Media statement – Thailand must respect and promote human rights, end harassment and suppression of rights of “We Walk…Solidarity/Friendship” participants and supporters.

Dear Editor, Please find enclosed a Joint Media Statement by 52organisations, trade unions and groups, and also two individuals, from many countries including UK, US, Canada, Indonesia, Malaysia, Netherlands, Myanmar and Bangladesh entitled, THAILAND MUST RESPECT AND PROMOTE HUMAN RIGHTS, AND END HARASSMENT AND SUPPRESSION OF RIGHTS OF “WE WALK…SOLIDARITY/FRIENDSHIP” PARTICIPANTS AND SUPPORTERS. Revoke summons against HR Defender Lertsak Kumkongsak  and 7 others member  of People Go Network , and cease investigation and actions against others For further information and/or comment, please contact Charles Hector( easytocall@gmail.com or + 60192371100), Selma James(UK) gws@globalwomenstrike.net +44 20 7482 2496., Dean Kendall (US) deankendall@paydaynet.org  610-926-5883 and/or Ng Yap Hwa yaphwa2@gmail.com or +60 111066 4526) Joint Media Statement – 30/1/2018 THAILAND MUST RESPECT AND PROMOTE HUMAN RIGHTS,
AND END HARASSMENT AND SUPPRESSION OF RIGHTS OF
“WE WALK…SOLIDARITY/FRIENDSHIP” PARTICIPANTS AND SUPPORTERS.
Revoke summons against HR Defender Lertsak Kumkongsak and 7 others member  of People Go Network , and cease investigation and actions against others We, the 52 undersigned civil society groups and organisations, and 2 others, are disturbed by the actions of the Thai  Military government, including the Royal Police of Thailand, that are trying to inhibit the freedom of expression, opinion and assembly by the “We Walk…Solidarity/Friendship ’ action of the people(20/1/2018 – 17/2/2018), being a walk of 4 person teams from Bangkok to Khon Kaen We are appalled by the recent summons issued against 8, including one of walkers, on the alleged crime of ‘Political gatherings of five or more persons…’, when clearly it is inapplicable to actions of less than 5, as in this case. They are summoned to appear before the relevant authority on 31/1/2018(Wednesday) People’s right to participate in governance of their own country It must be stated that it is a fundamental right of people in a country to be able to participate in the governance of the nation. This certainly includes the freedom the of expression and the freedom of opinion, which naturally must include the ability to lobby other people in that nation state, to support a particular view point and/or to make particular demands that will impact how the country is governed and administrated by the existing government. Any good government, governs in accordance with the will of its people, and if the majority aspires for particular changes in polices, laws or governing practices, then the government in power must rightly bow to the wishes of its people – and, not simply ignore the people’s will and continue to govern the nation in accordance to what the existing leader or a minority in control of government wants. As such, any government must never try to supress any personal views and the ability to lobby such opinions and ideas amongst the peoples of the country. This should be the principle applicable in all nations, including democracies, countries temporarily under military rule or even feudal regimes. The government of Thailand, even though still not yet returned to a democratically elected government at this time following the military coup on  22/5/2014, have generally respected this freedom of expression, freedom of opinion and the freedom of peaceful assembly in this case when they allowed the ‘We Walk…Solidarity/Friendship ’ teams of 4 to walk since 20/1/2018 until 29/1/2018 (or now, if they are still walking). However, the Royal Police of Thailand and the government had done some wrongs, in violation of these fundamental values, principles and human rights. These actions need to be condemned, and the assurance of the Thai government need to be obtained to ensure there be no further infringements of these fundamental rights and freedoms, and that the rights of people involved in this “We Walk…Solidarity” are protected hereafter. ‘We Walk…Solidarity’ On 20/1/2018, 3 teams of 4 persons, mostly women,  began to separately walk from Bangkok to Khon Kaen, some 450 kilometres, a journey that will take about 28 days. The action, ‘We Walk…Solidarity’ is an initiative of an informal collaboration of a wide range of groups including the Health Security Watch group and People Movement For Social Welfare, Alternative Agriculture Network- Food Security, National Recourse Network- Community Rights and the Academic And Lawyer Network Who Observe On Constitution, Election And Right And Freedom Violation. The objective of the Walk is to make visible the current situation in Thailand, in particular the insecurity and frustration with the increasing suppression of the right to freedom of expression, the  on-going and growing dominance of the military government over all aspects of Thai society, worsening standard of living, and the situation of human rights and justice. The slogans of ‘We Walk…Solidarity/Friendship’ , such as ‘We Walk with friends. We Walk to meet friends. We Walk to open a space for those who have no other way to freely tell their stories or be heard.’ reflect the peaceful nature of the Walk that aims to increase awareness, build solidarity and develop a greater participation of people in Thailand in the affairs of their nation. To achieve this,  there are also community meetings planned for throughout the journey. People participation at all levels is fundamental and essential in any democracy and/or government. This is a peaceful and democratic activity with each team consisting of just 4 walkers, so as not to  breach Thailand’s law that prevents the assembly or procession of 5 or more persons UNLESS there is government approval. However despite all the care taken to comply with the  current law of the land, and also the extra  courtesy of informing the police even though not required in law,  the government of Thailand, in particular the Royal Thai Police, have done(and are still doing) certain things that are wrong, and in violation of the fundamental freedoms and rights of the people. They are as stated below:- 20/1/2018Preventing the walk to commence by about 7 hours a) ‘We Walk…Solidarity’ teams of 4 walkers were prevented from leaving Thammasat University, Rangsit Campus, Bangkok at the scheduled time of 9 am  by a police blockade. They were delayed for about 7 hours, but finally they were allowed  to commence walking at about 4pm, and they started the first leg of their 450km walk towards Ayutthaya. They will break their walk and rest at different points on their walk; 21/1/2018 – Harassment at wee hours of the morning, Arrest and Detention, Denial of Access of Lawyers b) At about 4 am on 21/1/2018, the police woke the We Walk teams who were resting for the night in a temple in Ayutthaya. The police demanded the Walkers to produce their Identity cards for inspection. A Support Vehicle carrying food, water and basic first aid for the walking teams was stopped and searched without a warrant Not only was the search  legally questionable, the action  left Walkers without access to water for some time. c) 4 members of the Support Team were then arrested and detained by the police for about 3 hours that morning. Immediate access to lawyers were denied. They were subsequently released.  23/1/2018 – Summoning 1 Walker and 7 others for alleged breach of Peaceful Assembly law d) Warrants have been issued under NCPO Order Number 3/2558 against 8 persons, including Pi Lertsak Kumkongsak, one of the persons walking. The other persons summoned are supporters of the ‘WE Walk…Solidarity’ initiative are  Mr. Nimit Tieudom, Mrs. Nutchanart Thanthong,  Mr. Jumnong Nupian,  Mr.Somchai Grajanseang, Ms. Sangsiri Teemanka, Assist.Professor Dr. Anusorn Aunno and  Mr. Ubon Yuwa. The 8 are human rights defenders, women human rights defenders, community human rights defenders, environmental rights advocates, health rights advocates and academic rights activists. They are now being accused of allegedly breaching Order Number 3/2558 (3/2015) issued by, Prime Minister General Prayuth, the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), pursuant to  section 44 of the 2014 interim constitution created while Thailand was under martial law. Section 44 gives the NCPO and its head unfettered power to do almost anything. Specifically, the alleged offence is a violation of Article 12 of Order 3/2558 (3/2015), which states,  “Political gatherings of five or more persons shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding ten thousand Baht, or both, unless permission has been granted by the Head of the NCPO. or an authorized representative.” The 8 have been summoned to appear in front of the authority on 31st  January 2018 in Bangkok. This means that Lertsak Kumkongsak, one of the walkers walking to Khon Kean, will have to abandon his walk mid-way, just to respond to this summons, and as such it can be seen as an act with a mala fide objective of terminating the right of the ‘We Walk….Solidarity’ walkers. It would have been more just and reasonable if such summons only asked for attendance after the current “We Walk…Solidarity” had ended. Other Matters – Wrongful harassment of Temples and others who had already consented to allow the “We Walk…Solidarity’ participants place to rest and/or spend the night along their journey to Khon Kean, to withdraw their permission.  Since the ousting of the democratically elected government, the military government now known as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), have been changing laws, policies and orders that are affecting the existing rights of communities, including farmers and peasants, that has and will significantly impact the livelihood and rights of the people. Such actions of an interim military government, pending the return of a democratically people elected government of Thailand is wrong. When there is such a coup, the role of the military or military appointed government should be simply the maintaining of the status quo – and certainly not the usurping or eroding existing human rights of the people. On 22/21/2018, four members of the protest – Lertsak Khamkongsak, Nattawat Uppa, Wasinee Bunthee and Nimit Tian-udom. Commenced a legal suit against the police for their alleged wrongful actions(The Nation, 23/1/2018). As such, the government subsequent action in issuing the summons under of Order 3/2558 (3/2015) seems to be a retaliatory action. Such retaliatory action by the government is abhorred, as it propagates a negative message deterring people to take action or file complaints against the authorities and police when they do wrong, for if they do, the authorities will thereafter come after them. That will only deter people from highlighting injustices, rights violations and even wrongdoings committed by the government, the military, the police and/or their officers. This is yet another reason why the summons against the 8 must immediately be withdrawn. The Administrative Court issued an order on Friday night(26/1/2018) granting legal protection for the People GO Network to continue their long march from Thammasat University to Khon Kaen, which also included an order to the police to perform their duty according to the Public Gathering Act to provide the security the demonstrators needed until the march ends on February 17. Despite this, the summons against the 8 to appear on 31/1/2018 has not been withdrawn. THEREFORE, a) We call on the government of Thailand, including Prime Minister General Prayut, the head of the NCPO and the NCPO, and also the Royal Police of Thailand, to respect the rights of the persons involved in this legitimate “We Walk…Solidarity’ action; b) We call for the immediate revocation of the Summons to appear issued against Lertsak and the other 7 human rights on 23/1/2018 to appear before the authority on 28/1/2018, for the alleged breach of the law on peaceful assembly; c)  We call for the immediate removal of harassment and/or threats against Temples and others who graciously allowed the participants of the “We Walk…Solidarity” action place to rest and sleep along the road to Khon Kean d) We urge that the authorities immediately discontinue all actions against participants and supporters of the  “We Walk…Solidarity”, and to forthwith apologize for any or all wrongdoings, and ensure that adequate compensation be paid to the victims. e) We call for action be forthwith to be taken against the Royal Police of Thailand including Colonel Rittinan Puipanthawong and Maj-General Surapong Thanomjit (the officer allegedly in charge of the police that blocked the commencement of the walk in Bangkok on 20/1/2018), Maj-General Sommai Prasit (the officer allegedly in charge of the harassment and arrest on 21/1/2018 in Ayutthaya) and Lieutenant Colonel Prusit  Khalyhiran, the officer who allegedly caused the issuance of the summons to be issued against the 8 on 23/1/2018); f) We call on Thailand to respect, protect and promote the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people in Thailand Charles Hector Selma James Dean Kendall  Ng Yap Hwa   For and on behalf of the 52 groups and 2 individuals listed below   All African Women’s Group, UK ASEAN SOGIE Caucus Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters- HRDP in Myanmar ATRAHDOM Guatemala Bangladesh Group Netherlands Black Women’s Rape Action Project, UK Christian Development Alternative (CDA), Bangladesh Clean Clothes Campaign Damn the Dams Action Group, Malaysia Defenders in Dordrecht Disabled People Against the Cuts, UK. Drew Glover and Project Pollinate! Santa Cruz, CA, USA Empower Foundation, Thailand End Solitary Santa Cruz, CA, USA English Collective of Prostitutes Every Mother Is A Working Mother Network/USA Family Farm Defenders, USA Focus on the Global South Global Women’s Strike, Ireland  Global Women’s Strike, UK Haiti Action Committee International Labor Rights Forum International Wages for Housework Campaign, UK Legal Action for Women, UK MADPET(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) Malaysian Physicians for Social Responsibility Manushya Foundation Migrant Care Momentum Oxford, Oxford, England Monitoring Sustainability of Globalisation National Family Farm Coalition (USA) North South Initiative Parti Rakyat Malaysia(PRM) Payday Men’s Network – USA Payday Men’s Network, UK Persatuan Komuniti Prihatin Selangor & KL Red Thread, Guyana Rescue Alternatives Liberia (RAL) Streets Kitchen, United Kingdom Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy, Malaysia Terai Human Rights Defenders Alliance (THRD Alliance), Nepal The Farmworker Association of Florida, Inc. USPROStitutes Collective, USA WH4C (Workers Hub For Change) WinVisible (women with visible and invisible disabilities), UK Women Of Color Global Women’s Strike, UK Women in Saskatchewan of The National Farmers Union Women For Justice And Peace in Sri Lanka Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom (WILPF) Santa Cruz, USA Yayasan LINTAS NUSA Batam – Indonesia SOAS Students’ Union (London, UK)
SOAS UNISON  (London, UK)   Art Mitchells-Urwin – individual
Margaret Prescod, journalist with Pacifica Radio Network USA – individual .      Some Background Information General Prayuth and the Thai military staged a coup on May 22, 2014, and created the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) junta. On March 31, 2015, the nation-wide enforcement of the Martial Law Act of 1914 was replaced with section 44 of the 2014 interim constitution, which allows General Prayuth as the head of NCPO the authority to do almost anything considered “necessary”. This exercise of power is not subject to administrative, legislative, or judicial oversight or accountability. Section 47 goes on to state that all such orders are “deemed to be legal, constitutional, and conclusive.” Section 48 further provides that NCPO members and anyone carrying out actions on behalf of the NCPO “shall be absolutely exempted from any wrongdoing, responsibility, and liabilities.” Pursuant to the powers under this section 44, one the order the head of the NCPO issued was Order Number 3/2558 (3/2015) of the Head of the NCPO on Maintaining Public Order and National Security. Of concern here, is Article 12 of this Order, that states “Article 12. Political gatherings of five or more persons shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding ten thousand Baht, or both, unless permission has been granted by the Head of the NCPO. or an authorized representative. Summons issued against 8  We Walk members- https://prachatai.com/english/node/7580. The 8 are now summoned to appear before the relevant authority on 31/1/2018      

Statement: Urgent, endorse statement supporting We Walk..Solidarity in Thailand

Dear Friends, We urgently ask your organisation/ group/ trade union to endorse this statement (below) supporting We Walk…Solidarity in Thailand and demanding that all charges against the peaceful walkers be immediately dropped. On 20/1/2018, 3 teams of 4 people, mostly women, began to separately walk from Bangkok to Khon Kaen, some 450 kilometres, a journey that will take about 28 days. The walk is supported by hundreds of people along the way and is being followed on Facebook. They are demanding the return of civil rights and public participation which were taken away three years ago by the military junta. This peaceful walk is facing repression and eight people have been charged with breaching Article 12 which forbids “political gatherings of five or more persons”. They are due to present themselves at the police station on 31 January. There is huge support for them in Thailand and their actions have reached more than 2.3 million people. But it is also important to gather international support as we are very concerned for the safety of all participants. We Walk has four main themes: universal health care, farmers’ rights, community and environmental rights, and the Constitution which does not guarantee the fundamental right to participation.   
Please send your endorsements by midnight of 28/1/2018 to easytocall@gmail.com  cc gws@globalwomenstrike.net. Please state the full name of your group/organisation and in which country your organisation is based.   Joint Media Statement(Draft) THAILAND MUST RESPECT AND PROMOTE HUMAN RIGHTS, AND END HARASSMENT AND SUPPRESSION OF RIGHTS OF “WE WALK…SOLIDARITY/FRIENDSHIP” PARTICIPANTS AND SUPPORTERS. Revoke summons against HR Defender Lertsak Kumkongsak  and 7 others member  of People Go Network , and cease investigation and actions against others We, the _____undersigned civil society groups, trade unions and organisations are disturbed by the actions of the Thai  Military government, including the Royal Police of Thailand, that are trying to inhibit the freedom of expression, opinion and assembly by the “We Walk…Solidarity/Friendship ’ action of the people(20/1/2018 – 17/2/2018), being a walk of 4 person teams from Bangkok to Khon Kaen We are appalled by the recent summons issued against 8, including one of walkers, on the alleged crime of ‘Political gatherings of five or more persons…’, when clearly it is inapplicable to actions of less than 5, as in this case. People’s right to participate in governance of their own country It must be stated that it is a fundamental right of people in a country to be able to participate in the governance of the nation. This certainly includes the freedom the of expression and the freedom of opinion, which naturally must include the ability to lobby other people in that nation state, to support a particular view point and/or to make particular demands that will impact how the country is governed and administrated by the existing government. Any good government, governs in accordance with the will of its people, and if the majority aspires for particular changes in polices, laws or governing practices, then the government in power must rightly bow to the wishes of its people – and, not simply ignore the people’s will and continue to govern the nation in accordance to what the existing leader or a minority in control of government wants. As such, any government must never try to supress any personal views and the ability to lobby such opinions and ideas amongst the peoples of the country. This should be the principle applicable in all nations, including democracies, countries temporarily under military rule or even feudal regimes. The government of Thailand, even though still not yet returned to a democratically elected government at this time following the military coup on 22/5/2014, have generally respected this freedom of expression, freedom of opinion and the freedom of peaceful assembly in this case when they allowed the ‘We Walk…Solidarity/Friendship ’ teams of 4 to walk since 20/1/2018 until 26/1/2018 (or now, if they are still walking). However, the Royal Police of Thailand and the government had done some wrongs, in violation of these fundamental values, principles and human rights. These actions need to be condemned, and the assurance of the Thai government need to be obtained to ensure there be no further infringements of these fundamental rights and freedoms, and that the rights of people involved in this “We Walk…Solidarity” are protected hereafter. ‘We Walk…Solidarity’ On 20/1/2018, 3 teams of 4 persons, mostly women, began to separately walk from Bangkok to Khon Kaen, some 450 kilometres, a journey that will take about 28 days. The action, ‘We Walk…Solidarity’ is an initiative of an informal collaboration of a wide range of groups including the Health Security Watch group and People Movement For Social Welfare, Alternative Agriculture Network- Food Security, National Recourse Network- Community Rights and the Academic And Lawyer Network Who Observe On Constitution, Election And Right And Freedom Violation. The objective of the Walk is to make visible the current situation in Thailand, in particular the insecurity and frustration with the increasing suppression of the right to freedom of expression, the  on-going and growing dominance of the military government over all aspects of Thai society, worsening standard of living, and the situation of human rights and justice. The slogans of ‘We Walk…Solidarity/Friendship’, such as ‘We Walk with friends. We Walk to meet friends. We Walk to open a space for those who have no other way to freely tell their stories or be heard.’ reflect the peaceful nature of the Walk that aims to increase awareness, build solidarity and develop a greater participation of people in Thailand in the affairs of their nation. To achieve this, there are also community meetings planned for throughout the journey. People’s participation at all levels is fundamental and essential in any democracy and/or government. This is a peaceful and democratic activity with each team consisting of just 4 walkers, so as not to breach Thailand’s law that prevents the assembly or procession of 5 or more persons UNLESS there is government approval. However, despite all the care taken to comply with the current law of the land, and also the extra courtesy of informing the police even though not required in law, the government of Thailand, in particular the Royal Thai Police, have done (and are still doing) certain things that are wrong, and in violation of the fundamental freedoms and rights of the people. They are as stated below:- 20/1/2018Preventing the walk to commence by about 7 hours a) ‘We Walk…Solidarity’ teams of 4 walkers were prevented from leaving Thammasat University, Rangsit Campus, Bangkok at the scheduled time of 9 am by a police blockade. They were delayed for about 7 hours, but finally they were allowed to commence walking at about 4pm, and they started the first leg of their 450km walk towards Ayutthaya. They will break their walk and rest at different points on their walk. 21/1/2018 – Harassment at wee hours of the morning, Arrest and Detention, Denial of Access to Lawyers b) At about 4 am on 21/1/2018, the police woke the We Walk teams who were resting for the night in a temple in Ayutthaya. The police demanded the Walkers to produce their Identity cards for inspection. A Support Vehicle carrying food, water and basic first aid for the walking teams was stopped and searched without a warrant. Not only was the search legally questionable, the action left Walkers without access to water for some time. c) 4 members of the Support Team were then arrested and detained by the police for about 3 hours that morning. Immediate access to lawyers was denied. They were subsequently released. 23/1/2018 – Summoning 1 Walker and 7 others for alleged breach of Peaceful Assembly law d) Warrants have been issued under NCPO Order Number 3/2558 against 8 persons, including Pi Lertsak Kumkongsak, one of the persons walking. The other persons summoned are supporters of the ‘We Walk…Solidarity’ initiative are Mr. Nimit Tieudom, Mrs. Nutchanart Thanthong, Mr. Jumnong Nupian, Mr.Somchai Grajanseang, Ms. Sangsiri Teemanka, Assist. Professor Dr. Anusorn Aunno and Mr. Ubon Yuwa. The 8 are human rights defenders, women human rights defenders, community human rights defenders, environmental rights advocates, health rights advocates and academic rights activists. They are now being accused of allegedly breaching Order Number 3/2558 (3/2015) issued by Prime Minister General Prayuth, the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), pursuant to  section 44 of the 2014 interim constitution created while Thailand was under martial law. Section 44 gives the NCPO and its head unfettered power to do almost anything. Specifically, the alleged offence is a violation of Article 12 of Order 3/2558 (3/2015), which states,  “Political gatherings of five or more persons shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding ten thousand Baht, or both, unless permission has been granted by the Head of the NCPO or an authorized representative.” The 8 have been summoned to appear in front of the authority on 31st January 2018 in Bangkok. This means that Lertsak Kumkongsak, one of the walkers walking to Khon Kean, will have to abandon his walk mid-way, just to respond to this summons, and as such it can be seen as an act with a mala fide objective of terminating the right of the ‘We Walk….Solidarity’ walkers. It would have been more just and reasonable if such summons only asked for attendance after the current “We Walk…Solidarity” had ended. Other Matters – Wrongful harassment of Temples and others who had already consented to allow the “We Walk…Solidarity’ participants place to rest and/or spend the night along their journey to Khon Kean, to withdraw their permission.  Since the ousting of the democratically elected government, the military government now known as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), have been changing laws, policies and orders that are affecting the existing rights of communities, including farmers and peasants, that has and will significantly impact the livelihood and rights of the people. Such actions of an interim military government, pending the return of a democratically people elected government of Thailand is wrong. When there is such a coup, the role of the military or military appointed government should be simply the maintaining of the status quo – and certainly not the usurping or eroding existing human rights of the people.   On 22/21/2018, four members of the protest – Lertsak Khamkongsak, Nattawat Uppa, Wasinee Bunthee and Nimit Tian-udom. Commenced a legal suit against the police for their alleged wrongful actions (The Nation, 23/1/2018). As such, the government subsequent action in issuing the summons under of Order 3/2558 (3/2015) seems to be a retaliatory action. Such retaliatory action by the government is abhorred, as it propagates a negative message deterring people to take action or file complaints against the authorities and police when they do wrong, for if they do, the authorities will thereafter come after them. That will only deter people from highlighting injustices, rights violations and even wrongdoings committed by the government, the military, the police and/or their officers. This is yet another reason why the summons against the 8 must immediately be withdrawn. Therefore, a) we call on the government of Thailand, including Prime Minister General Prayut, the head of the NCPO and the NCPO, and also the Royal Police of Thailand, to respect the rights of the persons involved in this legitimate “We Walk…Solidarity’ action; b) we call for the immediate revocation of the Summons to appear issued against Lertsak and the other 7 human rights on 23/1/2018 to appear before the authority on 28/1/2018, for the alleged breach of the law on peaceful assembly; c)  we call for the immediate removal of harassment and/or threats against Temples and others who graciously allowed the participants of the “We Walk…Solidarity” action place to rest and sleep along the road to Khon Kean; d) we urge the authorities to immediately discontinue all actions against participants and supporters of the “We Walk…Solidarity”, and to forthwith apologize for any or all wrongdoings, and ensure that adequate compensation be paid to the victims; e) we call for action forthwith to be taken against the Royal Police of Thailand including Colonel Rittinan Puipanthawong and Maj-General Surapong Thanomjit (the officer allegedly in charge of the police that blocked the commencement of the walk in Bangkok on 20/1/2018), Maj-General Sommai Prasit (the officer allegedly in charge of the harassment and arrest on 21/1/2018 in Ayutthaya) and Lieutenant Colonel Prusit  Khalyhiran, the officer who allegedly caused the issuance of the summons to be issued against the 8 on 23/1/2018); f) we call on Thailand to respect, protect and promote the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people in Thailand.   Some Background Information General Prayuth and the Thai military staged a coup on May 22, 2014, and created the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) junta. On March 31, 2015, the nationwide enforcement of the Martial Law Act of 1914 was replaced with section 44 of the 2014 interim constitution, which allows General Prayuth as the head of NCPO the authority to do almost anything considered “necessary”. This exercise of power is not subject to administrative, legislative, or judicial oversight or accountability. Section 47 goes on to state that all such orders are “deemed to be legal, constitutional, and conclusive.” Section 48 further provides that NCPO members and anyone carrying out actions on behalf of the NCPO “shall be absolutely exempted from any wrongdoing, responsibility, and liabilities.” Pursuant to the powers under this section 44, one the order the head of the NCPO issued was Order Number 3/2558 (3/2015) of the Head of the NCPO on Maintaining Public Order and National Security. Of concern here is Article 12 of this Order that states: “Article 12. Political gatherings of five or more persons shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding ten thousand Baht, or both, unless permission has been granted by the Head of the NCPO or an authorized representative.” Summons issued against 8  We Walk members  https://prachatai.com/english/node/7580    

Action: URGENT support needed to DROP CHARGES against EIGHT HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS in Thailand

Dear friends,

URGENT support needed to DROP CHARGES against EIGHT HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS in Thailand

Protection International in Thailand is appealing for our immediate action to support eight human rights defenders (HRD), two women and six men, who are being charged with breaching Article 12 which forbids “political gatherings of five or more persons”.

The eight HRDs are involved in We Walk…Solidarity – a walk for human rights, justice and democracy along the Friendship Road from Bangkok to Khon Khean, a journey of some 450 kilometres that will take about 28 days (20/1/2018– 17/2/2018). Three teams of four people, mostly women, began separately walking from Bangkok on 20 January. The eight HRDs members are there to protect the safety and rights of the participants. Their names are below.

We Walk…Solidarity is an initiative of an informal collaboration of a wide range of groups, including the Health Security Watch group and People Movement For Social Welfare, Alternative Agriculture Network – Food Security, National Recourse Network – Community Rights and the Academic and Lawyer Network Who Observe On Constitution, Election and Right and Freedom Violation.

The objective of the Walk is to make visible the current situation in Thailand, in particular the insecurity and frustration with the increasing suppression of the right to freedom of expression, the on-going and growing dominance of the military government over all aspects of Thai society, the worsening standard of living, and the situation of human rights and justice.

Please contact the Thai authorities, calling on them to:

Immediately drop charges against the eight HRDs.
The Prime Minister and the Royal Thai Government must respect human rights, justice and democratic principles, and not hinder or suppress the legitimate actions of the participants of ‘We Walk…Solidarity’. The Government must instead fully protect the participants in the exercise of their rights, until the end of this action, and guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Thailand are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions, including judicial harassment.

The names of the eight HRDs charged are:

1.  Mr. Lertsak Kumkongsak
2.  Mr. Nimit Tieudom
3.  Mrs. Nutchanart Thanthong
4.  Mr. Jumnong Nupian
5.  Mr. Somchai Grajanseang
6.  Ms. Sangsiri Teemanka
7.  Assist. professor Dr. Anusorn Aunno
8.  Mr. Ubon Yuwa

Express support for the National Human Rights Commissioner, Mrs Angkhana Neelapaijit, UNOHCHR and their team who are monitoring the situation on the ground.

Email or call:

·      Minister of Tourism and Sports – H.E KobkarnWattanavrangkul
prdiv3@tat.or.th Tel : +66 2283-1555 Fax : +66 -2356-0746

·      Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand –Mr Don Pramudwinai minister@mfa.go.th

·      Minister of Foreign Affairs Chief of Staff –MrsUrasaMongkolnavin permsec@mfa.go.th  Fax : +66 -2643-5272

And/or your local Thai embassy or consulate.

On Sunday 28th January, observe what is happening on line, showing solidarity to the eight HRDs when they turn themselves in at Klong Luang police station on. (We will let you know asap if the date is postponed.)

FACTS

On January 23, 2018 the media reported that Lieutenant Colonel (Lt.Col) Prusit Khalyhiran issued warrants against eight of the We Walk members under NCPO Order Number 3/2558 – the Order decreed in 2015 on Maintaining Public Order and National Security. They are accused with breaching Article 12: “Political gatherings of five or more persons shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding ten thousand Baht, or both, unless permission has been granted by the Head of the NCPO or an authorized representative.” The military has issued a warrant for their arrest. The eight members will have to appear in front of the officer on Sunday 28 January 2018. If they fail to meet the officials they will be issue with a second warrant, and if they still fail to appear they will be arrested.

ACTION ALERT Thailand: defend We Walk Solidarity from repression

ACTION ALERT Thailand: defend We Walk Solidarity from repression

15283940_1116995978414061_9204584074885434395_n.jpgHundreds of people have started a 28-day walk from Bangkok to KhonKaen along the Friendship Road (Mitrparb) demanding the return of civil rights and public participation which were taken away three years ago by the military junta. Their peaceful march is facing repression. Act now to protect their safety, especially the safety of human rights defenders who are likely to be targetedfirst and on whom others rely. The campaign has four main themes: universal health care, farmers’ rights, community and environmental rights, and the Constitution which doesn’t guarantee the fundamental right to participation.   

We Walk…Solidarity has been founded by:

1. Health Security Watch group and People Movement for Social Welfare

2. Alternative Agriculture Network – Food Security

3. National Recourse Network – Community Rights

4. Academic and lawyer Network who observe on the Constitution, Election and Right and freedom violation

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Some walkers on day two (21 January 2018)

Protection International (PI) has called for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and all relevant organisations “to ensure that Thailand’s civil society continues operating without harassment.” They are urging people to express their concern that the We Walk marchers should be protected not repressed.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Email/call the Thai authorities expressing your concerns(emails and numbers below).
Urge them to
:

1. Immediately halt the harassment initiated against human right defenders who are involved in the We Walk…Solidarity movement, as this is solely motivated by their legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights.

2. Take measures to ensure that government officials or other public figures refrain from making statements or declarations stigmatising the legitimate work of human rights defenders.

3. Support the National Human Rights Commissioner Mrs AngkhanaNeelapaijit and her team who will be monitoring the situation on the ground.

3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Thailand are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions, including judicial harassment.

EMAILS & NUMBERS

·      Minister of Tourism and Sports – H.E KobkarnWattanavrangkul
prdiv3@tat.or.th Tel : +66 2283-1555 Fax : +66 -2356-0746

·      Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand –Mr Don Pramudwinaiminister@mfa.go.th

·      Minister of Foreign Affairs Chief of Staff –MrsUrasaMongkolnavinpermsec@mfa.go.th  Fax : +66 -2643-5272

Tweet, Like on FB, contact the media Email/call/ Facebook/Tweet travel agents who organise tours to Thailand. This year is “Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018”. Ask them if they are aware of the suppression of human rights in this popular tourist destination. Follow us @WomenStrike for model tweets.   ·      Tourism Authority of Thailand UK office: https://uk.tourismthailand.org/Send-Complaint
Tel: +44 20 7925 2511@fanclubthailand ·      Tourism Authority of Thailand @ThailandFanClub use #LoveThailand ·      Tourism Authority of Thailand News Room on Facebook and Twitter /@TheTATNews
https://www.facebook.com/TATNewsroom  
Amazing Thailand 01.jpg

We Walk…Solidarity is trending big in Thailand. We askpeople everywhere to show support by letting the Thai authorities know that we are following their journey. These women and men must be protected so they reach their destination safely.

Follow their journey: People GO Network on Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/People-GO-network-1116982425082083/, #WeWalkเดินมิตรภาพ on Twitter. Circulate information and object to the repression taking place.

Statement from People GO Network below.

For more information: Global Women’s Strike gws@globalwomenstrike.net

______________________________________________________________________________

We Walk…Solidarity is organising a series of events. They must be allowed to go ahead.

Every Saturday and Sunday, panel discussions will be held at different locations along the walk which will includetopics as mentioned below:

1. Sunday 28 January 2018: “Welfare State and Golden Card” (the card of Universal Health Care coverage) at Khao Nang KhongKharam Temple, Moo 4, TambonNongSarai, Pak Chong District, NakhonRatchasima Province

2. Saturday-Sunday 3-4 February 2018:“Alternative Agriculture and Food Security”atMueang District, NakhonRatchasima Province

3. Saturday-Sunday 10-11 February 2018:“National Resources and Community Rights” at Ban Pai District, KhonKaen Province

4. Saturday 17 February 2018:“Democracy, Constitution and Election”

WHY WE WALK

We Walk…Solidarity is a movement created in unity and friendship by many different sectors.We Walk with friends. We Walk to meet friends. We Walk to open a space for those who have no other way to freely tell their stories or be heard.

We Walk aims to make visible the insecurity and frustration people feel as a result of the increased dominance of the military government over all parts of Thai society. People are living under threat and with a worsening standard of living. Laws and Decrees are arbitrarily made without due process. For instance:

1.   Attempts to withdraw the right to access to Universal Health Care and replace it with charity to be arbitrarily provided to “the poor”  

2.   Threats to food security with the seizure of land by amending the Plant Variety Protection Act toallow multinationals to monopolize ownership of seeds.

3.   Watering down of laws upholding the rights of people and communities to manage their national resources, threatening sustainable development and the future of Thailand. Amendments to the environmental laws promoting investment, allow industry to pollute the environment,t affecting the health of people and community.

4.   The 2017 Constitution does not guarantee the full participation of the people which is a pillar of democracy.

We Walk …Solidarity aims to bring people together regardless of the views they hold. The core of democracy and development is the participation of the people at all levels and so We Walk!

PRESS RELEASE: Thailand: call to defend We Walk Solidarity marchers from repression

PRESS RELEASE:
Thailand: call to defend We Walk Solidarity marchers from repression

15283940_1116995978414061_9204584074885434395_n.jpgHundreds of people have started a 28-day walk from Bangkok to KhonKaen along the Friendship Road (Mitrparb) demanding the return of civil rights and public participation which were taken away three years ago by the military junta. Their peaceful march is facing repression and some people have been arrested. We urge the media to publicise the incidents taking place to protect the safety of these peaceful marchers, especially that ofthe human rights defenders on We Walk who are being targeted.   Contact in Thailand:Ms Sangsiri Teemanka, co-ordinator of the People Go Network:+66868894441 Contact in UK: Nina Lopez, Global Women’s Strike: gws@globalwomenstrike.net
Tel: 020 7482 2496  

We Walk…Solidarity has four main themes: universal health care, farmers’ rights, community and environmental rights, and the Constitution which doesn’t guarantee the fundamental right to participation. 

photo_2018-01-21_10-32-01 (2).jpg
photo_2018-01-21_10-32-01 (3).jpg

Some walkers on day 2 (21 January 2018)

We Walk…Solidarity has been founded by:

1. Health Security Watch group and People Movement For Social Welfare

2. Alternative Agriculture Network – Food Security

3.National Recourse Network – Community Rights

4. Academic and lawyer Network who observe on the Constitution, Election and Right and freedom violation

We Walk…Solidarity is trending big in Thailand.An international call has been issued to:

Follow their journey, monitor and object to incidents of repression: People GO Network on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/People-GO-network-1116982425082083/#WeWalkเดินมิตรภาพ on Twitter.
And to contactthe Thai authoritiesdemandingsafety for theWe Walkers.These include:

–     Minister of Tourism and Sports – H.E KobkarnWattanavrangkul
prdiv3@tat.or.th  Tel : +66 2283-1555  Fax : +66 -2356-0746

–     Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand – Mr Don Pramudwinai minister@mfa.go.th
Fax : +66 -2643-5272

________________________________________________________________________

We Walk…Solidarity is organising a series of events.
Every Saturday and Sunday, panel discussions will be held at different locations along the walk which will includetopics as mentioned below:

1. Sunday, 28 January 2018: “Welfare State and Golden Card” (the card of Universal Health Care coverage) at Khao Nang KhongKharam Temple, Moo 4, TambonNongSarai, Pak Chong District, NakhonRatchasima Province

2. Saturday-Sunday, 3-4 February 2018:“Alternative Agriculture and Food Security”atMueang District, NakhonRatchasima Province

3. Saturday-Sunday 10-11 February 2018:“National Resources and Community Rights” at Ban Pai District, KhonKaen Province

4. Saturday, 17 February 2018:“Democracy, Constitution and Election”

WHY WE WALK

We Walk aims to make visible the insecurity and frustration people feel as a result of theincreased dominance of the military government over all parts of Thai society. People are living under threat and with a worsening standard of living.Laws and Decrees are arbitrarily made without due process. For instance:

1.   Attempts to withdraw the right to access to Universal Health Care and replace it with charity to be arbitrarily provided to “the poor”  

2.   Threats to food security with the seizure of land by amending the Plant Variety Protection Act to allow multinational cooperation to monopolize ownership of seeds.

3.   Watering down of laws upholding the rights of people and communities to manage their national resources, threatening sustainable development and the future of Thailand. Amendments to the environmental laws promoting investment, allow industry to pollute the environment,t affecting the health of people and community.

4.   The 2017 Constitution does not guarantee the full participation of the people which is a pillar of democracy.

We Walk …Solidarity aims to bring people together regardless of the views they hold. We Walk is an expression of dissatisfaction and frustration with the situation today. The core of democracy and development is the participation of the people at all levels and so We Walk!

HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS MUST BE PROTECTED
Protection International (PI) has called for support from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and all relevant organisations “to ensure that Thailand’s civil society continues operating without harassment.” They requeststhat the authorities in Thailand should be urged to:

1. Immediately halt the harassment initiated against human right defenders who are involved in the We Walk…Solidarity movement, as this is solely motivated by their legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights;

2. Take measures to ensure that government officials or other public figures refrain from making statements or declarations stigmatising the legitimate work of human rights defenders;

3. Support the National Human Rights CommissionerMrs AngkhanaNeelapaijit and her team who will be monitoring the situation on the ground. 3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Thailand are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions, including judicial harassment.”