it “is seriously  concerned  about  increasing restrictions on human rights defenders in exercising their rights to peaceful assembly and expression in Thailand.”

This statement was a direct result of the junta’s goons crasching the FCCT:

The regional office was responding to the 3rd Cavalry Battalion in Bangkok’s order that the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights organisation cancel a planned forum on Tuesday at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand.

The OHCHR added: “The cancellation of this event adds to other incidents indicating a deteriorating environment for human rights defenders in the country…”.




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