02 November, 2020
Chiang Mai, Thailand
210 civil society organisations and individuals from across the globe have come in support of the Thai democracy movement and expressed solidarity with the peaceful Thai protesters in their demands for participatory democracy and fundamental human rights in the country. Many of the protests that gathered tens of thousands of people across Thailand have been led by young women leaders and women human rights defenders.
The declaration of a state of emergency in Thailand followed by riot police using immense and uncalled-for force, including chemical laced water from water cannons against unarmed and peaceful protesters is unacceptable. The state of emergency declaration was not necessary as the protests which were peaceful, did not meet the conditions in the Emergency Decree while the use of force and the state of emergency declaration itself were intended to crackdown on democracy protesters.
As of 13 October, at least 80 protesters were arrested and have been charged with sedition or violation of the continually extended COVID-19 emergency decree. The government authorities’ excessive and disproportionate use of force and violence against the peaceful protesters is of grave concern, especially against women human rights defenders and student activists as they exercise their constitutional right to freedom of assembly.
UN agencies have expressed concerns on the potential human rights violations amidst the ongoing protests in Thailand. The UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association earlier called on the government of Thailand to “allow protesters to exercise their rights and seek dialogue, not suppress them.”
The 210 CSOs and individuals strongly urge the government of Thailand to immediately repeal the state of emergency and restore participatory democracy in the country, stop attacks against and criminalisation of peaceful protesters and refrain from any use of force and violence against them. The global civil society also demands release of all democracy protesters who have been arrested during the peaceful protests including young high school students, university students and Women Human Rights Defenders.
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