11 July 2024

Today (Monday), anti-establishment protest leader Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, along with activists from Amnesty International Thailand, submitted over 28,000 signatures, gathered through a change.org campaign, to a representative of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha seeking an end to alleged violations of human rights by government officials.

Director of Amnesty International Thailand, Piyanuch Kotsan, revealed that Amnesty International’s London headquarters has been urging activists around the world to submit a letter to Thailand’s prime minister, to express concern over the continuing violence against peaceful protesters, from arrests and prosecutions of human rights activists and protesters to police force used to disperse the protests.

“Protest leaders, such as Pai Daodin (Jatupat Boon pattararaksa, Mike Rayong (Panupong Jadnok) and Penguin (Parit Chiwarak), should never have been arrested or denied bail,” said Piyanuch.

They have also learned that protest leaders on remand are being detained in poor conditions, which will affect their health and welfare. Both Pai Daodin and “Penguin” became infected with COVID-19 while in prison. They are also concerned about the ongoing court cases against peaceful protesters, including Rung’s cases, where she faces more criminal charges related to the protests on September 22nd.

The AI Thailand Director said that 1,634 people, including 257 aged under 18, have been prosecuted in the past year for no more than exercising their freedom of speech and their right to peaceful assembly. Most of them risk being sentenced to long prison terms, including life. The police have responded the protests by using crowd control measures and allegedly excessive force, such as tear gas, water cannons laced with chemicals and rubber bullets, which often violate the protesters’ rights.

Over the past month, Amnesty International Thailand has gathered almost 30,000 signatures from around the world, through its change.org campaign, to end the violence against protesters. 

Amnesty International Thailand submitted three key demands to the Thai government:

  • Drop all criminal charges against those who peacefully exercise their human rights and release all related detainees.
  • Allow people to express their views freely and join peaceful assemblies without threats, which have the effect of limiting the exercise of their rights
  • Investigate immediately, without bias and with full transparency, reports of unnecessary and excessive use of police force in accordance with international standards, including the “United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms”.