Evidences of Thailand Case

Case 38-2018: Thailand & King Maha Vajiralongkorn & Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha


By Master Yan Maitri-Shi, Prosecutor



After Legitimating and Validating Evidences and Charges by Master Maitreya, President and Spiritual Judge of IBEC-BTHR, it is addressed the case against the accused party, Thailand, King Maha Vajiralongkorn & Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. This investigation was initiated from the “Case Myanmar” and the “Case of Sulak Sivaraksa”.

The Charges by which the Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights is accusing Thailand, King Maha Vajiralongkorn & Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha are enumerated below:

  • Genocide
  • Crimes against Humanity
  • Violation of International Human Rights Law
  • Violation of Buddhist Law

Therefore, it is detailed a series of EVIDENCES that support the Charges referred so that the Jury members decide about the possible “Responsibility”, “Innocence” or “Insanity” of the accused. Such evidence come from graphic and audiovisual media that have been gathered, sorted and confirmed in their order and context as Means of Proof in order to know, establish, dictate and determine the Responsibility of the Accused for committing the aforementioned Charges.

The procedure established in the Statute of INTERNATIONAL BUDDHIST ETHICS  COMMITTEE & BUDDHIST TRIBUNAL ON HUMAN RIGHTS provides both bodies the ostentation to enjoy independence and liberty from state and national regulation and control, besides having the legality and acting as a Buddhist People in order to assert its customs, traditions, practices, procedures, judgments and rights as well as acting in pursuit of the development of Spirituality, of Buddhist Ethics, and of the defense of International Human Rights. This procedure has the particularity, singularity and distinction of having “Special Jurisdiction of the Tribal Law” and “Universal Jurisdiction of the International Law”, thus having the Character, Juridical validity, Legal Powers, infrastructure, Training and Capability necessary to be Actor, Administrator and Executor of Justice in this realm and exercise, by judging of the Accused by means of an Ethical Judgment whose Purpose is Truth, Reconciliation and Learning.-




Evidence 1: Persecution against Socially Engaged Buddhism

Evidence 2: Illegal Imprisonments and Violations of Freedom of Expression

Evidence 3: Extrajudicial Murders, Impunity and Violation of the Right to Justice

Evidence 4: Dictatorship, Oppression and Violation of Civil and Political Rights

Evidence 5: Torture

Evidence 6: Human Trafficking and Forced Labor

Evidence 7: Sexual Slavery of Children and Women

Evidence 8: Massive Forcible Deportation of Refugees

Evicence 9: Genocide against Rohingya People



Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights: The Rome Statute considers that under International Criminal Law crimes against humanity are established as systematic or generalized acts of Murder, Illegal Imprisonments, Torture, Mass Deportations, Forced Labor and Sexual Slavery. The present case will show that Thailand has committed -and continues to commit- acts of killings against refugees and social activists, arbitrary arrests of political prisoners, large-scale torture with total impunity, extrajudicial executions of political demonstrators and drug addicts, mass deportations of members of the Rohingya people, and forced labor or slavery of foreign workers. These crimes have been carried out in a systematic and generalized manner, which constitutes Crimes against Humanity and a clear Violation of the International Law of Human Rights. In addition, because it is a country inheritor of the ancient system of Buddhist Civilization, just like Myanmar, it is necessary to consider that Thailand is making a violation of Buddhist Law, which is evident in the treatment that the government has had towards Sulak Sivaraksa.



Evidence 1: Persecution against Socially Engaged Buddhism

Southeast Asia Correspondent Liam Cochrane: “The story of a former Thai king slaying a Burmese prince in a duel while riding elephants is at the centre of a police investigation against an elderly Buddhist intellectual who faces 15 years jail for questioning the historical accuracy of the event. Sulak Sivaraksa, 85, made the comments at a university seminar in 2014 and was charged then, but the case has resurfaced, with police saying they have now finished their investigation. This week police escorted Mr Sulak to meet the prosecutor, who will decide whether to go ahead with the case. He is charged with lese majeste, which protects the king, queen, heir and regent from defamation, but has been more broadly applied to cover the king’s dog, past kings and even Facebook likes of controversial material. Mr Sulak insists he has done nothing wrong. (…) The case comes just before the cremation of Thailand’s widely-revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej later this month, but Mr Sulak said he was not sure why the charges had been revived. (…)Mr Sulak is a renowned social critic and the founder of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists. He has been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize. (…)Although he describes himself as a royalist, he has been charged several times with lese majeste. The story of the elephant duel has been the subject of many movies and television series in Thailand and is held dear by the military, which currently runs the country. (…)Besides the question of historical accuracy, there is the application of the lese majeste law, which protects the king, queen, heir and regent from slander, but is now being used to shield dead kings too. (…) On December 7, the prosecutor will announce whether to go ahead with the case against Mr Sulak. If it does go ahead, the trial would be held in a military court, possibly in secret.”[1]

Sulak Sivaraksa: “My point is, if you want to learn history, you have to get all facts from the past as much as you can, and I just state the facts,” (…) “The country is run by dictatorship so [there’s] no regard to the rule of law and for the army, King Naresuan is a great hero, you see, and the elephant combat is real for them.” “So I’m at the mercy of the military tribunal… if they want to be fair, if they want to be sincere I’ll get acquitted, but if they want to punish me, well, what can you do? There’s no rule of law,” [2] “To live in this country you must have a sense of humor because my case is nonsensical,”  “If the country was normal and there existed rule of law in this country, then there won’t be problems,” “The lèse-majesté law protects the current monarch and if someone is charged for criticizing a king who reigned 500 years ago, then something is not normal.”[3]

Matteo Pistono: “The prominent socially engaged Buddhist and Siamese intellectual, Sulak Sivaraksa, was taken by police on Monday to face a military tribunal preparing a criminal case against him. Sulak was released the same day and was told that military prosecutors will decide by December 7 whether or not they will proceed with the case. The 85-year-old Sulak is accused of lèse-majesté—defaming the monarchy—by questioning whether 16th-century Thai king Naresuan really led his soldiers to victory in a historical elephant battle. The crime of lèse-majesté forbids criticism of the king, queen, crown prince, or regent, and in Thailand earns a fifteen-year prison sentence. (…) Lèse-majesté in Thailand is a crime that lies somewhere between treason and blasphemy and is specific to the reigning monarch. However, since the military coup in 2014, the law has been used broadly to silence the military junta’s critics. The International Federation for Human Rights reports more than 100 lèse-majesté arrests have been recorded since the 2014 coup. (…)If the military decides in December to prosecute Sulak’s case, it will generate a worldwide condemnation of the Thai authorities. Sulak will be held in jail for months during the trial, with no opportunity to post bail. (…) Sulak has, since the 1970s, been the most prominent social critic in the country. His incisive rebukes are most often pointed at the pillars of Thai society—nation (especially its leaders), religion (in particular the state-sponsored monastic community), and the monarchy. Despite his criticism of Thai society, Sulak has long asserted that he is loyal to his country, the Buddha dharma, and the monarchy, but, my loyalty demands dissent. For his speeches and writings, Sulak has been exiled from Thailand on two occasions (in 1976–1977 and 1991–1992), jailed and harassed, and repeatedly subjected to criminal prosecution for lèse-majesté of the Thai monarchy. He has always been acquitted. This week’s action by the Thai military tribunal is the latest in the decades-long battle between Sulak and the Thai establishment, in particular its military leaders. In 2014, General Prayut Chan-o-cha led the Royal Thai Armed forces to oust the democratically elected prime minster, Yinlack Shinawatras. The coup d’état was widely criticized by Western nations. General Prayut promised new elections but instead retained power. Mainstream news reports regularly describe him as a military dictator. Soon after the 2014 coup, Sulak began publishing his advice to the military, and specifically General Prayut, in Facebook posting. By the end of the year, the postings were compiled into a book and published (in Thai and English) as Love Letters to Dictators. Then in October 2014, Sulak attended a history conference at Thammasat University in Bangkok. It was during this conference that Sulak made the comments for which he now faces possible criminal prosecution. (…)Sulak questioned if King Naresuan’s routing of the Burmese was true or an apocryphal tale. Sulak suggested to the academic gathering not to easily believe in things. Otherwise, you will fall prey to propaganda. In a later Facebook post, Sulak called the film propaganda used by the post-coup dictator regime. (…) A group of ultra-royalists, lead by Lt. General Padung Niwetsuwan, soon accused Sulak of lèse-majesté. That accusation is what led the military tribunal to begin its current case against Sulak. The International Network of Engaged Buddhist (INEB), which Sulak founded, released a message three days ago that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Bangkok had lodged a protest at the Thai Foreign Ministry and was informed orally that the lèse-majesté case against Sulak will likely not proceed.”[4]

PEN International: “PEN International is deeply concerned by reports that renowned writer and activist Sulak Sivaraksa is facing trial for violating article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code (lèse majesté) in a connection with a speech he gave at Thammasat University in 2014. PEN International believes that the charges against Sivaraksa are directly linked to his peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression and calls for the charges against him to be dropped immediately and unconditionally. A proponent of ‘engaged Buddhism,’ which ‘integrates the practice of Buddhism with social action for a healthy, just, and peaceful world,’ according to the International Network of Engaged Buddhists – an organisation which he co-founded in 1989 (…) The charges against Sivaraksa were initially filed on 16 October 2014 by two lieutenant generals. (…) Sivaraksa has faced charges of lèse majesté on several occasions previously in relation to his speeches and writings. In each case, he was either acquitted or the charges were dropped, according to Thai Political Prisoners. The current charges against Sivaraksa are particularly unreasonable as they do not relate to the ruling monarch, but that of a monarch who reigned from 1590-1605.”[5]

Human Rights Watch: “Thailand’s military prosecutor should drop the case against a leading scholar for insulting the monarchy for his analysis of a 16th-century battle, Human Rights Watch said today. On December 7, 2017, the military prosecutor will determine whether to proceed with the indictment of Sulak Sivaraksa, 85, for violating the Penal Code article 112 on lese majeste, which carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison. The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) junta initiated legal actions against Sulak in response to his remarks on October 5, 2014, at Thammasat University in Bangkok. The junta’s abusive use of the lese majeste law has reached a new height of absurdity when a prominent scholar is charged with a criminal offense for questioning the occurrence of a 16th-century battle, said Brad Adams, Asia director. “Academic freedom and free speech in Thailand will suffer devastating blows if the trial against Sulak proceeds.” (…) “Governments should make it clear to the Thai junta that prosecuting a renowned scholar for his historical analysis will have an enormously detrimental impact on Thailand’s reputation as a center for learning and academic freedom,” Adams said. “The case against Sulak Sivaraksa should be immediately and unconditionally dropped.[6]

Matteo Pistono: “Thai military court has postponed their decision to indict the scholar and prominent socially engaged Buddhist, Sulak Sivaraksa, on charges of criminal lèse-majesté, or defaming the monarchy, for claiming that a historic duel on elephantback never happened. (…) Sivaraksa appeared before the public prosecutor in Bangkok on December 7 expecting to hear if the military court would move forward and formally charge him with defamation or dismiss his case. He was ordered instead to return to court on January 17. At least I’m a free man for one more month, Sivaraksa told Tricycle in a telephone interview shortly after leaving court.”[7]

James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific: “To prosecute a scholar for comments he made about a battle that took place more than four centuries ago would be patently absurd. This case is an ugly reminder of the Thai authorities’ increasing use of the lèse majesté law as a tool of suppression,” [8]

Matteo Pistono: DEC 21, 201.7 Sivaraksa, the 84-year-old scholar and outspoken socially engaged Buddhist, wrote in a public letter today that the latest case against him forcriminal lèse-majesté—defamation of the monarchy—has been dropped. (…) Western governments, non-governmental organizations, and human rights campaigners have pressured Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Ministry of Justice, and the military public prosecutor not to proceed with the criminal charges against Sivaraksa. “I wish to thank you sincerely for your campaign to free me from the unjust law of lèse-majesté against me,” Sulak wrote in an email to the International Network of Engaged Buddhists(INEB). (…) There has not been any official statement from the Thai Ministry of Justice or military public prosecutors, and it may not come until mid January, when Sivaraksa has been ordered to appear before the military court.” [9]

Roshi Joan Halifax, founder of the Upaya Zen Center: “Sulak’s vision and work for the well-being of others has touched all of us. It would have been a tragedy for him to be imprisoned for speaking truth to power.” [10]

Sulak Sivaraksa: “H.M. The King has graciously advised the Prime Minister to instruct the military public prosecutors not to pursue the case any further. I am therefore a free man legally. I shall be more careful with my speech and action, but will always speak truthfully, especially to the powers that be.”[11]


Evidence 2: Illegal Imprisonments and Violations of Freedom of Expression

BBC: “Thai activist gets prison for sharing king’s profile on Facebook. A student activist in Thailand has received a prison term of two-and-a-half years after sharing a profile of King Maha Vajiralongkorn on Facebook. Jatupat Boonpattararaksa pleaded guilty to charges of defaming the monarchy. He was arrested for sharing the profile, published by BBC Thai, two days after the new king ascended the throne in December 2016. Thailand has very strict lese-majeste laws, which ban any criticism of the country’s monarchy. Mr Jatupat, an opponent of the military-backed government who has taken part in numerous protests, is the only person to be prosecuted over the article. He was one of more than 2,600 people to share the online profile of King Vajiralongkorn, 64. In December, Mr Jatupat was charged with defaming the monarchy and detained in north-eastern Thailand. The court in Khon Kaen later denied at least 10 requests for his release on bail. The student, who had initially contested the charges, agreed on Tuesday to plead guilty. He was facing up to 15 years in prison if convicted. Pleading guilty in lese-majeste cases can significantly reduce sentences in Thailand, where punishment can be severe; in June, one man was jailed for 35 years. The United Nations has joined human rights groups in criticising the heavy sentences imposed at lese-majeste trials, which have a conviction rate of more than 90% and are often held behind closed doors.”[12]

Michael Peel: “The lèse-majesté rules are arbitrary and mostly applied in secret. Anyone can bring a complaint against anyone else for whatever motive, creating parallels with the Salem witch trials. Lèse-majesté complaints are rarely dismissed by the police, who worry they will themselves be accused of the offense if they do.”[13]

The Independent: “While critics say the law does not apply to previous monarchs, the Supreme Court last year sentenced a local politician to two years in prison due to a comment he made in 2005 about King Mongkut (or Rama IV), in the current Chakri dynasty, who died in 1868.”[14]

PEN International: “Thailand’s lèse majesté laws which are among the strictest insult laws in the world have remained unchanged since 1908. Article 112 of Thailand’s Criminal Code states that “whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir to the throne or the Regent shall be punished with imprisonment of three to 15 years.” PEN International urges the authorities to amend the Criminal Code, in particular the lèse-majesté law and the articles that criminalise defamation and insult, to ensure that it meets Thailand’s international obligations to protect freedom of expression. UN human rights mechanisms have repeatedly clarified that criminal defamation and insult laws, including lèse-majesté laws, are incompatible with international standards on free expression. (—)They are also not in line with Articles 9 and 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Thailand is a state party.”[15]

UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue: “The threat of a long prison sentence and vagueness of what kinds of expression constitute defamation, insult, or threat to the monarchy, encourage self-censorship and stifle important debates on matters of public interest, thus putting in jeopardy the right to freedom of opinion and expression.”[16]

Buddhistdoor: “Thailand’s lèse-majesté laws, which forbid criticism of the monarchy, have been strongly enforced under the current military government, which seized power in a coup in 2014, and many people have been punished with jail sentences. Critics have accused the junta of using the law to silence detractors and curtail free speech, but the military government asserts that the law is necessary to protect the country’s revered monarchy.”[17]

Human Rights Watch: “Nothing in the law indicates that it can be used to encompass other figures, including past monarchs or historical narratives connected to past reigns. In recent years, however, Thai authorities have interpreted the law increasingly broadly without apparent support in the text of the law. In May 2013, the Supreme Court handed down a guilty verdict against Natchakrit Jungruengrit, ruling that he had committed lese majeste because of his comments about King Mongkut, who reigned from 1851 to 1868. The court held that “defaming the former king can affect the current king” and that “King Mongkut was the great grandfather of the current king.”  In December 2015, Thai authorities arrested factory worker Thanakorn Siripaiboon on lese majeste charges for satirical Facebook commentary about a pet dog of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. His case is currently on trial in the Bangkok Military Court. Since the May 2014 military coup in Thailand, at least 105 people have been arrested on lese majeste charges, mostly for posting or sharing critical commentary online. Military courts have imposed harsher sentences for lese majeste offenses than civilian courts did prior to the coup. Some have been convicted and sentenced to decades of imprisonment. For example, in August 2015, the Bangkok Military Court sentenced Pongsak Sriboonpeng to 60 years in prison for making a number of Facebook postings that the court ruled constitute lese majeste, the longest recorded sentence for lese majeste in Thailand’s history. Per standard Thai sentencing rules, the court reduced the sentence by half, to 30 years, when Pongsak agreed to plead guilty to the charges. The junta has further tightened its chokehold on free expression by claiming an imperative to protect the monarchy. This is despite various pledges by Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha and other senior officials, including at the United Nations Human Rights Committee in March 2017, that the government values and will respect the fundamental rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). (…) The junta’s increased use of the lese majeste law has made it more difficult for the police, prosecutors, judges, and other authorities to question the merits of lese majeste allegations – even when those allegations do not conform to the law’s wording – out of concern that they might be accused of disloyalty to the monarchy themselves.”[18]

Human Rights Watch: “Thai military authorities have accused a political party official of committing sedition and computer crimes for posting commentary critical of the junta on her Facebook page, Human Rights Watch said today. Sunisa Lertpakawat, the Pheu Thai Party spokeswoman, was ordered to report to the Police Technology Crime Suppression Division to hear the charges against her on December 13, 2017. “Bringing sedition and computer crime charges against a politician for criticism on Facebook shows the Thai junta’s growing contempt for fundamental freedoms,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “The authorities should drop the case against Sunisa immediately.” On December 6, the legal officer for the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) lodged a complaint with the police, accusing Sunisa of violating the Computer-Related Crime Act (CCA) and harming national security by distributing distorted or false information through the internet. The junta also accused Sunisa of committing sedition, alleging that her Facebook posts were not honest criticisms and caused public disaffection with the government. (…)General Prayuth’s repeated public promises to restore democratic rule and the government’s recent adoption of a so-called “national human rights agenda” have not eased the Thai military’s repressive rule, Human Rights Watch said. The junta’s record on freedom of expression has been particularly poor because Thai authorities have repeatedly harassed and prosecuted people for their speech, writings, and internet postings critical of military rule. The junta has frequently treated people who express dissenting viewsmock General Prayuth, or show support for the deposed governments of Thaksin Shinawatra and Yingluck Shinawatra as posing a threat to national security. Since the May 2014 military coup, the authorities have prosecuted at least 40 people under the draconian sedition statute, article 116 of the Criminal Code, which carries up to a seven-year prison sentence. The government has also considered posting critical commentary online about the government and military rule as an offense under article 14 of Thailand’s Computer-Related Crime Act (CCA) regarding “distorted” and “false” information, with violators facing up to five years in prison. (…) “Thailand’s generals become more firmly entrenched in power with each passing year at the expense of the Thai people’s rights,” Adams said. Pressure from concerned governments is needed for the junta to end repression, restore respect for basic rights, and return to democratic civilian rule.”[19]

The United Nations Human Rights Committee: “[T]he mere fact that forms of expression are considered to be insulting to a public figure is not sufficient to justify the imposition of penalties. … Moreover, all public figures, including those exercising the highest political authority such as heads of state and government, are legitimately subject to criticism and political opposition. Accordingly, the Committee expresses concern regarding laws on such matters as … disrespect for authority, … and the protection of the honor of public officials. [Governments] should not prohibit criticism of institutions, such as the army or the administration.” [20]

Human Rights Watch: “The junta continued to censor public discussions related to human rights, democracy, the monarchy, and the NCPO’s performance. On September 28, Amnesty International cancelled its Bangkok press conference to launch a report on torture in Thailand after authorities threatened to arrest senior Amnesty International staff for working illegally as foreigners in the country. The NCPO granted power to the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission to punish critical media. Outspoken news analysts at Voice TV and Spring News channels were suspended because of their critical reporting about military rule. In July 2016, Peace TV channel was forced off the air for 30 days. The junta regularly exercises its power to ban political assembly of more than five persons. Protesters who take part in peaceful protests to express disagreement with the junta face up to two years in prison. The junta also broadly used sedition charges, which carry up to seven years in prison, to prosecute those who express opposition to military rule. In March, the military in Chiang Mai province arrested and charged Theerawan Charoensuk with sedition for posting a photo on Facebook 0f her holding a red bowl inscribed with Thai New Year greetings from former Prime Ministers Thaksin Shinawatra and Yingluck Shonawatra. Since the coup, at least 38 people have been charged with sedition. The junta continues to prosecute people under the lese majeste (insulting the monarchy) laws, an offense punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Since the May 2014 coup, Thai authorities have charged at least 68 persons with lese majeste, mostly for posting or sharing comments online.  The crackdown has intensified since the death of King Bhumibhol Adulyadej on October 13, with the authorities arresting 10 people and investigating 194 new cases. There were at least seven cases of vigilante violence targeting those accused of making negative comments about the late king or Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, or not wearing black during the 30-day mourning period. The government in 2016 also requested that the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden, France, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Cambodia, and Laos send back Thai citizens who sought political asylum from persecution under lese majeste charges.”[21]

Amnesty International: “The authorities sought to silence those raising concerns about torture and other ill-treatment. In September, Amnesty International was forced to cancel a press conference in the capital Bangkok to launch a report on torture, after officials threatened to arrest the scheduled speakers.[22] Somchai Homla-or, Anchana Heemmina and Pornpen Khongkachonkiet were charged with criminal defamation and violations of the Computer Crime Act for reporting on torture by soldiers in southern Thailand.[23] A 25-year-old woman faced similar charges after campaigning to hold accountable military officers responsible for the torture and killing of her uncle, a military trainee. (…)Journalist Pravit Rojanaphruk, like many others previously arbitrarily detained, remained bound by restrictive conditions of release. He was prevented from travelling to Helsinki for a UNESCO World Press Freedom Day event.”[24]

Amnesty International: “THAILAND 2016/2017. The military authorities further restricted human rights. Peaceful political dissent, whether through speech or protests, and acts perceived as critical of the monarchy were punished or banned. Politicians, activists and human rights defenders faced criminal investigations and prosecutions for, among other things, campaigning against a proposed Constitution and reporting on state abuses. Many civilians were tried in military courts. Torture and other ill-treatment was widespread. Community land rights activists faced arrest, prosecution and violence for opposing development projects and advocating for the rights of communities. (…) Peaceful critics were penalized for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, of peaceful assembly and of association. Individuals perceived as supporting government critics – including relatives, members of the public, lawyers and journalists – also faced harassment and prosecution. The Constitutional Referendum Act, which governed the August referendum, provided for up to 10 years’ imprisonment for activities and statements “causing confusion to affect orderliness of voting”, including by using “offensive” or “rude” language to influence votes. The law was used to target those who opposed the draft Constitution. More than 100 people were reportedly charged with offences related to the referendum.[25] (…)Amendments to the Computer Crimes Act allowed for continued surveillance without prior judicial authorization and failed to bring the law in line with international law and standards on the rights to privacy and freedom of expression. The authorities also considered increased online surveillance and greater control of internet traffic. Individuals were charged with or convicted of offences under Article 112 of the Penal Code for criticizing the monarchy. The Article carried a prison sentence of up to 15 years. Military courts interpreted the provisions broadly and imposed sentences of up to 60 years’ imprisonment for convictions on multiple counts of the offence, including against people with mental illnesses. Bail was routinely denied to those arrested under Article 112. (…)The authorities continued to use Head of NCPO Order 3/2015 to arbitrarily detain individuals incommunicado for up to seven days without charge for what became known as “attitude adjustment” sessions.[26] (…) Human rights defenders faced prosecution, imprisonment, harassment and physical violence for their peaceful work. Sirikan Charoensiri, a leading human rights lawyer, was charged with multiple offences, including sedition, for her legal work. She faced up to 15 years’ imprisonment. Economic, social and cultural rights activists were subject to prosecutions and lawsuits initiated by private corporations, often for alleged defamation or violations of the Computer Crimes Act. A gold mining company had initiated criminal and civil proceedings against at least 33 people who opposed its operations. Andy Hall, a migrants’ rights activist, was convicted in September for his contribution to a report on labour rights violations by a fruit company.[27] Human rights defenders, especially those working on land issues or with community-based organizations, faced harassment, threats and physical violence. In April, unidentified assailants shot and injured Supoj Kansong, a land rights activist from the Khlong Sai Pattana community in southern Thailand. Four activists from that community had previously been killed; by the end of the year no one had been held accountable for the killings.[28] In October, the Department of Special Investigations informed human rights lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit’s family that it was closing its investigation into his enforced disappearance in 2004, due to lack of evidence.”[29]

The Guardian: “Amnesty International has cancelled the public launch of a report on torture inThailand after police in Bangkok warned the rights group that its representatives might be arrested and prosecuted for visa violations. The report accuses Thai soldiers and police of torture, including of suspected insurgents, government opponents, alleged drug users and members of ethnic minorities. The London-based advocacy group had flown in members of its UK team for the event, which was to be held at a hotel in central Bangkok and attended by diplomats, journalists and local human rights activists. Members of Thailand’s police special branch and the department of employment had also turned up. (…) An hour after the press conference was due to start, Nadthasiri Bergman, a Thai legal adviser to Amnesty, said the authorities “insist that they are not closing the event down, but they qualify that if representatives of Amnesty International speak there will be consequences and they will subject to arrest and prosecuted under Thai labour law”. Despite the alleged threats, Yuval Gimbar, who researched the report, spoke to the media in the hotel lobby by the lifts, 20 metres from where the event was due to be held. “We know that the Thai government does not accept criticism very well,” he said. [But] in the 21st century you can’t really shut people up. You can try. I think what they did probably gave us more voice then if they had let us exercise peacefully our human right to freedom of expression.”[30]

FIDH: “A United Nations (UN) body has demanded Thai authorities immediately and unconditionally release lèse-majesté detainee Pongsak Sriboonpeng, according to information received by FIDH. In an opinion issued on 21 November 2016, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) requested that Thailand immediately release Pongsak and award him compensation for the arbitrary detention to which he has been subjected. The UNWGAD expressed its concern over the pattern of arbitrary detentions involving lèse-majesté cases (…)FIDH and its member organization Union for Civil Liberty (UCL) today welcomed the UNWGAD’s opinion and called on the Thai government to immediately and unconditionally release all individuals detained or imprisoned under Article 112 of the Criminal Code (lèse-majesté). Article 112 prescribes prison sentences from three to 15 years for persons found guilty of defaming, insulting, or threatening the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent, or the Regent. In its opinion, the UNWGAD declared that Pongsak’s detention is arbitrary because it contravenes Articles 10, 11, and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and Articles 14 and 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Thailand is a state party. The referenced provisions of the UDHR and ICCPR guarantee the fundamental right to liberty, the right to a fair trial, and the right to freedom of opinion and expression. On 7 August 2015, Pongsak, a 49-year-old former tour guide, was sentenced to 60 years in prison by the Bangkok Military Court after being convicted on six counts of lèse-majesté – 10 years for each count – during a closed-door hearing. The court halved the sentence to 30 years in consideration of Pongsak’s guilty plea. Pongsak’s case is featured in the joint FIDH-UCL report 36 and counting – Lèse-majesté imprisonment under Thailand’s military junta. The UNWGAD found that Pongsak was detained “solely for the peaceful exercise of his rights to freedom of opinion and expression.” The UNWGAD said that Pongsak’s comments on social media concerning members of the Thai royal family fell within the boundaries of opinion and expression protected by Article 19 of the UDHR and Article 19 of the ICCPR. The UNWGAD added that the Thai government failed to demonstrate that any of the restrictions on the right to freedom of expression permitted under Article 19(3) of the ICCPR applied to Pongsak’s case. The UNWGAD also ruled that Pongsak’s right to a fair trial was not respected. The UN body found “several serious violations” of the international norms relating to the right to a fair trial. Firstly, the UNWGAD said the Bangkok Military Court did not provide a “public hearing,” as required by Article 14(1) of the ICCPR. Secondly, it underlined that the Bangkok Military Court did not meet the standard of a “competent, independent and impartial tribunal,” as set out in Article 14(1) of the ICCPR. Finally, it noted that the absence of the right of appeal violated Pongsak’s right to a review of his conviction and sentence by a higher tribunal under Article 14(5) of the ICCPR. The UNWGAD reiterated that the trial of civilians by military courts violates the ICCPR and customary international law, and that military courts can only be competent to try military personnel for military offenses. On 12 September 2016, the ruling military junta, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), issued NCPO Order 55/2016, which ended the practice of trying civilians in military courts. However, the order applies only to alleged offenses committed from 12 September 2016 and excludes past cases or ongoing trials in military courts. Since the 22 May 2014 coup d’état, military courts have sentenced 27 lèse-majesté defendants to lengthy prison terms. At least 31 lèse-majesté cases remain under the jurisdiction of military tribunals. The UNWGAD called on the Thai government to bring Article 112 of the Criminal Code in conformity with Thailand’s commitments under international human rights law. (…) Pongsak is the fourth Thai lèse-majesté detainee whose deprivation of liberty has been declared arbitrary by the UNWGAD. On 30 August 2012, 19 November 2014, and 2 December 2015, the UNWGAD determined that the detentions of former magazine editor Somyot Phrueksakasemsuk and student activists Patiwat Saraiyaem (aka Bank) and Pornthip Munkong (aka Golf) respectively, were also arbitrary. The UNWGAD called on the Thai government to release the three and accord them compensation. On 12 August 2016, Patiwat was released from the Bangkok Remand Prison as a result of a royal amnesty marking Queen Sirikit’s 84th birthday. On 27 August 2016, Pornthip was released from the Central Women’s Correctional Institution in Bangkok as part of the same amnesty. Somyot remains detained in the Bangkok Remand Prison, where he is serving a 10-year prison sentence under Article 112 of the Criminal Code. Under the NCPO, the number of individuals detained or imprisoned under Article 112 of the Criminal Code has increased dramatically. Since the 22 May 2014 military coup, at least 90 individuals have been arrested under Article 112. Forty-three of them were sentenced to prison terms of up to 30 years. To date, at least 58 individuals are either imprisoned or detained awaiting trial on lèse-majesté charges. At the time of the 22 May 2014 coup, there were six individuals behind bars on lèse-majesté charges.”[31]

UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD): “under certain circumstances, widespread or systematic imprisonment or other severe deprivation of liberty in violation of the rules of international law, may constitute crimes against humanity.” [32]

Dimitris Christopoulos, FIDH President: “The skyrocketing number of arbitrary detentions of lèse-majesté defendants under Thailand’s military junta has severely damaged the country’s international image. If this trend continues, there is a real chance that the junta’s extreme campaign to protect the monarchy could amount to crimes against humanity.” [33]

Jaturong Boonyarattanasoontorn, UCL Chairman: “The Thai government’s incoherent justifications for the abuse of Article 112 have been exposed by numerous UN human rights bodies. It is abundantly evident that the callous enforcement of Article 112 is incompatible with Thailand’s international human rights commitments. The junta must stop carrying out arbitrary arrests under Article 112, reform the law to conform to international standards, and release all lèse-majesté detainees.” [34]

Emma Richards: “THAILAND’S National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) will make a decision today on a controversial media regulation bill that has been criticised by local media as being a form of state control. Thirty media organisations in Thailand came together to express their concern against the impending bill that they say could curtail press freedom further in a country that already struggles with extreme censorship. The collection of media organisations, which included The National Union of Journalists of Thailand (NUJT) and Thai Journalists Association (TJA), were joined by the International Federation of Journalists and the South East Asia Journalist Unions on Tuesday in their denunciation of the bill that they say is not based on principles of free press. The junta-appointed NRSA media reform panel insisted on pushing through the controversial media regulation bill on Monday despite the calls from media groups to scrap it. It is being presented once again to the NRSA today for further deliberations. If endorsed, the draft will be forwarded to parliament for final approval. The NRSA remains adamant the measure is not designed to constrain freedom of the press but media outlets have genuine and real concerns that, if passed into law, it will directly affect the media’s role in scrutinising the state and hinder the public’s right to gain access to information. (…)A crucial point of concern is that the bill will include the establishment of a “national media profession council” that will be empowered to penalise media outlets that violate the code of conduct. Four of the 13 members of this council will be government members, namely the permanent secretaries of finance, digital economy and society, culture, and the Office of the Prime Minister. Another controversial aspect of the bill is the requirement for all media professionals – including journalists, news readers, radio presenters, television hosts – to be registered, gain a licence and to carry a media identity card, with the threat of losing their registration and heavy fines for ethical breaches. The conditions for issuing and revoking the licence will be decided by the national media profession council. This has understandably led to outcry from those concerned with press freedom in the country. (…)The media groups have acknowledged the need for ethical regulation in the industry but claim that they have been taking substantial steps towards self-governing and decry any involvement from the government. (…) the bill, which empowers the council to order and guide media reform, is tantamount to signing a blank cheque and fears have been ignited that the repercussions could be disastrous to a press that is already burdened by the amended Computer Crime Act and the lese majeste laws. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha has often been accused of being anti-press and was labelled as a ‘Predator of Press Freedom’ by Reporters Without Borders for the last two years running. The report pointed out that Chan-ocha “has gagged not only reporters, bloggers and news outlets, but also performers, intellectuals, academics, opposition politicians and anyone regarded as overly critical of himself and his junta.” The “Freedom of the Press” report – published annually by Freedom House – downgraded the country from “partly free” to “not free” in 2013, and claims that press freedom continued to deteriorate in 2015 following the 2014 military coup. It is unlikely to improve its position any time soon, and may even find its score slip further, given that the generals have gifted themselves almost unlimited power and continue to hand down numerous particularly harsh sentences for the notorious lese majeste law, which prohibits criticism of the monarchy. (…) Critics fear the law is being purely as a tool with which to silence dissenters. The fear is that the new media bill will be yet another instrument with which Chan-ocha can punish those that express any level of opposition to his position or policies, leaving the press hobbled in their attempts to produce critical analysis of the ruling party. Those with a concern for the impartiality of Thailand’s press should take note, today’s decision from the NRSA could have a lasting impact on an industry already struggling for its liberty. If approved, fears will be reignited that the ruling military junta is resolutely tightening the noose on civil liberties, the right to dissent and freedom of the press.”[35]

Thai Journalists Association (TJA)  president Wanchai Wongmeechai: “The NRSA’s draft law can lead to conditions that allow interference in the media’s work,” (…) “This is not media reform but an attempt to control the media.” [36]

Edgardo Legaspi, director of the South East Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA): “The media reform bill might actually result in the ability to control who gets to publish newspapers or who gets to report news or not. Actually it’s like a 40 year plus leap backward since 1973, when the 1973 democratic movement removed the authority of the military to shut down the papers,” [37]

Confederation of Thai Journalists president, Thepchai Yong: “We’re not against ethical regulations but they should be self-regulation. The bill will make way for political intervention because the permanent secretaries are appointed by politicians,”. [38]

Chartchai Na Chiangmai, a member of the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC): “Section 35 of the new constitution clearly states that media professionals have the right to present information, and express opinions in accordance with professional ethics,” “Censorship is not allowed either, except during wartime,” [39]

Pavin Chachavalpongpun – THE DIPLOMAT: “The exploitation of lèse-majesté laws for political gain are undermining human rights in Thailand. Violence is looming. Thailand’s human rights situation has set alarm bells ringing, as the space for freedom of expression becomes frighteningly constrained. Indeed, open discussion of the much revered monarchy risks becoming a taboo in the country as groups aligned with the royalists continue to exploit lèse-majesté laws to silence political dissent. Since the military coup in 2006, cases of lèse-majesté have multiplied. In 2005, 33 charges came before the Court of First Instance, which later handed down 18 decisions in these cases. By 2007, the number of charges increased almost fourfold, to 126. This number jumped to 164 in 2009, and then tripled to 478 cases in 2010. The most dramatic increases occurred under the Democrat Party-led government of Abhisit Vejjajiva, which adopted a royalist line strongly backed by the military. But it has been a number of recent high-profile cases that have really underscored the misuse of lèse-majesté law and the gross violations of human rights taking place in Thailand today. The arrest of a 62-year-old Thai-Chinese man, Amphon “Akong” Tangnoppakul, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison, shocked many Thais. He allegedly sent four text messages insulting the Queen and the Crown Prince. Amphon has always maintained his innocence. Joe Gordon, or Lerpong Wichaikhammat, a Thai-born American, was jailed for two and a half years in Thailand after posting online excerpts from banned book, The King Never Smiles, while living in the United States. The U.S. government criticized the lèse-majesté law, but was taken aback by the response of Thai hyper-royalists, who called for the expulsion of the U.S. ambassador to Bangkok.    More staggeringly, Abhinya Sawatvarakorn, nicknamed Kantoop, or “Joss Stick”, a 19-year-old student at Thammasat University, will be charged with lèse-majesté over comments she made on Facebook two years ago. Kantoop was accused of committing lèse-majesté in April 2009 while she was still in high school. She will be one of the youngest ever to be charged under the law, and has already been through a catalogue of “social punishments.” For example, she was reportedly refused admission into Silpakorn University, where some professors painted her as an anti-monarchy figure. She also had a shoe thrown at her by a student at the esteemed Thammasat University, where she currently studies, and has been forced to change her name to avoid being recognized – and possibly attacked. Recognizing the unprecedented surge of charges under the lèse-majesté law, young law professors from Thammasat University, who formed the group called Nitirat, or “law for the people,” have been campaigning for amendments to the law. But an even more important objective for them has been to create a more equal society, in which people are not forced to live in fear simply because they disagree with the role of the monarchy in politics. In essence, Nitirat has proposed relaxing penalties, and only allowing the Office of His Majesty’s Principal Private Secretary to deal with complaints regarding lèse-majesté cases to prevent misuses of the law. But the group is now being accused by hyper-royalists of attempting to overthrow the monarchy. Being accused of trying to overthrow the monarchy is a serious claim in Thailand, and the process of branding political enemies of being disloyal to the royal family serves to justify the elimination of such enemies through the most vicious means. In recent weeks, Nitirat and its supporters have been harassed, and their human rights violated. Indeed, the hyper-royalists have grown increasingly malicious over Nitirat’s campaign, with Army Chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha branding Nitirat supporters “abnormal people,” and urging them to leave the country because of their supposed disrespect toward the monarchy. At the same time, members of the opposition Democrat Party have launched their own war of words against Nitirat. “These law professors are the scum of the earth,” Chavanond Indarakomartsut, deputy spokesman of the Democrat Party, reportedly told reporters. The Yellow Shirt People’s Alliance for Democracy has gone even further, calling for the military to launch a coup to defend the monarchy. A death threat has been sent to the group, calling for members of Nitirat to be beheaded and their heads put on stakes outside Thammasat University, or else be burned alive in front of their houses. This witch hunt is eerily reminiscent of the violent incidents that took place in 1973 and 1976 when Thammasat students fighting against despotic regimes were accused of plotting to topple the monarchy and were subsequently massacred. Thirty-six years on, the monarchy is once again central in a Thai crisis. The division over the lèse-majesté law is deepening dangerously, with no sign the opposing camps are willing to work to find a peaceful solution. Joining Nitirat in its campaign is a group of 224 noted international scholars, writers, and activists who sent an open letter to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra expressing grave concern over the use of lèse-majesté laws and the erosion of the basic rights of those who face charges under it. The letter explicitly supports the call to reform the law in line with the amendment proposal by the Nitirat. Among the signatories are Noam Chomsky, Amitav Ghosh, Tariq Ali, Chris Hedges, Robert Meeropol and Ariel Dorfman. Differences over the lèse-majesté law have the potential to trigger political violence between the two groups. Sadly, while the focus is on the protection of the monarchy, the protection of the people’s basic rights are plainly being ignored.”[40]

HUMAN RIGHTS NOW: “Human Rights Now signed an open letter with 86 organizations from around the world to express our outrage that 14 migrant workers are being charged for criminal defamation after reporting conditions of gross abuse to the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand. We demand that Thailand to repeal its abusive labor law and ensure workers can report abuse freely without fear of retaliation. Migrant workers prosecuted for reporting exploitation in Thailand. Global coalition calls for end to prosecutorial persecution with criminal defamation law. – Prosecution of migrant workers and their advocates under criminal defamation laws for reporting violations of Thailand’s labor law violates Thailand’s international legal obligations and business’ obligations to respect human rights under the U.N. Guiding Principles framework, said a coalition of 87 civil society groups, worker organizations, businesses and members of the European Parliament in an open letter sent to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha today. The letter is a reaction to criminal defamation charges brought by Thammakaset Company Limited on October 6, 2016, against 14 poultry farm workers from Myanmar who alleged the company seriously violated their rights. Migrant rights activist Andy Hall also faces criminal defamation charges related to the case. The 14 migrant workers now face up to one and a half years’ imprisonment and/or fines of up to 30,000 Thai baht (US$900) for criminal defamation and other charges brought by Thammakaset Co. Ltd. Andy Hall is also facing potential imprisonment of up to 7 years and fines up to 300,000 Thai baht (US$9,000) for alleged criminal defamation and violations under the CCA. “Unscrupulous employers in Thailand are shamelessly using criminal defamation to keep migrant workers vulnerable and exploitable,” said Abby McGill, Campaigns Director at the International Labor Rights Forum. “Thailand is one of the few nations in the world that has bucked the global trend of eradicating these laws. Instead, prosecutions against human rights defenders are on the rise, sending a dangerous chilling effect to workers who would speak out. Thailand must end this practice.” “Using draconian laws to go after investigators and workers seeking to document how companies in Thailand violate national labor laws and workers’ rights has a chilling impact on research into corporate supply chains,” said Phil Robertson, Deputy Asia Director at Human Rights Watch. (…) Thammakaset Co. Ltd. alleged that the 14 migrant workers damaged the company’s reputation by filing a complaint on July 7, 2016 to the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand (NHRCT), claiming that the Company paid less than minimum wage, failed to pay overtime wages, restricted workers freedom of movement and confiscated their identity documents, including passports, violating Thailand’s Labor Protection Act. On August 31, 2016, the NHRCT found that Thammakaset Co. Ltd. failed to pay minimum and overtime wages as well as provide adequate leave to workers, but rejected allegations of forced labor and restrictions on the freedom of movement. The Thai Supreme Court last week upheld a lower court ruling that Thammakaset Ltd. Co. had violated Thailand’s 1998 Labor Protection Act on the chicken farm where the 14 workers were employed and ordered the company to pay the 14 workers 1.7 million Thai baht (US$51,000) in compensation. If Thailand wishes to be a responsible actor in monitoring supply chains and ensuring compliance with international labor standards, according to the organizations that signed the letter, it should act more decisively to protect the ability of all workers to exercise their fundamental rights and seek just redress for any violations or abuses without fear of retaliation or reprisals. The letter calls on the Thai government to: De-criminalize defamation by amending the Section 326-328 of the Thai Criminal Code, and the 2007 Computer Crimes Act; ensure the right to freedom of expression for workers who report on labor rights abuses allegedly committed by their employers; publicly discourage employer federations and national-level employer congresses from bringing criminal defamation and other unwarranted legal proceedings against migrant workers and human rights activists working to promote and protect human rights in the context of business operations; and amend Sections 88 and 101 of the 1975 Labor Relations Act to permit registered migrant workers to exercise the right to establish and serve in the leadership of a labor union. It further requests greater enforcement of Thai labor law and development of improved human rights policies and practices among Thai companies.”[41]

BBC: “Andy Hall: Thai court finds UK activist guilty of defamation. A UK activist who campaigned for the rights of migrant workers in Thailand’s fruit industry has been found guilty of defamation and computer crimes. (…) Hall had contributed to a report by a Finnish watchdog, Finnwatch, in 2013 alleging the Natural Fruit Company mistreated its workers. Finnwatch said it was “shocked” by the verdict. “Andy has been made a scapegoat in order to stifle other voices that speak out legitimately in support of migrant worker rights,” said executive director Sonja Vartiala. “This is a sad day for freedom of expression in Thailand. We fear that many other human rights defenders and victims of company abuse will be scared to silence by this ruling.” (…)The Finnwatch report – Cheap has a High Price – included allegations that migrant workers were being paid wages below the legal minimum, working long hours at factories and had had their passports illegally confiscated. Natural Fruit, one of Thailand’s biggest pineapple producers, denied all the allegations and brought charges against Hall, who was living in Thailand at the time. Owner Wirat Piyapornpaiboon had said the report caused damage to him and his company. Thailand has grown to become one of the world’s biggest food producers, but is repeatedly criticised for the treatment of migrant workers. The frequent use of the criminal defamation law in Thailand to silence critics has been condemned by human rights groups. The US-based Human Rights Watch said Hall had co-ordinated “important research” and that prosecuting him raised serious questions about Thailand’s readiness to protect workers’ rights[42]

Human Rights Watch: “Thailand has faced a deepening rights crisis since the 2014 military coup. Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha and his junta rule with impunity. The junta has banned political activity and peaceful assembly, enforced censorship, arbitrarily arrested activists and dissidents, and detained civilians in military facilities. Lese majeste (insulting the monarchy), sedition, and computer crime charges have been widely used to suppress free speech. In the southern border provinces, rights abuses continue unabated in the conflict between separatist groups and security forces. Over three million migrant workers face systematic abuse and exploitation, including trafficking. Asylum seekers, including ethnic Uyghurs from China and Rohingya from Burma, are subject to arrest and deportation.”[43]

Amy Smith, Executive Director of Fortify Rights: “Human rights are a work in progress in Thailand,” “Now is the time for Thailand to remedy past violations and fortify the future of human rights in the country.” “Human rights defenders play a critical role in rights-respecting societies “Rights defenders should be protected and championed, not harassed and imprisoned.” [44]


Evidence 3: Extrajudicial Murders, Impunity and Violation of the Right to Justice

The Telegraph: “Abhisit Vejjajiva, the Old Etonian prime minister of Thailand, was accused of crimes against humanity during military operations to break up the Bangkok riots earlier this year in a complaint lodged on Tuesday at the International Criminal Court (ICC). Mr Abhisit, who is expected to host David Cameron during the UK prime minister’s holiday in Thailand at Christmas, was accused of ordering a military operation against Red Shirt demonstrators that left 90 dead and more than 1,800 injured. The embattled Thai leader was one of 15 senior figures, mostly from the military, said to be responsible for targeted assassinations, torture, illegal detention and inhumane acts by military forces (…)Supporters of Thaksin Shinawatra, the ex-prime minister deposed in 2006, blockaded the centre of Bangkok in an attempt to force Mr Abhisit’s government – which was installed under heavy military and royalist pressure on MPs – to resign. After weeks of turmoil, the army moved in to clear the streets of protesters. Parts of Bangkok were declared a “live fire zone”. The opposition report said activists had documented the execution of a number of people by army snipers. Among the victims were Major-General Khattiya Sawasdipol, known as Seh Daeng, or “Commander Red”, three nurses working in a temple and Fabio Polenghi, an Italian photographer. Under ICC rules, the chief prosecutor has eight weeks to examine the petition before deciding on whether or not to bring charges. Mr Abhisit is also facing a court verdict that could see his Democrat Party dissolved, a development that would also trigger his resignation.[45]

Human Rights Watch: “The Thai Supreme Court’s dismissal of criminal charges against a former prime minister and his deputy for their role in the deadly crackdown on “Red Shirt” protesters in May 2010 is a serious setback for justice in Thailand, Human Rights Watch said today. International human rights law makes clear that official status cannot justify immunity from criminal responsibility for serious human rights violations. On August 31, 2017, the supreme court ruled that the criminal courts have no jurisdiction to put on trial former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and former Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban. The court held that the case can only be investigated by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), which is responsible for malfeasance cases against officials, effectively ruling out any criminal prosecutions of the two men.  “Letting Abhisit and Suthep off the hook for grave abuses because they held government positions violates basic principles of justice and international human rights law,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “Despite overwhelming evidence that soldiers killed protesters, medics, reporters, and bystanders during the 2010 upheavals, Thailand’s institutions are failing to ensure justice for those responsible for the bloody crackdown.” The confrontations between the Abhisit government and the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), popularly known as the “Red Shirts,” took place between April 7 and May 19, 2010, and resulted in at least 98 deaths and more than 2,000 injuries. The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) issued a finding in September 2012 indicating 36 deaths were caused by gunshots fired by soldiers acting on the orders of the Center of the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES). Abhisit set up CRES and placed it under Suthep’s command.  By referring the case to the NACC, the supreme court transformed an important criminal investigation into an administrative inquiry regarding abuse of official positions. The ruling contravenes Thailand’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other human rights treaties to ensure the right to an effective remedy for victims of serious human rights violations, including unlawful killings. A victim’s right to an effective remedy requires that the government take the necessary investigative, judicial, and reparatory steps to redress the violation and address the victim’s rights to knowledge, justice, and reparations. The government is under a continuing obligation to provide an effective remedy; there is no time limit on legal action and the right cannot be compromised even because of a state of emergency. (…) These rulings effectively mean that there is no longer any way to bring the case against Abhisit and Suthep to the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions. Contrary to the NACC’s conclusion that the use of force by the CRES was justified and followed standard procedures, Human Rights Watch found that soldiers used live ammunition starting on the afternoon of April 10, 2010 – killing and wounding protesters, journalists, and bystanders – many hours before armed “Black Shirt” militants, who operated in close proximity with protesters, showed up and fought with soldiers. Human Rights Watch’s May 2011 report, “Descent into Chaos: Thailand’s 2010 Red Shirt Protests and the Government Crackdown,” documented that excessive and unnecessary force by the military caused many deaths and injuries during the 2010 political confrontations. (…) in September 2012 by the independent Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand (TRCT), which recommended the authorities “address legal violations by all parties through the justice system, which must be fair and impartial.” The prospects for justice for victims of the 2010 violence, which have long been bleak, appear to have been totally destroyed. Over the past seven years, successive Thai governments made insufficient efforts to prosecute policy makers, soldiers, and commanding officers responsible for the killings. Yet at the same time, the government has moved to prosecute UDD protest leaders and their supporters with serious criminal offenses. “Impunity for state-sponsored violence remains the name of the game in Thailand,” Adams said. “It’s beyond outrageous that until today not a single government official, military commander, or soldier has been punished for the many deaths and injuries they inflicted in 2010.[46]

Human Rights Watch: “There still has been zero justice for past state-sponsored abuses. The Prayut government has shown no interest in investigating more than 2,000 extrajudicial killings related to then-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s “war on drugs” in 2003. No policy makers, commanders, or soldiers have been punished for wrongful use of force during the 2010 political confrontations in Bangkok, which left at least 90 dead and more than 2,000 injured. Nor have any security personnel been criminally prosecuted for human rights violations in the southern border provinces, where separatist insurgents have also committed numerous abuses against civilians in violation of international humanitarian law. The killing and enforced disappearance of human rights defenders and other activists remains a pressing concern. Thai authorities and private companies have increasingly used defamation lawsuits under the Penal Code and the Computer Crimes Act to retaliate against those reporting human rights violations.”[47]

Human Rights Watch: “On September 12, General Prayut revoked three NCPO orders that empowered military courts to try civilians for national security offenses, including sedition and lese majeste. However, the action is not retroactive and does not affect the more than 1,800 cases already brought against civilians in military courts. The military also retains power to arrest, detain, and interrogate civilians for a wide range of offenses without safeguards against abuse or accountability for human rights violations. The NCPO summarily dismissed allegations that the military has tortured and ill-treated detainees, even after the death of fortune-teller Suriyan Sucharitpolwong and Police Maj. Prakrom Warunprapa—both charged with lese majeste—during their detention at the 11th Army Circle military base in Bangkok in November 2015. At time of writing, 45 civilians were detained at the remand facility inside the 11th Army Circle military base in Bangkok without effective safeguards against abuse. (…)Despite evidence showing that government security forces were responsible for the majority of casualties during the 2010 political confrontation, which left at least 90 dead and more than 2,000 injured, no policymakers from the then Abhisit Vejjajiva government or military personnel have been charged for unlawfully killing and wounding protesters or passersby. (…)The government still failed to prosecute security force personnel responsible for illegal killings, torture, and other abuses against ethnic Malay Muslims. In many cases, Thai authorities provided financial compensation to victims or their families in exchange for their agreement not to pursue criminal prosecution of abusive officials. (…)The penal code still does not recognize enforced disappearance as a criminal offense. Since 1980, the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances has recorded 82 cases of enforced disappearance in Thailand. Many of these cases implicated Thai officials—including the disappearances of prominent Muslim lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit in March 2004, and ethnic Karen activist Por Cha Lee “Billy” Rakchongcharoen in April 2014. None have been successfully resolved. The killing and enforced disappearance of more than 30 human rights defenders and other civil society activists since 2001 remains a serious blot on Thailand’s human rights record. Even high-profile cases investigated by the Justice Ministry’s Department of Special Investigation rarely result in prosecution. Police made no progress in investigating the fate of land rights activist Den Khamlae, who went missing in a forest near his home in Chaiyaphum province in April 2016. Government pledges to develop measures to protect human rights defenders remained unfulfilled. Thai authorities and private companies continue to use defamation lawsuits to retaliate against those reporting human rights violations. On September 20, the Bangkok South Criminal Court found British labor rights activist Andy Hall guilty of criminal defamation and violating the Computer Crime Act and sentenced him to four years in prison (which the judge suspended because Hall’s work was considered beneficial to Thai society). Hall’s conviction was based on a complaint filed by Natural Fruit Co. Ltd.—one of Thailand’s biggest pineapple processors—regarding a report alleging serious labor rights abuses at one of its factories. Hall left Thailand on November 7, saying he feared for his safety amid legal problems and growing harassment. In July, the military filed a complaint against prominent activists Somchai Homlaor, Pornpen Khongkachonkie, and Anchana Heemmina, accusing them of criminal defamation and violating the Computer Crimes Act for reporting about torture and other ill-treatment of insurgent suspects in the southern border provinces. In September, the military accused Sirikan Charoensiri, a key member of Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, of sedition for accompanying and providing legal assistance to activists from the New Democracy Movement during their peaceful anti-coup protest in Bangkok in June 2015. (…)The government has failed to pursue criminal investigations of extrajudicial killings related to anti-drug operations, especially the more than 2,800 killings that accompanied then-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s “war on drugs” in 2003.”[48]

Robert Amsterdam: “This week my law firm participated in the filing of a preliminary report on behalf of the Thai Red Shirt movement and others to notify the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court with regard to the situation of recent political violence, arguing that an investigation into the alleged commission of crimes against humanity by the authorities is merited.[49]  In the preparation of this document as well as other future filings, our team on the ground in Bangkok has interviewed at length dozens of witnesses and survivors for details of the events which resulted in the violent crackdown of the Red Shirt protest camp. These testimonies, published for the first time in this document, are a chilling reminder of the urgency of international action on this issue (…) the Red Shirt leaders surrendered and advised everyone to go to the Pathumwanaran temple complex for safe refuge. In the temple, the witnesses report everyone was peaceful. As it was notsafe outside, people could not go home yet. Between 16:00 and 17:00, witnesses reported seeing five soldiers on the lower train track of the BTS platform in front of the entrance to the temple, many meters above street level, from where they could see directly into the temple area. Inside the temple, the first aid tent was clearly marked with a red cross. At about 18:30 the soldiers started to shoot into the temple area, without warning. At that time, the first aid tent and medical volunteers also came under fire. Three nurses were shot, Kamibked Akhard, Mongkol Kemthong, and Akkharadej Khankaew, who slowly died. These soldiers from the First Region Army shot at everything that moved, preventing anyone to reach the first aid tent to help. At 19:00 hours, a group of soldiers came shouting obscenities at the people assembled inside the temple. When some tried to drag the bodies of the nurses to safer area into the temple ground, the soldiers targeted them again. The shooting stopped at approximately 20:00 hours. The next morning, six dead bodies were lined up in the rear garden of the temple area. Several other witnesses that provided statements corroborate this account. Officially, an additional sixty civilians died during the weeklong crackdown that resulted in the Red Shirts’ dispersal on May 19. Despite repeated accusations of “terrorism” leveled at the UDD, no security forces died during the operations, while none of the people gunned down by the authorities proved to have been carrying weapons. Once again, in crushing the Red Shirts the Abhisit administration and Royal Thai Army appear to have ignored crowd control principles altogether. Contrary to “international standards such as the “United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Fire Arms by Law Enforcement Officials,” its dispersal operations made little use of “non-lethal incapacitating weapons.” No care whatsoever appears to have been taken to “minimize the risk of endangering uninvolved persons” and to “preserve human life.” Its shoot-to-kill policy for demonstrators burning tires and setting off firecrackers does not appear to constitute a response undertaken “in proportion to the seriousness of the offense.” Attacks on medical workers were not ordered in the interest of ensuring that “assistance and medical aid are rendered to any injured or affected persons at the earliest possible moment.” Even if the Red Shirts demonstrations could be regarded as “violent” and “unlawful” — if only because the State of Emergency declared them to be illegal — the wealth of eyewitness accounts that emerged from the government’s live fire zones strongly suggests that the use of force was not limited to the minimum extent necessary. (…)The killings of April-May 2010 were not isolated or sporadic incidents, but were rather theresult of coordinated plans in response to the Red Shirts demonstrations. Armed forces wererepeatedly mobilized and the instructions were conveyed along a chain of command, including civilian links within the Abhisit government. Shortly preceding the military clearingoperation on April 10, 2010, for example, the government declared a State of Emergency, giving the troops what Reporters Without Borders calls “a license to kill” — that is, Carte blanche to use whatever force was deemed necessary to clear the areas. It seems clear, therefore, that the highest levels of the Abhisit regime either knew or tacitly approved of theoperations, without consideration for the likelihood that they would result in unnecessary lossof human life. In conclusion, the armed forces of the military, instructed by the de facto government, carried out an attack against the Red Shirt civilian population according to a“state or organizational policy” devised and approved at the highest levels of the country’s civilian and military leadership. In Bangkok, the scale and the duration of the killings, Together with manner in which theywere conducted, suggests that both criteria may have been met. On the one hand, an aggregatecasualty toll of ninety civilians killed and approximately two thousand injured over a forty-day period attests to the “widespread” nature of the attack. On the other hand, the repeatedoccurrence of similar incidents across time and space demonstrates the “systematic,” non-random nature of the offenses. This is explained by the fact that the armed forces werefollowing the rules of engagement set on the basis of a common policy; the attack, which hadbeen thoroughly planned, involved substantial public resources of the government”[50]

Amsterdam & Partners LLP: “On July 22, 2010, Amsterdam & Partners launched a seminal White Paper highlighting the crimes against humanity committed by the Thai Army against peaceful protesters and bystanders during the April-May 2010 Bangkok massacre.[51] The White Paper highlighted Thailand’s obligations under International Law to allow independent and impartial bodies to investigate and prosecute all responsible parties for the killings of at least 91 Thai citizens. Speaking at the time of the launch of the paper, Robert Amsterdam said, The recent violence in Thailand is part of a larger campaign of political persecution designed to eliminate the movement calling for restoration of the basic right to self-determination through genuine elections.”[52]

Bangkok Post: “For more information on the alleged 1,300 to 2,700 extrajudicial killings of 2003 mentioned in the letter, see the US State Department 2003 Human Rights Report for Thailand and an insightful academic paper by Michael Connors on the killings. In short, the “war on drugs” began with lists of drug suspects drawn up by local police and government officials. Targets were then set for arrests and seizures with bonuses for police and removal from position if targets were not met. Starting from February 1st 2003 “the nightly television news opened with clip after clip of prone dead bodies.” At the end of three months 2,637 had been killed with the police claiming that almost all the deaths were drug dealers killing other drug dealers to prevent them from giving information (silencing killings). As Chulalongkorn professor Dr. Pasuk Phongpaichit and her co-author and husband, historian Dr. Chris Baker observe: “…the line dividing police and professional gunmen is so thin as to be nonexistent. Some police (and military) moonlight as professional gunmen. Others retire to this profession. Some senior officers run gangs of gunmen. The police sometimes hire outside help in cases which are difficult to manage by normal police methods, or which are simply unlikely to be monitored” (…).The two main political parties have pledged not to resort to violence against drugs users and dealers if they win the July 3 election and form a government.The Democrat Party and its rival Pheu Thai yesterday came out with similar anti-drugs policies where their parties paid equal attention to both prevention of drug use and suppression. (…) But serious doubts remain over the effectiveness of the policy and a possiblerecurrence of extra-judicial killings. About 2,500 people were allegedly killed during former premier Thaksin Shinawatra’s war on drugs between 2003 and 2004.”[53]

Inquirer.net: “So how did Thailand’s violent, extrajudicial approach to the drug problem play out? According to an investigative committee created by the military junta that ousted Thaksin in 2006, up to 2,800 people were killed the first three months of the campaign. That’s about 30 killings a day. The Economist reported that the committee found that “over half of those killed had no links to the drugs trade. The panel blamed the violence on a government ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy based on flawed blacklists.” While that didn’t please human rights advocates, the anti-drug campaign’s impact on street-level drug dealing and use was significant, especially after Thaksin gave himself an eight-month extension to complete the dragnet. By the end of 2003, according the U.S. State Department’s International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), 73,231 people were arrested, over 23 million drug pills were seized, and 320,000 drug users surrendered to undergo treatment. With the price of yaa baa (the drug of choice among most Thai users) doubling, availability and consumption declined significantly. (…) Many local, street-level drug dealers were killed but most major Thai drug lords were spared, and the campaign did not exactly reduce cross-border trafficking. Even Thailand’s King doused cold water on Thaksin’s ebullient claim of outright victory, saying that the fight against drugs was far from over. (…)Thailand’s National Human Rights Commission identified one major problem area in the government’s anti-drug war. The biggest issue that had fatal consequences even for the innocent was the drawing up of “blacklists.” Some local officials used it to settle old scores. As one commissioner said: “Most names are drawn from the results of community meetings, which offered an opportunity for officials with conflicts to enter the names of people unrelated to the drug trade. Relatives and friends of those accused are also lumped into the same category. And ethnic minorities were subjected to stereotyped beliefs that they were also involved in the drug trade[54]

World Organization Against Torture (OMCT): “The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by the Asian Human Rights Commission, a member of the OMCT network, of allegations of widespread human rights violations, including mass arrests and extra-judicial killings, under the auspices of an anti-drug campaign in Thailand. (…) While addressing the drug problem in Thailand is a serious matter, the current government is reportedly encouraging the police to sidestep judicial procedures, leading to the summary execution of alleged offenders. It is also reported that the police have planted drugs and then detained or killed alleged ‘suspects’. (…)The Prime Minister is reported to have expressed his satisfaction with the result of the first 10 days of the campaign, during which an estimated 100 people were killed. However, the exact number of casualties is difficult to establish. (…) The Prime Minister has also defended the police, saying, “Do not put the safety of drug dealers above that of police. If the police do not shoot when they fight, they will die.” Thailand’s Interior Minister, Wan Muhammad Nor Matha, has even endorsed the practice of disappearances, by stating that drug dealers should be put behind bars or even vanish without a trace… Who cares? They are destroying our country. (…)Police and local officials have reportedly been given incentives to carry out as many arrests and killings as possible, including financial bonuses. Many of them have also reportedly been threatened with transfers if they fail to achieve the campaign’s objectives. It is evident that with such incentives in place and with such a large number of arrests having occurred, it is highly likely that a significant number of these arrests will have been arbitrary in nature. OMCT also fears that many of the detainees run a risk of being subjected to ill-treatment or torture while in detention and that their procedural rights will be violated, as the number of persons involved in these events will likely overwhelm the judicial infrastructure in Thailand. (…) The actions that the police forces have been taking in Thailand are in direct violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Thailand is a party, notably Article 6(1), which states that, “Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.” Furthermore, Article 9 states that, “(1) Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention… (3) Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release.” The International Secretariat of OMCT is gravely concerned by these reports of extrajudicial killings of civilians in the name of the “war on drugs,” as well as the likely arbitrary detention of a large number of persons. OMCT is also gravely concerned by the allegations of planting of evidence leading to these violations, and the impunity that the perpetrators of these acts may enjoy. OMCT calls on the authorities to immediately halt the use of such acts and to extend an invitation to the United Nations Special Rapporteurs on Extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions and on Torture, as well as the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, in order to investigate these very serious allegations. ”[55]

Radio Free Asia: “A group of opposition lawmakers in Cambodia have urged  Thailand to end “extrajudicial killings” of Cambodians by Thai state agents along the countries’ shared border, likening Bangkok’s failure to punish those responsible to “encouragement” of attacks that human rights groups say have killed 124 people since 2008. In a letter dated Feb. 9 and recently obtained by RFA’s Khmer Service, 17 members of parliament from the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) expressed concerns over the killing of two Cambodians they said had been burned alive by Thai soldiers on Jan. 7 while caught trying to smuggle a motorbike across the border. The MPs—including CNRP Deputy President Kem Sokha, and CNRP spokesperson and chief of executive committee Yim Sovann—also urged the Thai government to take further action despite apologizing to and compensating the family of 55-year-old Phorn Chem, who was shot and killed by Thai soldiers while foraging for food across the border on Dec. 9 last year. “We consider extrajudicial killings and the failure of the State to take legal action on those responsible for those killings as tantamount to the State’s encouragement of such [acts],” said the letter, addressed to Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. “Such inaction is wrong and contrary to a primary principle of democracy, the right to due process of law. We strongly urge you to put an end to the extrajudicial killing of Cambodians along the Cambodian/Thai border in [the] future.” The MPs noted that Bangkok had so far denied that the two young men allegedly burned alive by Thai soldiers were Cambodian nationals, though their bodies had been claimed by their parents, and called for an independent investigation to be conducted and its results made public before the case is declared closed. They strongly condemned the shooting “at close range” of Phorn Chem, noting that her daughters were witness to the killing before escaping, and called the incident “a crime that cannot end with just an apology.”“We express the same horror and outrage at and condemn in no less vehement terms the killing of other Cambodians by the Thai state agents over recent years in the border regions,” the letter said, counting 45 in 2012 and 69 in 2013. “These killings are not a result of confusion and are not accidental but are continued acts of utter barbarity against Cambodian nationals. These cruel acts are abhorrent, and all the more so when committed by agents of a Buddhist state.” Son Chhay, who was among the opposition lawmakers to sign the letter, told RFA it had been delivered to Prayuth Chan-ocha through the Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, and threatened further action if the Thai government did not move to rein in the killings. “We can file complaints to ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and the U.N.,” he said. “These killings are considered racist and are crimes.” RFA was unable to reach the Thai Embassy for comment in response to the letter. The missive followed an accusation earlier this week by authorities in the Choam Ksan district of northwestern Cambodia’s Preah Vihear province that Thai soldiers had shot and killed three Cambodians and seriously injured a fourth who crossed the border to illegally log rosewood in Thailand’s Ubon Ratchathani province on Feb. 5. Choam Ksan District Governor Kem Seng told RFA Wednesday that he had sent a report to the governor of Preah Vihear province asking him to file an official complaint with the Thai government. “I’ve already reported to the governor to take immediate measures,” he said, adding that local authorities had yet to receive the bodies of the three killed. Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Kuy Koung told RFA that his ministry will send a diplomatic note to protest last week’s recent incident. He accused Thailand of “abusing its pact” with the Cambodian government to refrain from killing civilians. “We held a summit [last year] between the two sides, during which Cambodia asked the Thais to stop killing Cambodian people,” he said.  During a visit to Phnom Penh in December last year, Thailand’s Minister of Defense Prawit Wongsuwan apologized to his Cambodian counterpart Tea Banh for the shooting death of Phorn Chem and pledged to compensate her family. The two sides also agreed to respect border laws and adhere to humanitarian principles. Kuy Koung said at the time that Cambodia had filed a diplomatic complaint through the Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh. According to Kuy Koung, five Cambodians have been killed and five injured in incidents at the border since the beginning of 2014. Local rights group Adhoc said last year that 124 Cambodians were killed in Thailand between 2008 and 2014.”[56]


Evidence 4: Dictatorship, Oppression and Violation of Civil and Political Rights

FORTIFY RIGHTS: “The Thai authorities have yet to fully comply with their international legal obligations to protect civil and political rights, (…) While the 38-page report, A Work in Progress: Thailand’s Compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, notes progress in certain areas of human rights in Thailand, it also documents killings that took place with impunity, arbitrary detentions, unchecked attacks and reprisals against human rights defenders, violations of free speech and assembly, human trafficking on an epidemic scale, and the forced return and other serious violations against refugees. The U.N. Human Rights Committee—an 18-member body of independent experts elected by U.N. member states to monitor treaty implementation—is scheduled to review Thailand’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) from March 13 to 14, 2017 in Geneva. The ICCPR is a core instrument of international human rights law. As a state party to the ICCPR since 1996, Thailand is legally bound to uphold and implement its provisions. The new report considers Thailand’s implementation of the ICCPR to date and its responses to issues already raised by the U.N. Human Rights Committee. (…) Fortify Rights documented continued attacks and incidents of harassment perpetrated against human rights defenders and community leaders in the country, often with impunity and without adequate protection from Thai authorities. Fortify Rights documented physical attacks against human rights defenders by non-state actors or unknown assailants with impunity. Fortify Rights also documented the use of defamation suits and other legal actions by private companies and Thai authorities against community leaders, human rights defenders, and journalists for exercising their rights and basic freedoms. For instance, members of the Khon Rak Ban Kerd Group (KRBKG) and the Southern Peasants Federation of Thailand (SPFT)—community-based groups engaged in activities to defend environmental and land rights in Thailand—have faced violent attacks and criminal charges. The Thai military subjected members of both groups to “attitude adjustment” programs.”

Shashank Bengali – LOS ANGELES TIMES: “Tailand’s military rulers detained hundreds of people without charges, tortured some prisoners and systematically stifled dissent since seizing power in a May coup, a leading human rights watchdog reported Thursday. Amnesty International said that although most prisoners were released within a week, they remain at risk of prosecution in military courts. The crackdown has created a climate of fear in the Southeast Asian kingdom that shows no signs of easing as the Thai army has said it would keep power at least until the end of next year, the group said. “The Thai authorities should end this disturbing pattern of repression, end human rights violations, respect its international human rights obligations and allow open debate and discussion — all of which are vital to the country’s future,” Richard Bennett, the group’s Asia-Pacific director, said in a statement. The 68-page report offered one of the more detailed pictures of the political situation in Thailand to emerge since the military deposed an elected government and parliament, suspended the constitution and formed a rubber-stamp legislative assembly made up primarily of ex-members of the security services. Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, the army’s commander-in-chief, who wields near-absolute power, ordered at least 571 people arrested in the days following the May 20 coup, the report found. Nearly 400 were affiliated with the political party of ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, but 141 were academics, writers, journalists and activists, the report said, while another 78 people were arrested at peaceful demonstrations. The junta has also charged civilians with breaking military laws, the group said, adding that at least 60 people face imminent trials before military courts where they would have no right to appeal. The army has also sharply restricted free speech by blocking websites, establishing censorship panels to monitor media reports and threatening imprisonment for anyone posting information thought to be critical of the military online. Gatherings of more than five people are banned, and Bennett said the junta has cracked down “on the smallest form of dissent” – including eating sandwiches in public, a form of silent protest against the military that activists organized on social media. The report details the case of one political activist, Kritsuda Khunasen, who accused soldiers of beating her, blindfolding her for a week and suffocating her with a plastic bag during her detention beginning in late May. When activists raised questions about her whereabouts, authorities announced that she was being held in order to “adjust [her] understanding” and later aired footage of her saying she was being well treated – a statement that the activist, who was later released, said was coerced.”[57]

Human Rights Watch: “Thailand’s military junta increased its repression and failed to restore democratic rule in 2016, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2017. A new constitution,adopted in an August referendum that was marked by a crackdown against its critics, effectively entrenches unaccountable and abusive military rule. (…) Executive Director Kenneth Roth writes that a new generation of authoritarian populists seeks to overturn the concept of human rights protections, treating rights as an impediment to the majority will. For those who feel left behind by the global economy and increasingly fear violent crime, civil society groups, the media, and the public have key roles to play in reaffirming the values on which rights-respecting democracy has been built. “Thailand’s human rights crisis has worsened over the year as the military junta has tightened its grip on power and led the country deeper into dictatorship,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “Rather than leading the country back to democratic rule, the junta has increasingly persecuted critics and dissenters, banned peaceful protests, censored the media, and suppressed speech in the press and online.” The ruling National Council for Peace and Order – led by Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha – has banned political activity and public gatherings, made expression subject to criminal prosecution, censored the media, conducted hundreds of arbitrary arrests, and detained civilians in military detention. Gen. Prayut’s order on September 12, to end the practice of prosecuting civilian cases in military courts was a limited step because it does not apply to the more than 1,800 civilians already awaiting trial in military courts. The military also retains authority to arrest, detain, and interrogate civilians without safeguards against abuse or accountability for human rights violations. The junta has arbitrarily and aggressively used the lese majeste (insulting the monarchy) laws to prosecute people for any expression deemed critical of the monarchy. Since the May 2014 coup, Thai authorities have charged at least 68 people with lese majestemostly for posting or sharing comments online. The crackdown has intensified since the death of revered King Bhumibhol Adulyadej on October 13. (…)“Prime Minister Prayut has fed the UN and its member countries empty promises on human rights,” Adams said. “The junta needs to be pressed to end repression, respect fundamental freedoms, and return Thailand to democratic civilian rule.”[58]

Human Rights Watch: “Thailand, for its part, has been going from bad to worse. Since the coup, the military controlled government has arrested and detained thousands for criticising the government, the military and the monarchy. Assemblies of more than five people are prohibited. The junta-sponsored constitution protects regime members from accountability for abuses. Thailand’s once lively environment for the media and public debate has been battered largely into silence. Junta promises to hold elections and restore democracy remain only that: promises. And there is no indication that any election that might take place would occur in a free and fair atmosphere. In any case, under the new constitution, an election would at best produce a pseudo-democracy, with a junta-appointed Senate quite possibly becoming the largest political force in the parliament and having a direct role in selecting the prime minister, meaning that the new “democratic leader” could be one essentially selected by the military. Immediately after the May 2014 coup, the Obama administration criticised the military’s seizure of power. It also cut bilateral assistance and military training, as required by the US Foreign Assistance Act, which prohibits most direct forms of assistance to governments that have overthrown a duly elected government. Despite some tough statements and imposing the “coup clause” cuts, the administration never really got serious about pursuing further punitive measures, and the Pentagon slowly began to reboot its engagement with Thailand, even as other assistance remained banned. (…)The absence of a strong civilian hand guiding US policy toward Thailand has let the Pentagon shift policy priorities inappropriately. In dealing with any junta, the US government should be giving priority to good governance, rule of law, and human rights, instead of focusing predominately on military cooperation. (…)Benchmarks can include the junta rescinding key orders that restrict freedom of speech and bar assemblies, and ending military trials of over 1,400 civilians whom the junta has charged for exercising their basic rights. The junta also needs to release a plausible timeline for holding free and fair elections, and take concrete steps towards fulfilling that timeline, including that political parties will be allowed to freely campaign. The (US) State Department should be reminding the Thai military – again and again – that direct assistance to Thailand is prohibited by US law until democratic rule is restored.”[59]

Human Rights Watch: “The year was tumultuous for Thailand with the passing of King Bhumibhol Adulyadej on October 13 after a reign of 70 years. The Thai government, led by Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha, repeatedly failed in 2016 to fulfill pledges made to the United Nations General Assembly and Human Rights Council to respect human rights and restore democratic rule. A new constitution, which will entrench unaccountable and abusive military power, was adopted in a referendum marked by repressive tactics against critics of the proposed constitution. In the lead up to the constitutional referendum on August 7, the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) junta curtailed the rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly through repressive laws such the Referendum Act, the Computer Crime Act, and article 116 of the penal code on sedition, as well as NCPO orders censoring media and preventing public gatherings of more than five people. Thai authorities arrested at least 120 politicians, activists, journalists, and supporters of political movements who had criticized the proposed constitution, publicly announced they would vote “no,” urged voters to reject the draft constitution, or sought to monitor voting. The government also did not provide equal access to state media for opponents of the proposed constitution, and failed to ensure that the election commission overseeing the referendum acted impartially. The constitution passed with support from 61 percent of voters. The 2014 interim constitution permitted the NCPO to wield unlimited administrative, legislative, and judicial power without effective oversight or accountability, including for human rights violations. The new constitution endorses such powers, and ensures that the junta cannot be held accountable for abuses it has committed since taking power in the May 2014 coup. Instead of paving the way for a return to democratic civilian rule as promised in its so-called road map, the junta has created and imposed a political structure that appears designed to prolong the military’s grip on power. (…)The NCPO has summoned members of the Pheu Thai Party and the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), known as the “Red Shirts,” as well as other activists accused by authorities of opposing military rule, for “attitude adjustment.” Failure to report to the NCPO’s summons is considered a criminal offense. The NCPO compelled persons released from “attitude adjustment” programs to sign an agreement stating they will not make political comments, be involved in political activities, or travel abroad without permission. Failure to comply with such agreements can result in a new detention or two years in prison. (…) UN bodies and Thailand’s major allies continued to urge the junta to respect human rights and return the country to democratic civilian rule through free and fair elections. During the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review of Thailand in May, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and many countries expressed concerns regarding violations of fundamental rights and freedoms since the May 2014 coup. In January 2015, based on recommendations from the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, Thailand’s National Human Rights Commission was downgraded due to the lack of independence in selecting commissioners and its own poor performance.”[60]

FIDH: “Thailand’s worsening human rights record will expose the military junta to further international embarrassment during a review by a United Nations (UN) human rights body, FIDH and its member organizations Union for Civil Liberty (UCL) and Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw) said today. Thailand will be examined by the UN Human Rights Committee (CCPR) on 13-14 March 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland. The CCPR monitors state parties’ compliance with their legal obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). In conjunction with Thailand’ s review, FIDH, UCL, and iLaw release “Under siege – Violations of civil and political rights under Thailand’s military junta”, a report that documents how military rule has had a wide-ranging, negative impact on the country’s human rights situation since the 22 May 2014 coup d’état. (…) The FIDH/UCL/iLaw report details the three organizations’ concerns over the significant erosion of civil and political rights guaranteed by the various provisions of the ICCPR as a direct result of actions undertaken by the ruling junta, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). Key concerns include: the right to an effective remedy for human rights violations; the right to life; the right to liberty and security; the right to humane treatment for persons deprived of their liberty; freedom of movement; the right to fair trial; the right to freedom of opinion and expression; the right to freedom of peaceful assembly; and the right to participate in public affairs and to vote.”[61]

Dimitris Christopoulos, FIDH President: “In Geneva, the Thai government faces a ‘mission impossible’ to defend the military junta’s unjustifiable policies and actions. Until the junta ceases its abusive practices, Thailand will continue to flout its international human rights obligations.” [62]

Jon Ungpakorn, iLaw Executive Director: “Under the NCPO, the repression of any form of peaceful dissent has reached its highest point in decades. By completely disregarding the basic principles of human rights and the rule of law, the junta has triggered a downward spiral that will be difficult to reverse.” [63]

Amnesty International: “Individuals were charged or convicted under a ban on political gatherings of five or more people imposed by a 2015 order from the NCPO Head. It was used especially against opposition political groups and pro-democracy activists. In June, the authorities initiated criminal proceedings against 19 members of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship for holding a press conference to celebrate the opening of a centre to monitor the constitutional referendum. Pro-democracy student activists faced charges in multiple criminal cases for peaceful protests and other public activities opposing military rule and Thailand’s draft Constitution. (…) Authorities cancelled many events involving discussions about human rights or political events. In October, immigration officials detained and forcibly returned to Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong, who was invited to speak at a commemoration of the 1976 massacre of student protesters by Thai authorities.[64][65]

ASIAN CORRESPONDENT: “THAILAND does not have a particularly impressive human rights record. The country continues to sustain controversies and global outrage for corruption, human trafficking, censorship, restrictions of freedom of expression, and government linked abuse. (…)According to a report new released Wednesday by Fortify Rights titled A Work In Progress: Thailand’s Compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Thai authorities have yet to properly fulfill their international legal obligations to protect civil and political rights. Conducted from 2014 to 2017, the report illustrates disturbing continuances of violations and mistreatments under the NCPO (ruling junta). Investigation conducted by Fortify Rights details in-depth testimony from eyewitnesses and survivors of abuse. The report documents killings with impunity, arbitrary detentions, violations of free speech and assembly, violations against refugees, vast amounts of human trafficking, and unchecked attacks on human rights defenders. (…)In the remote northeastern province of Loei, environmental activists for the Khon Rak Ban Kerd Group (KRBKG) and the Southern Peasants Federation of Thailand (SPFT), have experienced both violent attacks, and criminal charges. (…)Another vital point reviewed in the report demonstrates collusion between government entities and human-trafficking syndicates. Thai officials have been found increasingly complicit in human trafficking situations, and according to survivor testimonies collected by Fortify Rights, the scope of trafficking of Rohingya and Bangladesh nationals is much larger than originally estimated.”[66]

Rachael Willis: “Any illusions that Thailand is a functioning democratic state were laid to rest last week when it appeared before the UN’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva. The verdict was damning. (…) the Junta incrementally chips away at the most basic tenets of democracy. And this is for one very simple reason: the junta doesn’t want to relinquish power. Whether it needs to continue postponing elections or manipulating the constitution, it will do all it can to safeguard its status as Thailand’s kingmaker. As I mentioned before, Thailand’s upcoming constitutional referendum, slated for August 7th, is nothing less than a sham as the draft document goes to great lengths to gag and nullify the Thai people’s influence over politics. By bestowing to the handpicked Senate the deciding vote in passing legislation and influence over the appointments made to the Constitutional Court and by leaving the door open to a potential non-elected Prime Minister, the current members of the junta will maintain a tight grip on power in Thailand, even with the country nominally ruled by a civilian government. (…) The criticism levelled at the Thai Junta is entirely legitimate. For example, Article 44 of the interim constitution makes any action the Junta takes “lawful, constitutional and final”, meaning, as many critics have pointed out, the Junta can do pretty much whatever it likes, whether it is riding roughshod over environmental concerns as it is doing by rushing through plans for a new runway at Bangkok, gagging critics by detaining them in custody, controlling what people ‘like‘ on Facebook or running ‘attitude adjustment programs’ which actually contravene UN conventions on torture. Indeed, even the food served up on tables across the world is not untainted by the Junta’s entrenched disregard for human rights and democracy, a recentinvestigation by Associated Press found that Thailand’s very half-hearted implementation of International Labor Organization laws enables the use of slave labor in the fishing industry.”[67]

THOMAS FULLER: “In the wake of the coup that overthrew the democratically elected government of Thailand in May, at least one activist says she was tortured while in custody, some 60 civilians face trials in military courts, and dissent and freedom of expression have been sharply restricted, according to a report by Amnesty International. “The right to a fair trial is currently in jeopardy,” said the report, which provided a snapshot of what it described as a deteriorating human rights situation in Thailand since the armed forces seized power in May. The people facing military trials, which offer no appeal, are charged with taking part in political gatherings, protesting against the military takeover of the country or insulting the monarchy. The report by the human rights group, which is to be released on Thursday, calculated that, over all, more than 570 people have been summoned to report to the military since the coup and that most have been released. Most were politicians, but 141 were academics, writers, journalists and activists, the report said. The report details the case of Kritsuda Khunasen, a political activist who was detained for 29 days — longer than the seven days specified under the military’s own rules — and who says she was blindfolded for days at a time, punched and nearly asphyxiated with a plastic bag. A YouTube video that she posted detailing what she described as torture was blocked by the junta. Ms. Kritsuda is now seeking political asylum overseas. Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, who led the coup, denied that Ms. Kritsuda had suffered ill treatment. “We have not beaten or tortured anyone,” he said in a nationally televised speech. The report said the junta “implemented sweeping restrictions on freedom of expression, blocking and shutting down websites and community radio stations and stopping the dissemination of critical information, including in schools and universities.” The junta has created a rubber-stamp National Legislative Assembly and says it will stay in power until at least the end of next year. General Prayuth was unanimously selected as prime minister by the assembly last month. The country remains under martial law, and political gatherings of more than five people are technically banned. The junta has at least twice disrupted or forced the cancellation of media events related to the coup. Last week, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, a civic group, canceled a briefing at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand after pressure from the military. The Bangkok office of the United Nations Human Rights Office for Southeast Asia said the cancellation “adds to other incidents indicating a deteriorating environment for human rights defenders in the country.” Although political freedoms remain tightly restricted, many business leaders say they are benefiting from the relative domestic peace under military rule.”[68]

HUMAN RIGHTS NOW: “has been criticizing the sweeping military power and suppression of fundamental human rights of people in Thailand since the coup. As the referendum on a new constitution is scheduled on Sunday, 7 August 2016, Human Rights Now released a statement “Thailand: Grave Concern over the Referendum Process and Draft Constitution in Thailand” on August 5, 2016. (…) Having considered the text of the draft constitution as well as the process for referendum, we must express grave concern over the process and content of the proposed Thai constitutional reform in Thailand as a whole. The military government has promised to bring democratic elections and government back to Thailand with a new constitution. However, the transitional process should be in conformity with Thailand’s obligation under international human rights law and should reflect people’s genuine voice without the suppression of critics. NCPO’s Power is Maintained. We are concerned that the draft constitution gives the military significant control and influence in the new government. First, according to Section 265, the NCPO will continue to perform duties until new government is established following the first general election. Second, according to the Section 269 of the draft, the Senate will consist of 250 members appointed by the King upon the advice of NCPO for at least the first 5 years of the new government. Section 270 states that the Senate shall have the duty and powers to follow up on the entire transitional process of the country. This power structure enables the NCPO to control the new government through the Senate With such powers in its hands, the military government is able to control much of the political process in line with its will. (…)Moreover, Section 279 prescribes that all announcements, orders and acts, including the NCPO’s order already in force prior to the date of promulgation of this Constitution shall continue to be in force under this Constitution. Since the NCPO came into power, significant numbers of orders have been promulgated and severely restricted the fundamental human rights of the activists, oppositions and general citizens in Thailand. This provision justifies serious human rights violations committed by the NCPO and continues severe restriction of human rights. The draft constitution implements a National Human Rights Commission to oversee human rights abuses, with members appointed by the King with Senate advice. However, its powers are limited to issuing reports and proposing recommendations, and it does not have any power to mandate or prohibit government action nor the ability to initiate changes to the legal system, limiting its effectiveness. Suppression of Opinion over the Draft Constitution. Although the draft constitution poses serious problem which would undermine human rights and democracy, the current military government suppresses any objection, criticism, or debate over the draft with criminal sanction, threats and intimidation. Article 61 of the 2016 Referendum Act criminalizes acts of disseminating false information to influence voters or otherwise disrupt the referendum with 10 years of imprisonment and a loss of voting rights for 10 years. The military government has utilized this law to suppress any criticism, debate and other expressions and campaigns in relation to the constitutional referendum process, and it has completely cracked down on activists, critics and media.  The military restricts political groups of more than five people to avoid open debates on the constitution, and TV stations were banned from broadcasting for 30 days. It was also reported that critics of the draft constitution are subjected to military detention by the NCPO.[69] Without any critical opinions in the public debate and only positive opinions being broadcast, the referendum cannot be an accurate reflection of Thai citizens’ views. The government must ensure fundamental freedoms and human rights are met, especially freedom of opinion, expression, association and assembly, and ensure the genuine choice of the people are reflected in the referendum process.”

HUMAN RIGHTS NOW: “Over one year has passed since the coup d’état ~Human Rights Situation in Thailand ~The interim constitutional provision provides the junta with unaccountable powers. (…) The government of Thailand is a signatory to the ICCPR and has a legal obligation to respect and protect the rights it guarantees. Section 44 of the interim constitution, and actions committed in conjunction with it, clearly violate freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of association, and the right to liberty and security of person, which are guaranteed under Articles 19, 21, 22 and 9 of the ICCPR, respectively.” [70]

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein: “I am alarmed at the decision to replace martial law with something even more draconian, which bestows unlimited powers on the current Prime Minister without any judicial oversight at all.”[71]


Evidence 5: Torture

Amnesty International: “Members of the military continued to torture individuals suspected of links to insurgents in the south and political and security detainees elsewhere, facilitated by laws and orders allowing soldiers to detain individuals in unofficial places of detention without judicial oversight for up to seven days.[72] Two military recruits reportedly died after alleged torture in military camps. Torture and other ill-treatment by the security forces in the context of routine law enforcement operations were also reported. Police officers and soldiers were also responsible for human rights violations against members of vulnerable communities, including migrant workers, ethnic minorities, and suspected drug users at police stations, roadblocks, and various unofficial places of detention.”[73]

Amnesty International: “Since seizing power in a 2014 coup, Thailand’s military authorities have allowed a culture of torture and other ill-treatment to flourish across the country, with soldiers and policemen targeting suspected insurgents, political opponents, and individuals from the most vulnerable sections of society, a new report by Amnesty International said today. The report, Make Him Speak by Tomorrow”: Torture and Other Ill-Treatment in Thailand, documents 74 cases of torture and other ill-treatment at the hands of soldiers and the police, including beatings, suffocation by plastic bags, strangling by hand or rope, waterboarding, electric shocks of the genitals, and other forms of humiliation. (…) Martial law and post-coup decrees have authorized soldiers to impose incommunicado detention on individuals in unofficial sites for up to a week, during which time many victims interviewed by Amnesty International said they were subjected to torture or other ill-treatment. Thailand’s police forces have also used torture and other ill-treatment against a wide range of people: migrants, suspected drug users, members of ethnic minorities, and others. Amnesty International has been told that these abuses have accelerated since the coup. In an environment where few dare criticize the authorities publicly, and human rights defenders face charges of criminal defamation for speaking out publicly about torture, many accounts of torture and other ill-treatment have remained untold. (…) (“Tul”) was arrested by the army and held at an undisclosed location for seven days, during which time he was repeatedly tortured using severe beatings and other methods. “They put a plastic bag on my head until I fainted, and then poured a bucket of cold water on me,” he told Amnesty International. “They applied electro-shock to my penis and chest. I was restrained, my legs tied, and my face covered with tape and a plastic bag.” Following what he described as “the worst day” of his ordeal, “Tul” appealed to the soldiers to end his life. “Please shoot me,” he pleaded with his tormentors, “and send my corpse to my family.” Many of the torture victims interviewed by Amnesty International said they were tortured during the first seven days of detention – the period when the military is allowed to hold them in unofficial places and without contact with the outside world or any other safeguards against ill-treatment. “Rutkee,” another torture victim, underwent an excruciating ordeal, both physically and mentally. He was repeatedly beaten, waterboarded, suffocated with a garbage bag over his head, strangled with a cable, and threatened with guns and grenades. Soldiers also pulled on his penis and deprived him of sleep. (…)The report reveals that a culture which enables and encourages torture permeates the Thai military. One of the people interviewed for the report, a former junior commander in the Royal Thai Army stated that soldiers assigned to interrogate detainees are often told to “make him speak by tomorrow.” “An officer gets punished if he doesn’t get results,” the former junior commander told Amnesty International. (…)Despite being a party to the UN Convention against Torture and legally obliged to respect its provisions, there is still no law in Thailand specifically criminalizing torture. Thai law also gives judges the discretion to allow “evidence” obtained through torture in courts. Investigations into complaints are rare, and prosecutions rarer still. This state of affairs is exacerbated by a post-coup legal framework that gives military officers the power to detain people arbitrarily, consigning them for up to seven days to undisclosed locations where acts of torture cannot be seen and the suffering of victims cannot be heard. (…)Amnesty International found that torture and other ill-treatment are used most intensively by military interrogators during the periods of unaccountable detention created by these laws. (…)Amnesty International’s report recommends simple steps that the Thai authorities can take to effectively address the legal and institutional shortcomings that enable torture. These include ending unaccountable detention, criminalizing torture, banning the use of “evidence” obtained by torture and other ill-treatment, investigating reports of torture and bringing those responsible to justice, creating an independent monitoring body to carry out oversight of detention facilities, and providing remedies to victims.”[74]

Rafendi Djamin – Amnesty International’s Director for South East Asia and the Pacific: “Thailand may claim to be tough on torture, but actions speak louder than words. Empowered by laws of their own making, Thailand’s military rulers have allowed a culture of torture to flourish, where there is no accountability for the perpetrators and no justice for the victims,” “Most victims are too afraid to speak out. When they come forward to complain, the courts tend to ignore them. And yet, the same courts are willing to accept coerced confessions, even after they are retracted. The torturers are not punished for their crimes but the victims are condemned to one injustice after another,” “Torture does not just humiliate the victim. It also debases the perpetrator, hollowing out their humanity. The safeguards to prevent torture do not just protect the detainees. They also protect the uniformed officials who hold them in custody and the state they represent,” [75]

Corey Charlton: “Brits face beatings, HIV, electrocution and waterboarding in Thai jails, experts warn as new evidence emerges of widespread torture and abuse. The shocking reports of brutal Thai military tactics casts doubt over the country’s claim to be a tourist Paradise. (…) But beneath this idyllic paradise lies a terrifying and brutal underbelly – where authorities routinely beat, strangle, electrocute and torture anyone they have arrested. Others convicted of offences – many of whom are sentenced to death – face living shackled inside overcrowded prisons where HIV is spread among inmates and they are denied food and medicine. This systemic torture of suspects has been laid bare in a devastating new report by Amnesty International. The country’s drug laws border on archaic and possession of even a small amount of narcotics can end in anything from a long jail sentence to death. After 2014’s military coup, the state also enacted sweeping laws allowing the military to hold suspects for seven days without legal representation. Current and former suspects have now come forward to describe the litany of horrors they suffered at the hands of police and military officers. Some described having their genitals electrocuted, while others were savagely beaten or told their families would be killed if they did not confess to crimes. One man said he was placed inside a barrel with a giant monitor lizard – a fearsome carnivorous reptile that can grow longer than humans – then rolled across the floor. One man, arrested on suspicion of drug offences, told Amnesty International: “They forced me to sit down. They beat my face with a wet cloth. “They used electric shocks in my ear and inside my nostril and also on my collarbone and my lips. They’d attach it, then deliver the shock. “It was so shocking. I felt darkness, like a boxer punched my head. First I felt nothing, and then I lost consciousness. Then they would apply it again. “They shouted at me: ‘Where did you get the drugs from? Who sold them to you?’ I had no answer. “So they shocked me again. They kicked me on my side and my mouth with their military shoes. They punched me. They said: ‘We will shoot and kill you’.” Another man, a Thai national implicated in violence at a political rally, said he was arrested and beaten in a vehicle for 30 minutes. “Then I was taken downstairs inside a building. I was stripped naked. Then the soldiers inserted a wire into my anus and put another wire around my genitals. “The soldiers then splashed me with water and took turns electrocuting and hitting me. “When I cried loudly, soldiers placed a plastic bag around my head to stop me from breathing and making noises.” (…) Many prisoners also caught contractible diseases while in prison – including HIV – and she had worked with people who died because they were denied life-saving antiretroviral drugs.”[76]

The Diplomat: “After a two-year investigation, Amnesty International (AI) has documented 74 cases of torture in Thailand. The group released itsreport, which noted the rise of torture incidents after the army grabbed power in 2014, on September 28. Some of the torture methods allegedly used by state forces include “beatings, suffocation by plastic bags, strangling by hand or rope, waterboarding, electric shocks to the genitals, and other forms of public humiliation.” (…)AI warned that it will be difficult to stop torture if the junta will continue to implement repressive laws like the one that allows the unsupervised detention of individuals for up to seven days. This law was passed after the coup as an emergency measure to protect the security of the state. Even the “attitude-adjustment” sessions conducted by the army were described by AI as a form of “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” because it involved “incommunicado detention, exertion of psychological pressures, prolonged blindfolding, and restrictive conditions of release.” AI also reported the use of torture in the government’s counterinsurgency program in the southern region. The imposition of martial law in the “deep south,” where a separatist movement has existed since 2004, provided the army with vast powers that led to some abuses. The report also pressed for the protection of migrants, drug users, and other vulnerable sectors who are often targeted by police operations. These groups often become victims of extortion and public humiliation. (…) AI also underscored the importance of punishing the perpetrators of torture: “Thai authorities will need to reverse the widespread impunity enjoyed by the security services and establish military and police cultures that respect and protect individuals from all sectors of society.”[77]

Amnesty International: “The Thai authorities should be addressing torture, not human rights activists doing their legitimate work. Instead of threatening us with arrest and prosecution, they should be holding the perpetrators of torture accountable”[78]

Human Rights Watch: “Torture has long been a problem in Thailand, Human Rights Watch said. Human Rights Watch has documented numerous cases in the southern border provinces, in which police and military personnel allegedly tortured ethnic Malay Muslims in custody. The most common forms of torture have been ear slapping, punching, kicking, beating, using electric shocks, and near strangulation or suffocation with plastic bags. There are also credible reports of torture being used as a form of punishment of military conscripts, which have resulted in some deaths. Since the May 2014 military coup, many individuals taken into incommunicado military custody have alleged being tortured or otherwise ill-treated while being detained and interrogated by soldiers. Successive Thai governments have failed to conduct serious and credible inquiries into torture allegations. In many cases, Thai authorities retaliated against those alleging torture and other serious abuses by filing defamation lawsuits under the Penal Code or the Computer Crimes Act for intending to damage the reputation of their agencies or individual officials. The Convention against Torture specifically places an obligation on governments to investigate and prosecute those responsible for torture and other ill-treatment. Article 4 of the convention states that a government should “ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law. The same shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and to an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture.” The government should also make these offences punishable by appropriate penalties, which take into account their grave nature.”[79]

Caleb Quinley: “It’s no secret Thai prisons offer less than ideal conditions. (…) Stories from the inside are rampant with affliction and despair. Abuse, disease, and unsanitary conditions have stained the already shocking reputation of Thailand’s notorious prisons. A report, “Behind the walls – A look at prison conditions in Thailand after the coup, released on Tuesday by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Union for Civil Liberty (UCL), reiterated the claims of such human rights violations. The report outlines a picture saturated with distressingly inhumane conditions. (…) Some of the worst concerns listed in the report are a lack of adequate access to medical treatment, poor sanitation facilities, and insufficient food and drinkable water. The rights groups also found access to health care for pregnant women is low. According to the groups, these concerns fail to follow United Nations recommendations or uphold the National Council for Peace and Order’s (NCPO) narrative to improve prison conditions. The report also revealed beatings took place on a regular basis and inmates were often shackled. Additionally, FIDH found prisoners were sometimes tortured for breaking rules. (…) The report further illuminated the plight of overpopulated prisons in the country, where 72 percent of inmates are jailed for drug-related crimes. (…) Thailand has recently amended regulations on prisons, but Thai laws still allow for solitary confinement for more than 15 days, as well as shackling – both still violating international standards.”[80]

FIDH President Dimitris Christopoulos: “The claim made by the Thai government that the country’s prison conditions conform with international standards is ludicrous,” “Reforms that seek to ensure prison conditions comply with minimum international standards and place rehabilitation at the core of the penitentiary system are urgently needed.” [81]

UCL senior adviser Danthong Breen: “If the degree of civilisation in a society is judged by its prison system, Thailand’s government must be considered cruel and inhumane,” “Authorities must consider prisoners as individuals worthy of substantial rights and ensure Thailand’s domestic and international commitments regarding prison conditions are fulfilled.” [82]

Asian Correspondent: “THAILAND, has dropped legislation to criminalise torture and disappearances after years of working on the bill, the United Nations human rights office said on Tuesday, leaving state employees unaccountable for serious crimes. Torture is not a criminal offence in Thailand. Victims have won compensation in the past, but perpetrators cannot be prosecuted, human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told a U.N. briefing in Geneva. “Clearly this is not an acceptable state of affairs for such serious human rights violations,” she said, adding the office was informed last week that the country’s military-appointed parliament had shelved the legislation. The lack of a law on disappearances leaves a legal loophole that means security officials who abduct people and kill them, imprison them or send them to a third country may never be brought to justice. “What ends up happening is where you don’t find a dead body or where, after a certain amount of time you don’t have enough evidence, they just close the case,” Shamdasani said. “The decision not to enact the bill is also a devastating blow to the families of those who have disappeared. They have the right to know the truth.” A U.N. working group on enforced disappearances recorded 82 cases in Thailand since 1980, including that of lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit in 2004 and Pholachi Rakchongcharoen, a human rights activist from the Karen minority, in 2014. Thailand‘s Department of Special Investigation recently suspended an inquiry into Somchai Neelapaijit’s disappearance due to the lack of a codified law on the crime, Shamdasani said.”[83]

Aljazeera: “Thailand’s prisons fail to meet international standards with inmates routinely shackled, beaten, and stuffed into overcrowded cells, an international human rights group said. Thailand also has the highest incarceration rate in Southeast Asia, jailing 425 out of every 100,000 people, according to the report by the International Federation for Human Rights, which was released on Tuesday. More than 260,000 inmates are incarcerated in 148 prisons with an originally estimated capacity of less than 120,000, the report said, with the massive overcrowding forcing inmates to live in harsh conditions. Most prisoners were convicted on drug-related charges, the legacy of a war on drugs launched by former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in 2003. (…) Prisoners told interviewers from the rights group that overworked guards would beat them with clubs, throw them in solitary confinement, or keep them chained and shackled for weeks, despite government initiatives in 2013 to end the practice. With too many prisoners, inmates can find themselves stuffed into packed cells with no beds and squat toilets with no enclosures for privacy. At night, they lie pressed against each other on mats on bare linoleum floors. (…) Prison conditions violate various UN treaties barring torture and stipulating minimum prisoner rights that Thailand ratified decades ago, the group said.”[84]

HUMAN RIGHTS NOW: “Call on Thai Authorities to Cease the Harassment on Human Rights Defenders. (…) A complaint of criminal defamation and computer related crime has been filed against Mr. Somchai Homlaor, Ms. Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, and Ms. Anchana Heemmina alleging that they have caused damage to the reputation of the Thai Royal Army by documenting torture cases in southern Thailand and launching the report titled, “Torture and ill treatment in The Deep South Documented in 2014-2015”. This complaint against all three human rights defenders is a clear instance of harassment of human rights defenders. The report, “Torture and ill Treatment in The Deep South Documented in 2014-2015” containing documentation of 54 cases of torture and inhumane treatment in detention, was launched on 10th February 2016. The research and reporting work, jointly undertaken by three human rights organizations, Cross Cultural Foundation, and Duay Jai Group, was partly funded by the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture. (…) We believe that the action of the Royal Thai Army in filing police complaint against the three human rights defenders is an attempt to silence the voices of victims of torture. We believe that such action makes it more difficult for victims of torture to file complaints against the perpetrators, and thus is in direct violation of Thailand’s obligation to create mechanisms for prompt investigations and prosecutions of all allegations of torture. Thus; We call on the Royal Thai Army to: Immediately and unconditionally withdraw the legal action against Ms. Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, Ms. Anchana Heemmina, and Mr. Somchai Homlaor. Such legal action is against the legitimate work of Human Rights Defenders (HRD) and is against the public interest. Ensure that no further retaliation is carried out or allowed to happen in the future against HRDs, ill-treatment and torture victims, their colleagues and families. We call on the Thai government to: Respect the universally recognized rights, duties and obligations of everyone and organizations to highlight information about Human Rights violations and injustices to the public, as stated in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders; Ensure that all persons affected by torture and other human rights violations receive justice, including first and foremost the right to complain which must be respected at all times. Ensure the implementations of recommendations it accepted during the recent UPR with regard to HRDs.”[85]

Human Rights Now: “HRN urges the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) of Thailand to immediately stop committing human rights violations. (…) Moreover, “political gathering or assembly of more than 5 persons are [sic] prohibited. Violation of this order is punishable by imprisonment not exceeding one year, or a fine not exceeding 20,000 baht, or both.” as Announcement No.7/2557 states . Another grave concern is arbitrary arrest and detention. On 13th June, UN independent experts noted that the military summoned “more than 440 individuals, including political leaders, academics, journalists and activists to army bases. Many remain in detention without access to family or lawyer. Some are held incommunicado in unknown locations and may be at risk of torture or ill-treatment.” According to some reliable sources, the total number could be over 600, if one includes both those who have been summoned and those who have been arrested. Further, summonses outside of Bangkok are not being published, making it difficult to assess the real number of individuals being summoned and detained. The UN High Commissioner of Human Rights Navi Pillay condemned the Thai military immediately after the coup d’état saying that “the implementation of any emergency measures must comply with international human rights standards. The right to life and the prohibition against torture cannot be breached, regardless of the circumstances”. She also emphasized the importance of ensuring freedom of expression and freedom of assembly in resolving complicated political matters through dialogue. The actions taken by the NCPO so far are clearly contrary to its obligation to fully respect and ensure the enjoyment of human rights and freedoms protected by international human rights law, especially the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Thailand is a State Party. National security must not be used as an excuse to oppress the legitimate exercise of people’s basic rights and freedoms.”[86]


Evidence 6: Human Trafficking and Forced Labor

Fortify Rights: “General Prayut came to power after a 2014 military coup, and Thai authorities have since detained hundreds of citizens for exercising their basic freedoms. Thai authorities have blocked public events focused on human rights and arrested journalists and others for expressing political views on social media. Defamation suits in Thailand have risen in recent years, and human rights defenders, journalists, and government critics face long prison sentences for engaging in legitimate activities. Thailand also continues to fail to protect migrant workers and human rights defenders, which should be a concern for the U.S. government and U.S. investors, Fortify Rights said. Fortify Rights and 87 civil society organizations recently raised concerns in an open letter to Prime Minister Prayut about 14 Myanmar migrant workers who face criminal prosecution for issuing a complaint about labor rights violations to the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand. If prosecuted, they face up to one year and six months’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to 30,000 Thai Baht (about US$895). Thai businesses have also targeted human rights defenders in Thai courts. Between 2007 and 2016, Tungkum Limited, a Thai gold mining company, brought at least 20 criminal and civil lawsuits against media professionals and 33 members of the local community for exposing allegations of environmental problems allegedly linked to the company’s gold mine in Loei Province. Members of Khon Rak Ban Kerd Group (KRBKG)—a community-based group that advocates for environmental rehabilitation in northeast Thailand—are being particularly targeted for their activism. The company has demanded 320 million Thai Baht (almost US$9 million) in compensation from villagers for allegedly damaging its reputation. Thai authorities should drop all criminal proceedings against Myanmar migrant workers and provide an enabling environment for human rights defenders to carry out their essential work without fear of retaliation, Fortify Rights said. (…) Thailand’s $6.5 billion seafood-export industry has been plagued with trafficked labor for years. In recent years, criminal syndicates and complicit Thai authorities also bought and sold tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar and Bangladeshis, holding them at gunpoint and in cages in remote Thai forests and illicit camps before selling them to the highest bidder. Untold numbers were killed. On July 19, Thai authorities convicted 62 human traffickers, including nine government officials, in the country’s largest-ever human trafficking trial. A Bangkok court delivered sentences ranging from four to 94 years’ imprisonment to individuals found guilty. (…) Fortify Rights monitored the human trafficking trial that concluded in July in Bangkok. While the court prosecuted an unprecedented number of traffickers in the single trial, including government officials, Fortify Rights documented unchecked threats against witnesses, interpreters, and police investigators. Human traffickers remain at large in Thailand. Criminality thrives where human trafficking goes unpunished and where survivors aren’t protected and that has broader security implications for the region, said Amy Smith. Thailand must stay vigilant in combatting trafficking and protecting survivors. The U.S. government must not let politics seep into its assessments of the anti-trafficking performance of its allies.”[87]

FORTIFY RIGHTS: “the 38-page report, A Work in Progress: Thailand’s Compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, (…)The report also explains the complicity of Thai officials in facilitating an epidemic of human trafficking in recent years—a crime that constitutes slavery under international law. Thai authorities are now prosecuting more than 100 alleged traffickers, including military and government officials in the country’s largest-ever human trafficking trial. However, survivor testimonies collected by Fortify Rights indicate that the scale of trafficking of Rohingya and Bangladesh nationals through Thailand from 2012 to 2015, in terms of victims and perpetrators, was far greater than suggested by the trial. Moreover, witnesses and investigators involved in the trafficking trial faced unchecked threats and intimidation, raising questions about the trial and prompting some witnesses and the chief police investigator to flee the country. Fortify Rights monitored the trial since March 2016. A verdict is expected in July this year. Hundreds of Rohingya survivors of human trafficking and refugees, in the meantime, continue to languish in indefinite detention. Fortify Rights also documented other serious human rights violations against refugees in Thailand, including the forced return Rohingya from Myanmar and Lao Hmong from Lao PDR —a violation that contravenes both customary international law and the ICCPR.”

FORTIFY RIGHTS: “Thailand should ensure perpetrators and accomplices involved in trafficking Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi nationals are held to account, said Fortify Rights today. The Criminal Court Division for Human Trafficking in Bangkok is scheduled to begin delivering verdicts in the country’s largest-ever mass human trafficking trial tomorrow, July 19.
While the trial marks an unprecedented effort by Thai authorities to hold perpetrators of human trafficking accountable, the trial was beset by unchecked threats against witnesses, interpreters, and police investigators, Fortify Rights said. Fortify Rights also documented how Thai authorities detained ethnic-Rohingya witnesses in closed-door shelters—in violation of their right to liberty—and allegedly physically assaulted witnesses in the trial. “This may be the end of an important and unprecedented trial, but it’s been a rocky road, and it’s not ‘case-closed’ for survivors of human trafficking here,” said Amy Smith, Executive Director of Fortify Rights. “Thailand has a long way to go to ensure justice for thousands who were exploited, tortured, and killed by human traffickers during the last several years.” One hundred and three defendants—including 21 government officials—accused of trafficking ethnic Rohingya and Bangladeshi nationals from Myanmar and Bangladesh in 2015 are on trial. Some face a sentence of up to life imprisonment if convicted. Those convicted of murder in the context of trafficking face a possible death sentence. The authorities arrested only 103 suspects out of 153 who were named on official arrest warrants issued in connection with this case, said Fortify Rights. Defendants are charged with a variety of crimes, including human trafficking, murder, the unlawful use of firearms or other weapons, holding people for ransom, and other crimes. The trial revolves around the authorities’ discovery of a mass grave of 36 bodies in a hillside jungle location in Songkhla Province on May 1, 2015. The Bangkok Human Trafficking Court is expected to deliver judgments to each of the defendants during at least the next three days. Fortify Rights consistently monitored the trial, which began in 2015. (…)  Article 9 of the ICCPR also guarantees the right to liberty and forbids arbitrary, unlawful, or indefinite detention, including of non-nationals. Refugees should never be detained because of their immigration status. International law also provides for witness protection. Article 13 of the Convention Against Torture requires state parties “to ensure that the complainant and witnesses are protected against all ill-treatment or intimidation as a consequence of his [or her] complaint or any evidence given.” Fortify Rights calls on the Thai authorities to conduct a thorough assessment of this trial to ensure shortcomings are remedied, perpetrators of harassment and intimidation of witnesses and others are held to account, and lessons are learned for future cases. The Thai authorities should also reopen the investigation into the mass human trafficking of Rohingya and Bangladeshis in Thailand that occurred between 2012 to 2015 and provide adequate resources to ensure the investigation is complete, independent, and effective.”

The Guardian: “Thailand accused of failing to stamp out murder and slavery in fishing industry UN labour agency claims migrants employed on fishing vessels in Thai waters remain vulnerable to trafficking and forced labour despite previous warnings. Thailand is failing to protect migrant workers on fishing trawlers from murder and starvation, with trafficking and forced labour still rampant despite new government legislation, according to a new report. In an unusually critical ruling by the UN’s labour agency, the International Labour Organisation has urged the Thai government to remedy continued abuses on fishing vessels operating in Thai waters. It follows a formal complaint to the ILO by international trade unions last year, which highlighted evidence of migrant workers enduring 20-hour working days, physical abuse and non-payment of wages. Activists greeted the ruling as further evidence that little progress has been made on these issues, despite continued pressure from the EU and US. The evidence submitted to the ILO by the International Transport Federation (ITF) and the International Trade Union Conference (ITUC) catalogued various instances of forced labour and abuse on Thai fishing vessels, following a series of interviews with Thai and migrant workers conducted by the ITF in 2015. Workers claimed they were locked up and forced to work on vessels in Indonesian waters, often fishing illegally, despite paying huge recruitment fees. One worker was severely beaten by his captain and chained to the boat by his neck after trying to escape. Workers said they had witnessed the murder of crewmen by their captains. One man claimed his captain shot dead a Cambodian worker and killed four Thai fishermen by throwing them overboard. Workers said they were subject to debt bondage, worked unpaid and witnessed captains physically abusing other crew. They also described 20-hour working days and said food was limited. The cases outlined in the unions’ complaint echo accounts of modern slavery and severe abuse highlighted in previous investigations, including those by the Guardian in 2014. They also underscore reports by the Thai government itself of severe abuses on Thai boats in the Saya de Malha, off the coast of Madagascar, where nearly half of the 1,000 fishermen on 50 vessels were working in violation of immigration and labour laws. (…) Some of the fishermen claimed to have been at sea for five years continuously. Thailand’s $6.5bn (£5.2bn) seafood export industry – the world’s fourth largest, according to the most recent figures – has suffered significantly following allegations of human rights and labour abuses, and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. In 2014, Thailand was downgraded in the US state department’s Trafficking in Persons report, which marks countries for their stance on slavery. (…) The Thai government has introduced some reforms and new laws to address trafficking and forced labour, but the ILO report emphasises that not enough has been done. It points to gaps in the country’s legal framework and enforcement, in particular in the regulation of brokers who recruit workers, the prosecution of corrupt officials, and the effective inspection of vessels. (…) Johnny Hansen, chair of the ITF fisheries section, welcomed the ILO ruling. “We recognise the progress made by the Thai government,” he said. “But this ruling shows that it still has a long way to go to achieve real change for the countless migrant fishers trapped into forced labour, trafficking, deplorable working conditions and physical abuse.” Steve Trent of the Environmental Justice Foundation, said the Thai government has made only inconsistent attempts to address forced labour, despite recent 14-year jail sentences for traffickers in the port of Kantang. Trent said: “On one hand, there’s been structural reforms. But the situation remains the same: there’s inconsistent and ad-hoc implementation of the law, and obvious abuses still continue because of corruption or rogue businesses or vessels.” Human rights activist Andy Hall, who recently fled Thailand due to ongoing prosecutions related to his work, said the country had an “endemic” problem. Not only on fishing boats, but also on poultry farms, on rubber plantations, in large seafood and poultry export factories, as well as in the factories exporting medical supplies like rubber gloves across the world and in the fruit and vegetable export sectors.[88]

Steve Trent, director of the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF): “Our investigations at sea and across the Thai seafood sector continue to find extensive violence, corruption and abuse,” “Slaves are still on the boats; nationals of neighbouring states are still trafficked in to provide cheap or free labour, and Thai fishing vessels continue to fish illegally and unsustainably, thereby reinforcing the economic incentives to use bonded, forced and slave labour to keep the costs down.” [89]

The Guardian: “In spite of the ruling junta’s “genuine and serious” efforts to wipe out trafficking, the military government may be preventing real progress, said Thitinan Pongsudhirak, director of the Institutes of Security and International Studies. “A top-down government with absolute power ironically lacks mechanisms to solve human trafficking problems at home, due to both a lack of cooperation and corruption from agencies and personnel involved. Rectifying human trafficking cannot simply be ordered and delivered from the top – it involves carrots and sticks on the ground.” In an industry that relies heavily on migrant labour – more than 90% of those working in the fishing sector are from neighbouring countries, many of them trafficked – it is up to the government to create a framework that protects migrant workers both on the ground and at sea.” [90]

Andy Hall: “The government migration policy continues to be short term and, in many ways, continues to promote the smuggling and trafficking of people irregularly across borders and in and out of work whilst undermining formal and safer migration channels,” “There have also been many kneejerk reactions to public pressure in the seafood sector that have impacted negatively on workers in the supply chain.”[91]

CNN: “Despite international pressure, human rights abuses in Thailand’s fishing industry persist on ships active in remote, unpoliced waters, a new Greenpeace report claims. In a year-long investigation published Thursday, Greenpeace explores how the Thai seafood industry still falls desperately short of international labor and fishing regulations, resulting in the exploitation of trafficked laborers.”[92]

Cat DiStasio: “A new investigation has uncovered the inhumane and often gruesome reality lurking behind Thailand’s fishing industry. For the past decade, hundreds of Rohingya migrants have been sold from trafficking camps in Malaysia and Thailand, forced to work on seafood boats for years on end, and often dumped in mass graves upon their demise. In May this year, investigators traced the source of slave-harvested prawns sold in the UK to Thailand, which led to the discovery of a string of trafficking camps along with mass graves that zig-zag through southeast Asia. The Rohingya people are just the sort of target that modern day slave operations prey upon. In their homeland of Burma, persecution and violence spurred many to leave and head into Thailand seeking refuge. The Guardian was able to speak to several survivors of the jungle base camps, who described their experiences in detail. Many Rohingya men were threatened to be sold into slavery if they didn’t raise a ransom from their families of up to a thousand pounds. Others were sold even after paying the ransom, and then severely beaten while working aboard the offshore fishing boats. (…)closed-down trafficking camps have simply relocated to enormous off-shore cargo ships, where potentially thousands of Rohingya people are still being enslaved. Some boat captains are even protesting the government’s clampdown on slave trading, claiming that being forced to register migrant workers is an injustice to them as businessmen. Decades of overfishing and environmental destruction have created a competitive industry, where fishing boat owners are desperate to maximize their take anyway they can, even if it means buying and selling human beings as slaves. The end of slave labor on Thailand’s fishing boats could have a devastating impact on the industry’s future, but perhaps that’s what it will take in order to solve the egregious human rights violations happening at the expense of the bottom line.”[93]

LAURA VILLADIEGO: “Vulnerable migrant workers, mainly from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos, but also impov­erished Thais, have for years been lured onto fishing vessels with promises of well-paid jobs, although most never receive salaries. Others, like Samart, are drugged and kidnapped when they refuse to join a crew. (…)Fishermen are overworked and physically abused, according to the stories told toPost Magazine by Samart and ex-fisher­men he is assisting at the Thai and Migrant Fishers Union Group (TMFG), which is based in Mahachai, about 45km southwest of central Bangkok. Food is scarce and their passports and other documents are withheld. “Some of them have to live with physical disability,” says Patima Tungpuchayakul, founder of the Labour Rights Promotion Network Foundation (LPN), an NGO that has been advocating for migrant workers’ rights in Thailand since 2004. “Some of their friends are killed.” For Samart, the physical abuse began as soon as he came around. “I shouted loudly when I realised I had been drugged and taken to the boat. And I was beaten,” he recalls. (…)Death can await crew members who cross their captains. A 2009 survey by the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking found that 59 per cent of migrants trafficked aboard Thai fishing boats who were interviewed reported witnessing the murder of a fellow crew member. And accidents, some serious or even fatal, are frequent among the weary crews. (…)Penniless and, in many cases, physically damaged, long years of abuse also leave victims bearing scars of a different nature. Samart still suffers from nightmares and anxiety, he says, but “some of the fishermen I help even suffer from hallucinations”. “Some have been away from home for more than 10 years,” says Patima. “All the workers cry to me. They cry for help to return home.” The nature of the trauma suffered by fishermen on the boats is complex, says Katherine Welch, a doctor based in Bangkok who specialises in treating victims of human trafficking. (…)Corruption, though, plays a major role in perpetuating human trafficking onto the boats. “This is part of a larger problem of extortion of migrant workers by police that has been a consistent problem but which no government has really been willing to touch,” says Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division.”

International Justice Resource Center: “The International Labour Organization (ILO) recently issued recommendations to Thailand to bring it in line with anti-slavery and forced labor provisions in the ILO Forced Labour Convention in response to allegations on the use of forced labor in the fishing industry, which has also been the topic of a lawsuit in the United States and of international pressure. Specifically, the submission to the ILO – referred to as a representation – alleged the forced labor and trafficking in persons of migrant workers from Myanmar, Cambodia, and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and alleged that fishers are subject to 20-hour work days, non-payment of wages, debt bondage, physical abuse, and murder.[94] Additionally, the representation argues that violations in Thailand are due to a weak legislative framework, the lack of effective complaints mechanisms, and the ineffectiveness of law enforcement mechanisms.”[95]

CNN: “According to the State Department, Thailand’s efforts to address trafficking are being hampered by “corruption at all levels.” Some corrupt officials have even protected brothels and food processing facilities from raids and inspections, the TIP report said. Police officers at the local and national level, who had been assigned to regions notorious for trafficking, formed protective relationships with traffickers. Immigration officials and police have allegedly sold migrants who were unable to pay labor brokers and sex traffickers, according to the report. “There are cases of suspected corruption, and in all the cases, investigations have been or are being carried out,” Ambassador Isarabhakdi said. “At least 33 police officers and also five high-ranking police officials were, or are being, punished under the civil or criminal processes. So many of the cases are still in the process but many have been punished already.” The State Department acknowledged Thailand has improved its system for collecting anti-trafficking data, but says authorities have demonstrated little effort in addressing reports of debt bondage among foreign migrants in commercial sectors, and have not made “sufficient efforts” to proactively identify trafficking victims. It also warned that the use of harsh criminal defamation laws to prosecute those who researched or reported on trafficking “may have discouraged efforts” to combat the practice.”[96]

The New York Times: “While forced labor exists throughout the world, nowhere is the problem more pronounced than here in the South China Sea, especially in the Thai fishing fleet, which faces an annual shortage of about 50,000 mariners, based on United Nations estimates. The shortfall is primarily filled by using migrants, mostly from Cambodia and Myanmar. Many of them, like Mr. Long, are lured across the border by traffickers only to become so-called sea slaves in floating labor camps. Often they are beaten for the smallest transgressions, like stitching a torn net too slowly or mistakenly placing a mackerel into a bucket for herring, according to a United Nations survey of about 50 Cambodian men and boys sold to Thai fishing boats. Of those interviewed in the 2009 survey, 29 said they had witnessed their captain or other officers kill a worker. (…)Government intervention is rare. While United Nations pacts and various human rights protections prohibit forced labor, the Thai military and law enforcement authorities do little to counter misconduct on the high seas. United Nations officials and rights organizations accuse some of them of taking bribes from traffickers to allow safe passage across the border. Migrants often report being rescued by police officers from one smuggler only to be resold to another. (…)Traveling the coast of the South China Sea, it can seem that every migrant has his own story of abuse. Skippers never lacked for amphetamines so laborers could work longer, but rarely stocked antibiotics for infected wounds. Former deckhands described “prison islands” — most often uninhabited atolls, of which there are hundreds in the South China Sea. (…)  Critics have faulted Thailand for what they say is a deliberate failure to confront the larger causes of abuse in fishing. Compared to its neighbors, Thailand has less stringent rules on how long boats can remain at sea. Last year, it was the only country to vote against a United Nations treaty on forced labor requiring governments to punish traffickers, before reversing its stance in the face of international pressure. Thai officials also proposed using prison labor on fishing boats as a way to shift away from migrant workers, a plan dropped after an outcry from human rights groups. On Monday, the State Department renewed Thailand’s ranking on the lowest rung of governments that do not meet minimum standards in countering human trafficking. (…)Marine officials in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia said that their navies rarely inspect for labor and immigration violations. Authorities in those countries added that they lack boats and fuel needed to reach the ships farthest from shore that are most prone to using captive labor. (…)The other Thai industry where forced labor is common is sex work, said Mr. Robertson, from Human Rights Watch. The two industries intersect in run-down towns like Ranong, along the Thailand-Myanmar border. Labor brokers operate with impunity in these towns. Karaoke bars double as brothels and debt traps.”[97]

Reuters: “The Rohingya are then transported across southern Thailand and held hostage in a series of camps hidden near the border with Malaysia until relatives pay thousands of dollars to release them. Reporters located three such camps – two based on the testimony of Rohingya held there, and a third by trekking to the site, heavily guarded, near a village called Baan Klong Tor. Thousands of Rohingya have passed through this tropical gulag. An untold number have died there. Some have been murdered by camp guards or have perished from dehydration or disease, survivors said in interviews. The Thai authorities say the movement of Rohingya through their country doesn’t amount to human trafficking. But in interviews for this story, the Thai Royal Police acknowledged, for the first time, a covert policy called “option two” that relies upon established human-smuggling networks to rid Thailand of Rohingya detainees. Ismail was one of five Rohingya who said that Thai immigration officials had sold him outright or aided in their sale to human traffickers. “It seemed so official at first,” said Ismail, a wiry farmer with a long narrow face and tight curly hair. “They took our photographs. They took our fingerprints. And then once in the boats, about 20 minutes out at sea, we were told we had been sold.” Ismail said he ended up in a camp in southern Thailand. So did Bozor Mohamed, a Rohingya whose frail body makes him seem younger than his 21 years. The camp was guarded by men with guns and clubs, said Mohamed, and at least one person died every day due to dehydration or disease. (…)Mohamed and others say they endured hunger, filth and multiple beatings. Mohamed’s elbow and back are scarred from what he said were beatings administered by his captors in Thailand while he telephoned his brother-in-law in Malaysia, begging him to pay the $2,000 ransom they demanded. (…)What ultimately happens to Rohingya who can’t buy their freedom remains unclear. A Thai-based smuggler said some are sold to shipping companies and farms as manual laborers for 5,000 to 50,000 baht each, or $155 to $1,550. (…)Tarit Pengdith, chief of the Department of Special Investigation, Thailand’s equivalent of the U.S. FBI, was also asked about the camps Reuters discovered. “We have heard about these camps in southern Thailand,” he said, “but we are not investigating this issue.” (…)Their story reveals how Thailand, a rapidly developing country in the heart of Southeast Asia, shifted from cracking down on human trafficking camps to facilitating them. (…)Nor could Thailand arrest, prosecute and jail the Rohingya for breaking Thai immigration law – there were simply too many of them. “There would be no room in our prison cells,” Police Maj-Gen Chatchawal said. That growing problem gave birth to “option two” in October, a secret policy to deport the refugees back to Myanmar that led to Rohingyas being sold to human trafficking networks. (…) By early October, 2,058 Rohingya were held in 14 IDCs across Thailand, according to the Internal Security Operations Command, a national security agency run by the Thai military. A month later, that number stood at about 600, according to non-governmental organizations and Muslim aid workers. By the first week of December, it was 154, Thailand’s immigration department said. Rohingya were fast disappearing from Thailand’s IDCs, and nobody knew where they were going. (…)Concealed by a blue tarpaulin tent, the Rohingya were split into groups of men and women. Some prayed. The encampment was patrolled by armed guards and protected by villagers and police. The reporters didn’t attempt to enter. Villagers who have visited the camp said the number of people held inside ranged from an estimated 500 to a thousand or more, depending on the number of people arriving, departing or escaping”[98]


Evidence 7: Sexual Slavery of Children and Women

Aljazeera: “Statistics from the Thai Ministry of Public Health and from NGOs indicate that there are more than 120,000 people working in the Thai sex industry. Some of these women are engaged in sex work because they have no other way to make money, others have been forced into the industry, and many are trafficked to Thailand from other countries. Annie Dieselberg, CEO and founder of Nightlight International, an organisation committed to helping victims of sex trafficking and exploitation, says that the authorities do not always take the situation seriously. “Often, authorities don’t recognise the complexities of sex trafficking – that it isn’t as simple as underage women in a brothel,” Dieselberg says. “It may be an adult woman, walking the streets of Bangkok, being forced against her will to work for sex.”  Angkhana Neelapaichit, one of the seven National Human Rights Commissioners appointed by the Thai king to examine and report acts which violate human rights or “do not comply with obligations under international treaties to which Thailand is a party”, concurs. “Essentially, I can say that dealing with trafficking among sex workers, in the long run, is still challenging for Thailand and it is hard for authorities to find the real perpetrators,” she says. (…) Thailand must continue to show that it really wants to fight human trafficking and will not allow perpetrators to walk freely, even if the traffickers are from Thailand or are officers or security forces.”[99]

Kritaya Archavanitkul: “Thai social structure tends to accept this sort of abuse, and not only to accept — we have laws, we have bills that vitally support the existence of these sex establishments. That’s one thing. And also, we have a Mafia that is also involved in the political parties, so this keeps the abuse going. The second reason is a cultural factor. I don’t know about other countries, but in Thailand the sexual behavior of Thai men accepts prostitution. Every class of Thai men accept it, practice it. So they don’t see it as a problem. So when it comes to the policymakers, who are mostly men, of course, they don’t see this as a problem. They know there are many women who are brought into prostitution in Thailand. They know that some are treated with brutal violence. But they don’t think it’s a terrible picture. They think it’s just the unlucky cases. And, because of the profit, I think there are many people with an interest involved, so they try to turn a blind eye to this problem.”[100]

End Slavery Now: “Today, under the 1996 Prevention and Suppression of Prostitution Act, prostitution is prohibited. A person soliciting sex may receive a 1,000 baht ($27) fine. Pimps face a 20,200 baht ($555) fine and could be imprisoned for one to ten years. The Act addresses child sex trafficking as well. Customers who have intercourse with children under 15 years old face a 120,000 baht ($3,300) fine and between two to six years in prison. The fine is decreased to 60,000 baht ($1,650) and the prison time to one to three years if the trafficked child is between 15 and 18 years old. Briefly, in 2003, the Ministry of Justice discussed legalizing prostitution as a means of increasing tax revenue and improving conditions for sex workers. Though that debate never led to legalization, prostitution in Thailand today is largely seen as a financial transaction and is widely tolerated. Several cultural and economic factors support the continuation of the sex industry. Kevin Bales addresses the role of religion and gender stratification in sustaining the practice of prostitution. Strict interpretations of the Buddhist doctrine in Thailand put females at a much lower status than men. Ninety percent of the country’s citizens are Theravada Buddhists. (…)Those born in poverty, those who have diseases and those who are born female are assumed to have committed wrongdoings in the past and, therefore, deserve their lower status. In general, the hierarchy – from high to low – is as follows: the monastic, men, women, the crippled, the poor and animals. Additionally, only men can be monks; so, the best women can do to achieve religious merit is to bring honor and finances to the family. These views become evident when considering that Thailand refuses to sign and ratify the 1985 International Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Officials disagree with the article stating that women should have equal rights to education, employment, property and inheritance. This lower value placed on women plays out through the history of prostitution in Thailand. Women have been considered the property of men since the 15th century, and as codified by law, husbands could beat or sell their wives without sanctions. Additionally, having multiple wives was seen as an indication of higher status, and wives were categorized in the following manner: the major wife, the minor wife and the slave wife. The man’s parents chose the major wife, the minor wife was there to provide children and the slave wife was there to give sexual gratification. When polygamy became illegal in the 1930s, the prostitution industry provided an outlet for those who could no longer have slave wives. Today, prostitution is a normalized part of Thai society, and those in prostitution do not face the same degree of stigmatization present in other countries. This tolerance is partially due to the money generated in the sex industry. (…)Author and Harvard University Carr Center for Human Rights Policy Fellow Siddharth Kara provides an illustrative description of the sex industry in Thailand. Bangkok is filled with local sex buyers, sex tourists and prostitutes. Though prostitution is technically illegal in Thailand, the Thai government as well as brothel owners and sex workers have found that it is an extremely profitable business; sex workers openly solicit on the streets and in red light areas.  (…)Sex trafficking victims are typically found in sex clubs, basement brothels, remote massage parlors and street prostitution. Many of them are Thai, but there are also a number of Burmese, Laotian and Nigerian people who are prostituted. These individuals were either lured through false pretenses or were sold by brokers. They are typically purchased by brothel owners or other brokers for $200-$875 and must pay off their “debt.” The location of Thailand plays a key role in the success of the sex trafficking industry. It is close to war-torn Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. China and Vietnam are also nearby. Various waterways along with porous borders also facilitate trafficking.”[101]

Justice Speaks: “Thailand is the number 1 sex tourism destination in the world. Men and women from all over the world fly to Bangkok and Pattaya’s famous red light districts in search for sex. Though the government has enacted laws to prosecute child prostitution and sex trafficking, the application of these laws has been lax. Modern-day slavery is largely overlooked. Every year, the U.S. State Department releases a Trafficking in Persons Report which ranks countries in three tiers, 1 being the most compliant with the “minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking” and 3 being the least. This year, the U.S. State Department ranked Thailand a Tier 3 country. The report found that: -Thailand is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children victims of forced labor and sex trafficking. -Many trafficking victims in Thailand migrated voluntarily from Burma, Cambodia, Laos, China, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, and India seeking better job opportunities. Upon arrival, they are forced to pay exorbitant fees by their smugglers and end up in debt bondage. -Girls from Thailand, Burma, and Laos are victims of sex trafficking in brothels, massage parlors, bars, karaoke lounges, hotel rooms, and private residences. -Local NGOs report an increasing use of social media to recruit children into sex trafficking. -The prevalence of corrupt immigration and police officers continues to hinder the anti-trafficking fight. Corrupt officials protect brothels, collude with traffickers, and even engage in commercial sex with child trafficking victims.”[102]

UNICEF: “There are no circumstances in which using children for sex is acceptable. HIV Specialist for UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Shirley Mark Prabhu says: “The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has been signed by all countries in this region, is very clear on this point. There is no such thing as a child prostitute. Any child under the age of 18 is a victim of sexual exploitation. It violates their rights to health, education and a childhood[103]

FBI: ““Southeast Asia has one of the highest rates of child trafficking in the world, and, unfortunately, poverty and lack of education makes that possible,” said Malina Enlund, A21’s Asia director. “The scope of the problem is huge.” Sudjai Nakhpian runs the Haven Children’s Home in Pattaya, Thailand, a resort town with a reputation as one of the world’s leading sex tourism destinations. Thailand is one of the wealthiest and most developed countries in the region and attracts destitute migrant families from less developed countries such as Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar. “And of course, that leads to exploitation,” said Enlund, who has worked in Thailand on behalf of trafficking victims for the past eight years. Exploitation can take the form of children being prostituted or made to work for cheap wages under deplorable conditions. Some migrant parents are so desperate to feed their families that they rent or sell a child to traffickers who send the youngsters out on the street to beg or to work in the sex trade. “We are talking about thousands of children,” Enlund said, and in the case of migrants who have no documentation, they are extremely difficult to help because they are essentially unknown. “If they are trafficked from Cambodia or Myanmar and have no papers,” she said, “we are basically looking for children that don’t exist.” Thai children, many who live on the street, are also targeted by traffickers and pedophiles from the U.S. and other Western nations. “Right now, Pattaya has one of the largest number of pedophiles anywhere in the world living outside their home countries,” Enlund said. And they are not only having sex with children, they are producing child pornography and posting it on the Internet.Internet forums for pedophiles and pornographers on the so-called Dark Net are expansive and growing, she said, explaining that pedophiles routinely share information online about how to acquire children in Thailand. “With the Internet, we are living in a global community,” Enlund said. Pedophiles anywhere are now “five clicks away from finding a child to abuse. Child sex tourism is growing,” she added. “The demand for children is growing, and it’s being fueled by technology.” (…)Thai police are trying to do the right thing regarding trafficking investigations and assisting victims, she said, “but I don’t think they are funded enough and I don’t think they are staffed enough.”[104]

The 9th Floor: “Thailand may now be ready to begin tackling child sex traffickers who continue to destroy the lives of vulnerable children from Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, hill tribes communities and impoverished families. Alongside the sexual abuse and the loss of childhood these traffickers inflict on their victims, their criminal activities also blight Thailand’s international reputation. An apparent lack of impetus to crack down on these criminal networks remains a reason for Thailand’s poor ranking in the US Department of State’s 2017 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, which was unveiled by the US Secretary of State in June. The TIP documents report that “Thailand is a source, destination and transit country for men, women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking.” “Members of ethnic minorities, highland persons, and stateless persons in Thailand have experienced instances of abuse indicative of trafficking. Children from Thailand, Burma, Laos, and Cambodia are victims of sex trafficking in brothels, massage parlors, bars, karaoke lounges, hotels, and private residences.”  One reason that child sex traffickers have been able to continue their operations in Thailand is that these trafficking syndicates are often protected through corrupt oversight by local authorities. Although prostitution is illegal in Thailand, and has been for 70 years, the country’s sex trade is worth an estimated Bt217 billion (US$6.4 billion) and in many parts of the country operates in plain sight. This huge industry operates unhindered by the laws which prohibit these practices, while the number of offenders convicted remains woefully small. In Thailand’s vast unlicensed and unregulated sex-industry, the prostitution and abuse of children is effortlessly concealed, as the ongoing case of child sex trafficking in Mae Hong Son demonstrates. In the Mae Hong Son sex trafficking case government officials and police officers are accused of running an underage prostitution ring. The case now involves 29 instances of modern slavery, seven of buying sex services, the ownership of 11 brothels by a police officer, and the gang rape of a minor by three police officers. (…)This sordid case provides a insight into the world of child sex-trafficking which is usually kept hidden from the public. The case also provides examples of how individuals in authority abuse their positions of power, and how vulnerable young people can be coerced into the sex trade. With allegations of government officials routinely offered sex with underage girls as part of a “serving dessert to the bosses tradition” it is no surprise that the victims of these crimes feel unable to approach the authorities for help. Investigations into child sex trafficking are often hindered by individuals in positions of authority, as detailed in the 2017 TIP Report: “Corruption continues to undermine anti-trafficking efforts. Reports persist that some government officials are directly complicit in trafficking crimes, including through accepting bribes from business owners and brothels where victims are exploited. Migrant workers, especially those who are undocumented, are fearful of reporting trafficking crimes and cooperating with authorities.” “Some government officials reportedly profit from bribes and direct involvement in the extortion of migrants and their sale to brokers.” “Credible reports indicate some corrupt officials protect brothels and other commercial sex venues from raids and inspections and collude with traffickers.” During a raid on Nataree Massage Parlour in Bangkok last year, evidence of corruption and collusion between sex-trafficker and authorities was also found. When the brothel was raided in June 2016, fifteen children from Myanmar were rescued, and a ledger of bribe payments to government agencies and police units was found. (…)  Unfortunately, the Mae Hong Son case and the Nataree case remain rare examples of child sex traffickers actually facing prosecution, and many experts believe these cases are just the tip of the iceberg, with the number of child prostitutes in Thailand estimated at over 30,000. If Thailand genuinely intends to tackle child sex trafficking, it will need to take a far more proactive approach towards this problem, enlisting investigators and law enforcement officials who have not been corrupted by trafficking syndicates, while prosecuting officials complicit in trafficking. (…) In order for Thailand to make more progress against individuals who sexually exploit and abuse young people, there also needs to be greater public awareness about these heinous crimes and much greater empathy and support for victims, rather than the culture of victim blaming, which supports the crimes of paedophiles.”[105]


Evidence 8: Massive Forcible Deportation of Refugees

Human Rights Watch: “Thailand has not ratified the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol. Thai authorities continued to treat asylum seekers, including those whom the UN recognized as refugees, as illegal migrants who are subject to arrest and deportation. The government has failed to provide information regarding the current whereabouts and well-being of the over 100 ethnic Uighurs and Chinese dissidents deported to China in 2015, in violation of international law. The government announced in June that it needed more time to put in place a process, in collaboration with Burma and the UN, to repatriate more than 120,000 refugees living in the nine camps on the Thai-Burma border. The government did not allow the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to conduct refugee status determination screenings for ethnic Rohingya from Burma. Rohingya men, women, and children have been placed in indefinite detention in immigration detention centers and government shelters across Thailand. Migrant workers from Burma, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam are vulnerable to physical abuses, indefinite detention, and extortion by Thai authorities; severe labor rights abuses and exploitation by employers; and violence and human trafficking by criminals, sometimes in collaboration with corrupt officials. (…) There was little progress in the trial of Lt. Gen. Manas Kongpa—together with 52 local politicians, community leaders, businessmen, and alleged criminals—for trafficking ethnic Rohingya to Malaysia. Migrant workers remain fearful of reporting trafficking crimes or cooperating with Thai authorities due to lack of effective protection.”[106]

Amnesty International: “The legal system did not provide formal recognition for refugees and asylum-seekers, leaving many vulnerable to abuse. Asylum-seekers, including children, faced months or years of indefinite detention in crowded immigration detention centres. Scores of Rohingya people had remained in these centres since they arrived by boat during a regional migration crisis in 2015. The authorities did not adequately address their protection needs as asylum-seekers and potential victims of human trafficking.”[107]

Amnesty International: “Thailand’s most visible nexus to the grave human rights situation in Myanmar has been the situation of the Rohingya. Thailand has long been a hub for human trafficking networks transporting Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi migrants to Malaysia and other destination countries. In 2015, the “discovery” of trafficking camps and mass graves in southern Thailand — Thai officials knew of the existence of the camps for years and were complicit in the operations of traffickers — precipitated a crackdown by Thai and Malaysian authorities. As a result, traffickers abandoned boats of refugees and migrants at sea, often without adequate water, food or fuel. Between a Rock and a Hard Place, a report published this week by Amnesty International, describes how Thailand’s military government responded to the 2015 boat crisis by enforcing a “push-back” policy first implemented by prior Thai administrations. The Thai navy towed boats filled with hungry and malnourished refugees into international waters, driving them on towards Malaysia or Indonesia. Amnesty International researchers spoke with refugees who described the hopelessness they felt after being turned back to sea despite their desperate circumstances. The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) reported that at least 370 individuals lost their lives at sea during the crisis. Amnesty International fears that the number was much higher. As “sailing season” nears once more, it is likely that some of the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya sheltering in squalid, makeshift camps in Bangladesh will attempt the potentially deadly journeys across the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea. Despite widespread condemnation of its actions in 2015, the Thai authorities have sent mixed messages regarding their current policy toward the Rohingya. A month ago, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha stated that authorities were “preparing to receive” Rohingya fleeing Myanmar. More recently, a Thai military officer indicated that the Thai navy would once again push back boats carrying Rohingya refugees should they arrive in Thai waters. While the Myanmar exodus is currently dominating headlines, it is important to remember that the Rohingya are not the only individuals in need of international protection whom Thailand has treated badly. As documented in our report, over the past three years the Thai government has, on several occasions, forcibly returned refugees and asylum-seekers to countries based on the request of foreign governments. In 2015, Thailand handed a group of 109 ethnic Uyghur asylum-seekers over to Chinese authorities in Bangkok. They were subsequently placed on a chartered flight with black hoods over their heads surrounded by Chinese security officers. Their current status and condition in China is unknown. A few months later, Thailand forcibly returned two Chinese political activists, despite the fact that both had been recognized as refugees by UNHCR and approved for resettlement in Canada. Most recently, in May of this year, Thailand caved in to the demands of the Turkish government by cooperating in the extradition of a Turkish national with alleged links to exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen. He was arrested as soon as he landed in Istanbul. Underlying these grave human rights violations is a gaping hole in Thailand’s refugee laws and policies. Thai law does not give refugees and asylum-seekers legal status, nor does it establish any formal measures to protect those fleeing persecution and human rights violations in another country. Therefore, refugees, like all other irregular migrants are considered “illegal” and are subject to arrest, detention and deportation. While Thailand has made welcome commitments to strengthening protections for refugees, to date these remain little more than unfulfilled promises. Now home to the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis, Southeast Asia needs leadership and a positive model for the treatment of refugees more than ever before. Thailand, with its long history of hosting those fleeing persecution, must step up to the mark.”[108]

Amnesty International: “With ethnic cleansing forcing hundreds of thousands of Rohingya out of Myanmar, Thailand urgently needs to set a regional example by adopting humane refugee policies. Instead of callously repelling people fleeing unimaginable horrors, the Thai government should ensure safe passage for those seeking international protection in Thailand,” said Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty International’s Director of Global Issues. “Thailand hosts one of the largest refugee populations in the region, but its myopic, ad hoc policies mean it fails to offer them proper protection. The authorities cannot continue to lurch from one refugee crisis to the next; and instead must set up the systems required to offer these men, women and children who are at risk the safety and security they need.” (…) Gaping holes in Thailand’s legal framework leave refugees and asylum-seekers without legal status and therefore vulnerable to abuse. This is particularly true for more than 7,000 asylum seekers who currently live in urban areas. Urban refugees and asylum-seekers, even those officially registered with the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, can be arrested at any time under the 1979 Immigration Act that criminalizes irregular entry and stay in Thailand. Following arrest, most refugees and asylum-seekers are sent to immigration detention centres where they can be held indefinitely in appalling conditions described by refugee rights advocates as “worse than prison”. Former detainees described frequent abuse by guards and other detainees and cells so overcrowded that they had to sleep in shifts. In constant fear of arrest and detention, refugees and asylum-seekers often live in miserable conditions, confined to their homes and cut off from social interactions. Many struggle to find employment, access medical care or even feed themselves and their families. In what amounts to “constructive refoulement”, many choose to give up their asylum claims and return to their home countries rather than face the unbearable hardships of refugee life in Thailand.”[109]

Human Rights Watch: “Thailand’s military junta has announced a policy designed to push back desperate Rohingya seeking to escape the atrocities in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, and deny them access to refugee protection. (…)Rather than sympathy and support for those at risk, Thailand is preparing to respond with the back of its hand. The Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc), chaired by Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, announced authorities will enforce a three-step action plan. First, the navy will intercept Rohingya boats that come too close to the Thai coast. Then, upon intercepting such boats, officials will provide fuel, food, water, and other supplies on the condition the occupants agree to travel onward to Malaysia or Indonesia. Lastly, any boat that somehow manages to land on Thai shores will be seized, and immigration officials will apprehend and put Rohingya men, women and children in indefinite detention. These inhumane measures were announced shortly after the meeting between Snr Gen Min Aung Hlaing, Myanmar’s army chief, responsible for the military operations against the Rohingya, and Thailand’s junta leaders on Aug 31. In the past four weeks, over 420,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh, and satellite imagery and heat sensors analysed by Human Rights Watch have shown more than 228 villages burned to the ground in northern Rakhine state. Those refugees are joining more than 300,000 Rohingya already in Bangladesh because of repression and abuses. Thailand knows well that successive Myanmar governments have persecuted the Rohingya. (…)Many Thais can recall when the Thai-Malaysian border camps of human traffickers were broken up in May 2015, revealing many Rohingya had died from starvation and disease. Survivors told of a terrifying ordeal in the hands of traffickers. Still, given the lack of security and primitive camp conditions in Bangladesh, many Rohingya are expected to travel by sea starting next month, when weather conditions on the Andean Sea improve, and try to pass through Thailand to seek sanctuary in Malaysia and Indonesia. Thai authorities have for years said they do not want to accept Rohingya refugees. However, under international law, Thailand cannot summarily reject at the border the claims of asylum seekers fleeing widespread human rights abuses or generalised violence. Thailand is obligated to allow them to enter the country and seek protection. Thailand should help the oppressed Rohingya from Myanmar, not worsen their plight. The inhumane “push-back” policy planned for new boat arrivals should be scrapped immediately. Instead, Thailand should take the lead in efforts to set up a regional preparedness mechanism that will support search and rescue operations to help Rohingya boats at sea. Thailand should also grant the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) unhindered access to screen all Rohingya arriving in Thailand, and permit them to identify and assist those seeking refugee status. As the UNHCR guidelines state that detention should not be used as a punitive measure or as a means of discouraging refugees from applying for asylum, Thai authorities should work closely with the United Nations refugee agency and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to provide temporary shelters for Rohingya before they are resettled in third countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia. In this regard, it is critical for other governments to provide necessary assistance to Thailand. One way for Thailand to help stem the flow of new arrivals would be to pressure Myanmar to stop the atrocities from which the Rohingya are fleeing. However, successive Thai governments have failed to speak up for the rights of the Rohingya, or the situation in Rakhine state. By continuing to turn a blind eye to the plight of Rohingya, Thailand’s reputation will be at risk, and the government will face a continued exodus by desperate Rohingya. Thailand needs to act fast if it wants to play a leadership role in a regional solution to save lives of Rohingya facing ethnic cleansing in Burma.”[110]

Sutharee Wannasiri, a human rights specialist with Fortify Rights: “Fortify Rights is concerned with the indefinite detention of Rohingya refugees, along with the deplorable conditions inside these immigration detention centers,” “We urge Thailand to end indefinite detention of refugees, and improve conditions inside the detention facilities to meet with international standards.” [111]

FORTIFY RIGHTS: “The Government of Thailand should stop detaining and forcibly returning refugees to situations of potential harm, Fortify Right today. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi will meet Thai Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha tomorrow in Bangkok to discuss the situation of refugees in Thailand.
“Refugees face a litany of abuse in Thailand, and it doesn’t have to be this way,” said Amy Smith, Executive Director of Fortify Rights. (…) Today, Fortify Rights and 12 organizations issued a statement calling on Thailand “to demonstrate its commitment to protect refugees by ending abusive practices as well as instituting and implementing laws that guarantee the rights of refugees in Thailand.” In particular, the organizations called for the Thai government to end the forced return of refugees and the arbitrary detention of refugees in Thailand as well as provide access to legal status, labor protections, educational opportunities, and other forms of assistance. Thailand hosts more than 100,000 refugees, most of whom are protracted refugees from Myanmar living in temporary shelters along the Thailand-Myanmar border as well as “urban refugees” from various countries living in Bangkok and surrounding provinces. These refugees lack formal legal status in Thailand and are at risk of arbitrary detention and being forcibly returned to countries where they may face persecution. (…) “Refugees have rights to genuine and consistent protections and it’s incumbent on the authorities here to protect those rights,” said Amy Smith. Despite being a long-time host to refugee communities, Thailand has failed to provide refugees with full or consistent protections. Without adequate protections, refugees are at a heightened risk of serious human rights violations in Thailand.” (…)
In March, Fortify Rights published A Work in Progress: Thailand’s Compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a report highlighting Thailand’s failure to uphold its legal obligations to protect refugees. Fortify Rights documented the mass indefinite detention of Rohingya refugees in Thailand as well as other serious human rights violations, including the forced return of Rohingya from Myanmar and Lao Hmong from the Lao People’s Democratic Republic—violations that contravene customary international law and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Thailand is a state party. During the U.N. Human Rights Committee review of Thailand’s obligations as a party to the ICCPR, the Thai government confirmed that it continues to confine 121 Rohingya from Myanmar’s Rakhine State and Bangladesh to government-run shelters. In March 2015, Fortify Rights documented Thailand’s failure to meet its duty of care for Rohingya detained in detention centers and shelters in Thailand.  Today’s statement also called on Thailand to “end the arbitrary and indefinite detention of refugees and asylum seekers in immigration detention centers and government-run shelters.” “Refugees should never be detained just for being refugees,” said Amy Smith. Arbitrarily detaining someone, even in a shelter, constitutes a violation of the right to liberty. The Thai government should immediately release Rohingya and other refugees who remain detained here.”

HRW: “The Thai government should immediately halt its plan to deport 73 ethnic Rohingya back to Burma, Human Rights Watch said today. Thai authorities should allow the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN refugee agency, unhindered access to these and other boat migrants from Burma (…). On January 1, 2013, near Bon Island in Phuket province, Thai authorities intercepted a boatload of 73 Rohingya migrants – including as many as 20 children, some as young as 3 – that contained likely asylum seekers. (…) two trucks with all 73 Rohingya were heading to Ranong province for deportation to Burma. “The Thai government should scrap its inhumane policy of summarily deporting Rohingya, who have been brutally persecuted in Burma, and honor their right to seek asylum,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “UNHCR should be permitted to screen all Rohingya arriving in Thailand to identify and assist those seeking refugee status.” (…)Should a boat land on Thai soil or be found to be unsafe, Thai immigration officials will step in to enforce deportation by land. This “soft deportation” process has resulted in Rohingya being sent across the Thai-Burma border at Ranong province, where people smugglers await deported Rohingya to exact exorbitant fees to transport them to Malaysia. Those unable to pay the smuggling fees are forced into labor to pay off the fees, condemning them to situations amounting to human trafficking. “Thailand has repeatedly stated its commitment to combat human trafficking, yet by deporting Rohingya into the hands of people smugglers, they are making them vulnerable to trafficking,” Adams said. (…) While the recent “help on” strategy has meant that intercepted boats are re-provisioned, the Thai navy is still pushing back to sea boats filled with Rohingya, with some deadly results. Thailand’s response to arriving Rohingya asylum seekers contrasts sharply with the policy in Malaysia, where the authorities have routinely allowed the UN refugee agency access to arriving Rohingya. (…) Under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to seek asylum from persecution. While Thailand is not a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention, under customary international law the Thai government has an obligation of “nonrefoulement” – not to return anyone to a place where their life or freedom would be at risk. The Thai government should ensure that its laws and procedures recognize the protection needs of ethnic Rohingya, Human Rights Watch said.”[112]

Radio Free Asia: “Thai authorities have arrested and deported up to 10,000 Myanmar nationals working in the country as part of a crackdown on illegal immigrants during the last 10 days, an official from a Myanmar nongovernmental organization that helps migrant workers said Monday. “Over the last 10 days, there have been more arrests of Burmese workers in Thailand,” said Kyaw Thaung, director of the Myanmar Association in Thailand. “According to [our] list, the number of Myanmar nationals arrested around the country in the past 10 days could reach 10,000—an average of about 1,000 each day.” Those arrested in the operation led by the Thai army work in markets, shopping malls, and hotels, he said. (…) So far, only Myanmar employees have been arrested in the operation, he added. When Thai authorities arrest Myanmar nationals, they confiscate their Thai work permits and residency documents and transport them to towns such as Myawaddy township in southeastern Myanmar’s Kayin state and Tachileik township in eastern Myanmar’s Shan state for deportation. When Myanmar workers are sent to the border at Myawaddy, they must pay Thai officials 1,000 baht (U.S. $29) to leave Thailand, Kyaw Thaung said. Some migrants, including those detained in the Thai capital Bangkok, must pay 1,700 baht (U.S. $49) to brokers at a border checkpoint in Myawaddy, Eleven Myanmar media group reported. The brokers in turn pay 500 baht (U.S. $14) of the fee to Thai immigration authorities. Myanmar migrants who were detained at a work site in Mae Sot, a trade hub near the Thai-Myanmar border did not have to pay the fee, the report said. If the workers cannot pay the fee, they have to work on the border guards’ farmlands, Kyaw Thaung said.  (…) Many migrant workers in Thailand—especially those in the country illegally—are at risk of being trafficked as sex workers or for slave-like labor on fishing boats.”[113]

Associated Press: “Thailand`s navy abandoned hundreds of illegal migrants on a barge in the Indian Ocean where about 300 desperate people with little food and water later drowned, a refugees` advocacy group said. Thai authorities have repeatedly denied the 400 migrants were left to die in the ocean in December 2008. “We deport illegal immigrants, but we adhere to internationally accepted practice,” Immigration police chief Lt-Gen Chatchawal Suksomjit said. Chris Lewa, coordinator of the Bangkok-based advocacy group Arakan Project, said at least two survivors recounted their experience to her. She said they told her four illegal migrants were tied up and thrown into the ocean after the group refused to board the barge from a Thai navy vessel.”[114]

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban: “Thailand has no intention of opening any refugee camp. We cannot afford carrying the burden of taking care of another 200,000-300,000 people,” “They come from Myanmar and that is where they will be deported to,” [115]

Associated Press: “Indonesia’s navy picked up 198 starving, dehydrated boat people from Myanmar who said they drifted for three weeks after authorities in Thailand forced them to sea in a boat without an engine, an official said. Twenty-two others died on the small wooden vessel during the crossing, the survivors told Indonesian officials. It was the latest in a string of accusations that Thai authorities have been habitually abusing boat people fleeing the military dictatorship in Myanmar by abandoning them to die at sea. Thailand has repeatedly denied the accusations”[116]

The Time: “Thailand Sends 1,300 Rohingya Back to Hell.  Thailand says it has deported around 1,300 Rohingya asylum seekers back to Burma (officially known as Myanmar), in a move dubbed “appalling” by human rights activists. The figure represents virtually all of the Rohingya boatpeople who have washed up on Thai shores. “The deportations were voluntary. We sent them back 100 to 200 people at a time,” Thai Police Lieutenant General Pharnu Kerdlarpphon told the Associated Press. Many Rohingya risk their lives attempting to reach perceived safe havens, such as Muslim-majority Malaysia, on barely seaworthy boats, only to get detained in Thai waters. But Bangkok has not ratified the 1951 Refugee Convention and still does not have functioning asylum procedures. “The Thai government has consistently failed to respect the rights of Rohingya asylum seekers,” says Matthew Smith, executive director of the Fortify Rights NGO. “It’s an appalling response to serious human rights violations.”[117]

Burma Campaign UK: “Thailand is to go ahead with the forced deportation of ethnic Karen refugees back to Burma at 7am this Friday 5th February. 35 families totalling 161 people will be forced back to Burma by the Thai military.  The refugees do not want to return, and face possible death or injury from landmines. Although the Royal Thai Government and local and military representatives have officially stated that they will not force people to return, only one family out of 3,000 refugees genuinely wants to return to Burma at this time. The rest have been facing intimidation and threats to force them to say they want to go back to Burma. Until now they have been kept in two temporary camps, Nong Bua, (also called No Bu), and Mae U Su, in Tha Song Yang close to the Thailand-Burma border. Many of these refugees have already been forced to flee their homes four or more times.”[118]

Reuters: “More than 200 boat people held in southern Thailand will be pushed back out to sea, police said on Monday, despite calls by rights group to stop a policy that puts would-be asylum seekers at risk. Around 259 people were found at sea on Saturday and were arrested for illegal entry. Their discovery around 3 km (1.86 miles) from the coast follows what one NGO said was a “major maritime exodus” from neighboring Myanmar of Rohingya, a mostly stateless Muslim minority group from the country’s west. (…) The 259 will be put back on boats and sent back to Myanmar, said Police Colonel Sanya Prakobphol, head of Kapoe district police. “They are Muslims from Myanmar … They are illegal migrants,” Sanya told Reuters by telephone. “If they come in then we must push them back … once they have crossed the sea border into Myanmar then that’s considered pushing them back. What they do next is their problem.[119]


Evicence 9: Genocide against Rohingya People

Fortify Rights: “Thailand: Government Officials Convicted of Human Trafficking, Organized Crime. Verdicts delivered in Thailand’s largest human trafficking trial . (Bangkok, July 20, 2017)—A Criminal Court in Thailand yesterday sentenced 62 defendants, including senior government officials, to up to 94 years’ imprisonment for crimes including trafficking and murdering Rohingya refugees from Myanmar and Bangladeshis in 2015. These verdicts mark a step forward for Thailand’s efforts to combat human trafficking, but authorities should reopen the investigation into the trafficking of tens of thousands of Rohingya and Bangladeshis from 2012 to 2015, said Fortify Rights. “This judgment is a milepost for Thai authorities and we hope it sends a shockwave to criminal syndicates and complicit institutions in the country,” said Amy Smith, Executive Director of Fortify Rights. “More needs to be done to account for the horrific crimes that took place in Thailand over the last few years and to ensure this never happens again.”  The Criminal Court Division for Human Trafficking in Bangkok convicted 62 defendants of crimes including human trafficking, transnational organized crime, conspiracy, murder, attempted murder, beatings, coercion, holding people for ransom, and carrying weapons unlawfully. Sentences ranged from 4 to 94 years’ imprisonment. The Court doubled the sentences of defendants who were government officials or members of a transnational organized criminal network as well as defendants who committed crimes against children or with more than three people. However, the court reduced the sentences of those who received more than 50 years’ imprisonment to 50 years in accordance with section 91(3) of Thailand’s Criminal Code. Those convicted yesterday include senior Thai government and military officials. The Court sentenced senior military officer of the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) Region 4 Lieutenant-General Manas Kongpan to 27 years’ imprisonment; the former Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Padang Besar, Bannajong Pongphol and Prasit Lemleh, to 78 years’ imprisonment, and the former Provincial Administrative Officer of Satun Province Pajuban Aungchotiphan (also known as “Ko Tong”) to 75 years’ imprisonment. (…) The Court also granted compensation ranging from 54,500 to 265,550 Thai Baht (US$1,621 to US$7,901) to survivors of human trafficking, ordering the convicted defendants to pay a total amount of 4,400,250 Thai Baht (US$130,973) in compensation. The trial revolved around the Thai authorities’ discovery of a mass-grave site containing 36 bodies in a hillside jungle location in Songkhla Province on May 1, 2015.  Dozens of Rohingya and Bangladeshi survivors and eyewitnesses described to Fortify Rights several undiscovered mass-grave sites believed to be in Thailand and Malaysia.  “Thai authorities shouldn’t sweep undiscovered mass graves under the rug of this trial,” said Amy Smith. “We documented a massive operation that trafficked tens of thousands of Rohingya during a three-year period. The loss of life was significantly more than the focus of this trial.” From at least 2012 to 2015, transnational criminal syndicates and complicit Thai authorities held captive, at any given time, several thousand Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi nationals in illicit “torture camps” in conditions of enslavement, depriving them of adequate food, water, and shelter, and beating and sometimes killing victims. Alleged members of human trafficking syndicates who preyed on Rohingya and others in Myanmar, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Malaysia have not been held to account, Fortify Rights said. Fortify Rights calls on the Thai authorities to reopen the investigation into the mass human trafficking of Rohingya and Bangladeshis in Thailand that occurred between 2012 to 2015 and to provide adequate resources to ensure the investigation is complete, independent, and effective. Thai authorities should also conduct a thorough assessment of this trial to ensure shortcomings are remedied, perpetrators of harassment and intimidation of witnesses and others are held to account, and lessons are learned for future cases. Fortify Rights’ monitored the trial and revealed it was beset by unchecked threats against witnesses, interpreters, and police investigators. Threats against the chief investigator, Major General Paween Pongsirin, caused him to flee Thailand just one month after the trial commenced. Thai authorities also arbitrarily detained Rohingya witnesses, some of whom were physically assaulted. Fortify Rights’ monitoring also revealed fair-trial issues. The court prohibited the news media and other observers from note taking and limited their access to the courtroom, which compromised monitoring of the trial. In its written summary, the Court noted that journalists and members of the public were required to watch the trial from a separate room because of the large number of defendants and their attorneys. The Court further noted that restrictions on recording and transmitting information were necessary to “maintain order” in the Court and to “not affect the case” of either the prosecution or defense. Following the investigation into the trafficking of Rohingya and Bangladeshis, the Thai authorities issued 153 arrest warrants; however, 50 individuals named in arrest warrants remain unaccounted for. The trial commenced in October 2015 and concluded in February 2017 after hearing testimony from 98 prosecution witnesses, including children, and 111 defense witnesses and reviewing more than 1,800 evidentiary documents. One defendant died during the trial. Thailand has an opportunity to use this momentum to stamp out the scourge of trafficking, said Amy Smith. “This trial was a step in the right direction, but sadly, this case is far from closed.”

AlJazeera: “An army general in Thailand was one of the most prominent figures found guilty in a major human trafficking trial that included more than 103 defendants accused of involvement in a modern-day slavery trade. Lieutenant-General Manas Kongpaen was convicted on Wednesday of several offences involving trafficking and taking bribes. At least one other defendant considered a kingpin in the illegal trade, Pajjuban Aungkachotephan, was also found guilty. He was a prominent businessman and former politician in the southern province of Satun. By Wednesday evening, 62 people were found guilty, with sentences ranging from four years to the maximum 50 years allowed under the criminal code, officials said. Individual sentences were not immediately announced. As well as the general, Myanmar nationals, Thai police officers and local politicians are among those accused. Arrests began in 2015 following the discovery of 36 bodies in shallow graves in southern Thailand. That discovery exposed networks which trafficked Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar and held them for ransom in jungle camps before they were granted passage to Malaysia. The trial began that year, when authorities said traffickers held migrants in the camps as hostages until relatives were able to pay for their release. Many never made it out. The case drew special attention when its lead police investigator, Major-General Paween Pongsirin, fled to Australia and said he feared for his life after his findings implicated “influential people” in Thailand who wanted to silence him. (…)Thailand has yet to release a full report on the graves and the results of post-mortem forensic testing. Rights groups say trafficking networks were largely left intact by the 2015 crackdown and trial. “We believe that the crackdown is only a disruption of a trafficking network but that network is still very much well in place,” said Amy Smith, an executive director of rights group Fortify Rights. Smith also said the current trial has a narrow focus. “We expect there are many more perpetrators out there,” she said. “This is a big business with big money.” Sunai Phasuk, a senior researcher on Thailand at Human Rights Watch, said: There needs to be more prosecution against traffickers as well as more work on rehabilitation of trafficking victims. (…) The trial has been marred by allegations of intimidation against witnesses, interpreters and police investigators. Thitinan Pongsudhirak, director of the Institute of Security and International Studies at Chulalongkorn University, said this trial will serve as a litmus for Thailand’s military government, which is marred by controversies and corruption scandals. (…)  Thailand’s government denies that trafficking syndicates are still flourishing and has said it has largely eliminated human trafficking in the country. (…) Thailand has historically been a source, destination and transit country for men, women and children who are often smuggled and trafficked from poorer, neighbouring countries including Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar to work in Thailand or further afield in Malaysia, often as labourers and sex workers. Mass grave. Last month the US state department left Thailand on a Tier 2 Watchlist, just above the lowest ranking of Tier 3, in its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report because it did not do enough to tackle human smuggling and trafficking. Al Jazeera’s Scott Heidler, reporting from Bangkok, said (…) “Human rights observers are hoping that this is just the beginning and there will be many more cases to come.” All the defendants earlier pleaded not guilty and were placed under pre-trial detention.”[120]

The Guardian: “Thailand human trafficking death toll far greater than feared, claims rights Group. Mass grave in Songkhla province may foreshadow more discoveries as survivors tell of hundreds of deaths among Rohingya people trafficked from Burma.  Human trafficking may have taken place in Thailand on a far greater scale than previously suspected, with dozens of mass graves containing the bodies of victims lying undiscovered throughout the country’s south, according to testimony gathered by a Bangkok-based human rights group. The claim comes after Thai authorities uncovered two graves apparently containing the remains of Rohingya “boat people” brought to remote parts of the country from Burma by transnational criminal syndicates. The discovery of 26 corpses at a mass burial site in Songkhla province on 1 May was followed days later by the finding of two skeletons in a second southern province, Phang Nga. More corpses have since been found close to the original site. But interviews with survivors, brokers and police officials, carried out by the NGOFortify Rights for a report on Rohingya trafficking, suggest these grim finds may only scratch the surface of a much larger problem in which the Thai government is allegedly complicit. Survivors spoke of regular killings at camps, common graves and torture at the hands of gang members trying to extort money from their families. (…)One survivorspoke of hundreds of deaths which she alleges occurred during a two-month spell in a large camp in an unidentified mountainous area near the Thai border with Malaysia. “We saw many people die,” she said. “When they died, they put them in a common grave … Sometimes five and sometimes six died at a time. (…) At another site, a Rohingya woman described a mountain location containing three camps, two of which had been abandoned. She described the brutal techniques deployed by traffickers against their human cargo, intended to induce panic and fear among the victim’s relatives so that they would pay large sums for their release. “We called our relatives and they would beat us and tell us to ask for money. They had pliers and pulled on our ears and breasts. They pulled on the men’s penises. (…). In another case, a 20-year-old Rohingya man, who was held for five months, described the conditions inside the camp, and the practice of dumping the dead or dying in isolated locations where no one would find them. “There were two camps like this, with 150 in each camp. We had to sleep on top of each other. Some people became sick in the camps after we were there a long time… Some were so sick but were still alive, but they were thrown into the mountain area. “When people died, the guards forced the people to throw the bodies in the mountain area. I saw others do this. It was a big mountain and very high, so the people brought the bodies up the mountain and left them there.” Matthew Smith, the executive director of Fortify Rights, said the accounts were indicative of “a widespread pattern of death, torture, and exploitation, in many cases involving the complicity of Thai authorities”. “The scale of this problem is enormous, and that wouldn’t be news to Thai officials,” said Smith. “The loss of life has been enormous. To say there are dozens of mass graves wouldn’t scratch the surface. We’re not in a position to assess specifically how many mass graves exist, but we have reason to believe it’s far greater than any current estimates. There needs to be a proper international investigation involving forensic teams. (…)Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has publicly ordered authorities across Thailand to “to scan every inch of their areas” for more camps. Human rights groups have expressed scepticism about these moves, however. Phil Robertson, deputy director for the Asia division of Human Rights Watch, said: “Denials that the government didn’t know what was going on are simply not credible. The Thai authorities have known about these camps for years, and in fact, senior government representatives admitted that to Human Rights Watch several years ago. It’s an understatement to say that in national government circles there has been a bit of a ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy about these camps and what goes on in them. Local officials in the areas where these camps operate, and on transit routes taken to send Rohingya to the camps, have been directly involved and profited by serving as local look-outs and protectors for the camps. Smith was similarly critical of officialdom. “Thai authorities have been fully aware of the existence of these camps, and they’ve known very well what goes on there,” he said.  “We have testimony that places Thai officials in trafficking camps negotiating with traffickers while hundreds of people are held captive. Torture, killings, deprivations, and other abuses have all occurred with impunity. We’ve documented how Thai authorities have ‘rescued’ Rohingya asylum seekers and then sold or handed them to trafficking syndicates, who in turn tortured them.” Heightening deprivations in Burma are driving more people into the hands of the traffickers, said a Rohingya community leaderin Rakhine, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Every single thing is under the control of the authorities,” he said. “The boat drivers, the brokers … always have to negotiate with authorities. Without bribing the security forces [military or police], it is not easy to leave. But people are handed over again to the traffickers in Thailand or [near the] Malaysia border. From there, they will be released by paying around 30 lakhs kyats [about £2,000]. People who cant afford to pay are sold out or killed.”[121]

Charis Chang: “Rohingya refugees buried in mass graves in Thailand. LESS than 500km from partying tourists in Phuket, a group of people were raped, beaten, killed and buried. It’s a secret many want to stay hidden. IN DOZENS of abandoned jungles camps, less than 500km from partying tourists in Phuket, lies the graves of hundreds of people who were tortured, held for ransom and then killed if their families couldn’t pay up. Perhaps the most disturbing thing about the atrocities near the Thai border town of Padang Besar, is that they took place with the full knowledge of officials in surrounding townships, many of whom benefited from the misery of one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. Four Corners reporter Mark Davis travelled to Thailand where he spoke to one young man who witnessed the horrifying treatment of the Rohingya in these jungle camps. “If families didn’t pay the men were beaten to death, the women were raped to death in many cases, and the children were not spared,” Davis told news.com.au. (…) At some camps human remains have also been found but a former guard of the camp told Davis that the smugglers at this one were clever enough to bury the bodies elsewhere. The former guard led Davis to a mass grave in the nearby town of Padang Besar where he had personally buried about 20 Rohingya bodies in a field of about 100 graves. The site was located behind a police station and overlooking this graveyard was the newly built mansion of one of the smugglers. “It just shows the level of complicity, everyone was making a buck on the torment of these people,” Davis said. Most of the people held in the jungle camps had willingly got on boats in Myanmar in the hopes of making it to Malaysia, an Islamic country, but were instead taken to these camps on the Thai border and tortured so the smugglers could extort money from their families. “If their families pay the money they are released into Malaysia … if they don’t pay them they’re dead — there are hundreds of graves up there, perhaps thousands, no one has any idea yet,” Davis said. Smugglers were charging about $2000 per person for the promise of a new life. A deposit of about $200 could get someone on a boat. “One boatload of 400 people, that’s $800,000, this was hugely profitable … and there was no shortage of people putting their hands out,” Davis said. Shockingly, most people around the camps must have known about their existence. Davis said the camps were not that remote. “One guard said there were 50 camps that had thousands of people in them, these were surrounded by villages and roads, this has been happening on an industrial scale for the last three years,” Davis said. Hundreds of people, sometimes 500 in one day, would be transported to these jungle camps in trucks and cars. “The idea that someone didn’t know about this is laughable now,” Davis said. The mayor of Padang Besar and his deputy have recently been arrested for their involvement in the trade and a senior Thai general has also been arrested but Davis said this was just the tip of the iceberg of who was involved.”[122]

DW: “Army general among Thais convicted in Rohingya mass graves case. A Thai court has found dozens of people guilty in the country’s biggest ever human trafficking case, which began in 2015 after the discovery of 30 mass graves. The dead bodies are believed to be of Roghingya migrants. A Thai general was among 62 people convicted by a court on Wednesday of various charges, including murder, torture, rape, money laundering and human trafficking. Lieutenant General Manas Kongpan (main picture) received 27 years for human trafficking and other offenses. The 103 defendants, all of whom pleaded not guilty, included Thai police officials, businessmen, bureaucrats and Myanmar nationals. Thai officials initiated the case in 2015 after the discovery of more than 30 bodies at an abandoned human trafficking camp in the southern Songkhla province close to the Thai-Malaysian border. Authorities believe the graves contained bodies of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh. At least two of them were children. (…) “The trial and convictions was just the first step,” Sunai Phasuk, senior Thailand researcher at Human Rights Watch, told Reuters news agency. “The government needs to do more beyond this and continue investigations. It should leave no stone unturned.” (…) Just weeks after the discovery of dead bodies in Thailand, Malaysian authorities unearthed mass graves near the Thai border. A total of 139 graves were found at 28 abandoned squalid detention camps believed to have been used by human traffickers to hold people fleeing Myanmar and Bangladesh. The mass graves in Thailand and Malaysia highlighted the largely-ignored plight of the Rohingyas in Myanmar and Bangladesh that are regularly exploited by human traffickers. (…) (Fortify Rights) also said the Thai investigation was limited and failed to investigate other suspected camps where victims are believed to be buried. “Thai authorities shouldn’t sweep undiscovered mass graves under the rug of this trial,” Amy Smith, executive director of Fortify Rights, said in a statement. “We documented a massive operation that trafficked tens of thousands of Rohingya during a three-year period. The loss of life was significantly more than the focus of this trial,” she said.  “We believe the crackdown is only a disruption of a trafficking network but that network is still very much well in place,” said Smith.”[123]

Human Rights Watch: The discovery of more than 30 bodies in a human trafficking camp should prompt Thai authorities to authorize an independent, United Nations-assisted investigation, commit to publish its findings, and bring those responsible to justice, including any government officials involved, Human Rights Watch said today. The UN and others, including the United States, that have called for an end to trafficking in Thailand should urgently press the government to end official complicity and willful blindness in rampant trafficking in the country. On May 1, 2015, a joint military-police taskforce discovered at least 30 bodies at an abandoned human trafficking camp in the Sadao district of Songkhla province close to the Thai-Malaysian border. Many were buried in shallow graves, while others were covered with blankets and clothes and left in the open. (…) “The finding of a mass grave at a trafficking camp sadly comes as little surprise. The long involvement of Thai officials in trafficking means that an independent investigation with UN involvement is necessary to uncover the truth and hold those responsible to account.” For years, human rights organizations and investigative journalists have reported on the thriving human trafficking networks that operate with support and protection from corrupt officials in southern Thailand. Last year, the US State Department downgraded Thailand to the worst possible rating – tier 3 – on its 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report, for failing to combat human trafficking. (…) As with previous Thai governments, the military junta of Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha does not permit the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to properly conduct refugee status determination screenings of Rohingya. Each year, tens of thousands of Rohingya flee the dire human rights situation in Burma only to be further abused and exploited at the hands of traffickers in Thailand,” Adams said. “The discovery of these mass graves should shock the Thai government into shutting down the trafficking networks that enrich officials but prey on extremely vulnerable people. Instead of sticking Rohingya in border camps or immigration lockups, the government should provide safety and protection.”[124]

Asia Times: “Tailand’s ugly trade in people now that a marathon trial has ended in Bangkok with 62 people convicted of human trafficking and other serious crimes. Camps set up by traffickers in the jungle on the Thai-Malaysian border to hold Rohingya and other ‘boat people’ existed for many years prior to government crackdown in mid-2015 that curtailed the brutal trade, a key activist group has said. Freeland, a Bangkok-based non-government group that fights wildlife trafficking and human slavery, worked with Thai police to identify key figures in the smuggling networks that were rounded up and put on trial. The group said on Friday it “believes that more than 500 people died in the camps where the people in this particular trafficking chain were held, and that the camps were probably there for at least five years or more.” It also had “digital forensics experts” able to help police access vital data on mobile phones found on drivers and in cars stopped with smuggled Rohingya on board. Data on the phones indicated “the precise route the drivers had taken on multiple occasions… [and] filled in pieces of the trafficking supply chain, and ultimately uncovered the location of some holding camps.” The data also allegedly led to bank transfers to a senior military officer convicted of trafficking, Lieutenant General Manas Kongpaen. Manas, who was sentenced to 27 years jail, was involved in the notorious ‘pushbacks’ affair in December 2008 and January 2009, when vessels carrying hundreds of Rohingya were towed back into the Andaman Sea and set adrift. A transcript of the court verdict says that Manas admitted using funds from the International Organization of Migration (IOM) to help pay for the ‘pushbacks’, which sparked a global furore, as hundreds were believed to have died at sea. IOM officials were shocked when notified about this on Friday – and scrambled to go through its accounts to determine if money was diverted from projects in southern Thailand. (…) Meanwhile, Australian journalist Alan Morison – an expert on people smuggling on the Andaman coast, which he documented extensively on his website Phuketwan.com before a major legal fight caused him to stop reporting – gave further insights. Morison said the involvement of senior officials in the smuggling of people through southern Thailand was a key factor in why the trade exploded so dramatically – and ultimately caused the death of so many people.  “Everyone knew about it. And few people thought it was wrong. We were shown big houses in Ranong and Kuraburi, where locals claimed they were constructed from the proceeds of trafficking. Whole villages in Phang Nga and other areas along the coast jumped into the people-smuggling trade because it was so lucrative. Boats were converted so they could carry many more people and people gave up dealing in drugs to get into this,” he said. “And that these places have been hit very hard by the sudden end to the trade because they had become some dependent on the income of people smuggling.” Initially, he said, people involved felt they were doing it for good reasons, but after a few years “greedy people” appeared to take over the trade and the treatment of Rohingya got much worse. Freeland, headed by American Steve Galster, said the Rohingya who sought work in Malaysia were put into three classes by the traffickers once they arrived at the camps in southern Thailand. “Those in good enough physical condition, young, male and strong, were sold to be militants for the opposition party of Malaysia. The older and weaker were sold as labor to either to Malaysian rubber or palm oil farms, or into the fishing industry. A wife and child could accompany them, as long as the buyer was prepared to pay more. “The third class was the weakest or those with other means to access money. They included the ill, old, women and children. They were kept in the jungle camps and their only options were either for a relative in Thailand to pay a ‘ransom’ for their release or to stay in the camps until they died. Living on one packet of noodles a day and river water most people were in the camp only between 3-6 months.[125]

The Time: “On May 25, Malaysia’s Inspector General of Police, Khalid Abu Bakar, confirmed that there were at least 139 suspected graves strewn across the Perlis range of hills that rise from Malaysia into Thailand, in the vicinity of nearly 30 abandoned camps. How many bodies each possible grave contains is not yet clear, nor is it known how the people may have died. But these remains are believed to be a grim by-product of the human-smuggling trade that for years has transported persecuted Rohingya Muslims from Burma, as well as, increasingly, Bangladeshis desperate to escape poverty back home. (…) Malaysian national police chief Khalid tells TIME: “But the depth of the cruelty, the torture, all this death, that has shocked me (…). But for human traffickers to have operated in border areas with such impunity for so many years — no matter how thick the foliage may be — it’s hard to imagine a complete lack of official complicity.”[126]

Taipei Times: “Bozor Mohamed, the third young Rohingya from Buthedaung, said he was held for 10 days at a camp in Padang Besar. He, too, said he had been delivered by Thai officials to trafficking boats along the maritime border with Myanmar. Afterward, in torrential rain and under cover of darkness, along with perhaps 200 other Rohingya, Mohamed said he was ferried back across the strait to Thailand, where a new ordeal began. The men were taken on a two-day journey by van, motorbike and foot to a smuggler’s camp on the border with Malaysia. On the final hike, men with canes beat the young Rohingya and the others, many of them hobbled by months of detention. They stumbled and dragged themselves up steep forested hills. Making the same trek was Mohamed Hassan, a fourth Rohingya to escape Thailand’s trafficking network. Hassan is a baby-faced 19-year-old from the Rakhine capital of Sittwe. He said he arrived at the camp in September after an overnight journey in a pick-up truck, followed by a two-hour walk into the hills with dozens of other Rohingya. Their captors ordered them to carry supplies, he said. Already giddy with fatigue and hunger after eight days at sea, the 19-year-old shouldered a sack of rice. “If we stopped, the men beat us with sticks,” he said. The camp was partially skirted by a barbed-wire fence, he said, and guarded by about 25 men with guns, knives and clubs. Hassan reckoned it held about 300 Rohingya. They slept on plastic sheets, unprotected from the sun and rain, and were allowed only one meal a day, of rice and dried fish. He said he was constantly hungry. One night, two Rohingya men tried to escape. The guards tracked them down, bound their hands and dragged them back to camp. Then, the guards beat the two men with clubs, rods and lengths of rubber. “Everybody watched,” Hassan said. “We said nothing. Some people were crying.” The beating lasted about 30 minutes, he said. Then a guard drew a small knife and slit the throat of one of the fugitives. The prisoners were ordered to dispose of his corpse in the forest. The other victim was dumped in a stream. Afterward, Hassan vomited with fear and exhaustion, but tried not to cry. “When I cried they beat me. I had already decided that I would die there,” he said.”[127]


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[2] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-12/buddhist-sulak-sivaraksa–faces-lese-majeste-charge/9040540

[3] https://www.buddhistdoor.net/news/thai-military-court-defers-lese-majeste-charges-against-prominent-buddhist-activist-sulak-sivaraksa

[4] https://www.lionsroar.com/why-thai-buddhist-activist-sulak-sivaraksa-could-go-to-jail-over-a-history-lesson/

[5] https://www.ifex.org/thailand/2017/11/02/sulak-sivaraksa-charged/

[6] https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/12/06/thailand-prominent-scholar-faces-15-year-term

[7] https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/scholar-buddhist-activist-sulak-sivaraksas-fate-postponed/

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[9] https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/sulak-sivaraksa-cleared-defamation-charge/

[10] https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/sulak-sivaraksa-cleared-defamation-charge/

[11] https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/sulak-sivaraksa-cleared-defamation-charge/

[12] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-40938914

[13] https://www.lionsroar.com/why-thai-buddhist-activist-sulak-sivaraksa-could-go-to-jail-over-a-history-lesson/

[14] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/thai-scholar-may-face-jail-for-insulting-king-who-died-in-1605-9804288.html

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[17] https://www.buddhistdoor.net/news/thai-military-court-defers-lese-majeste-charges-against-prominent-buddhist-activist-sulak-sivaraksa

[18] https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/12/06/thailand-prominent-scholar-faces-15-year-term

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[21] https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2017/country-chapters/thailand

[22] Thailand: Torture victims must be heard (News story, 28 September)

[23] Amnesty International Thailand’s Chair and other activists face jail for exposing torture (News story, 25 July)

[24] https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/asia-and-the-pacific/thailand/report-thailand/

[25] Thailand: Open letter on human rights concerns in the run-up to the constitutional referendum (ASA 39/4548/2016)

[26] Thailand: Prisoner of conscience must be released: Watana Muangsook (ASA 39/3866/2016)

[27] Thailand: Another human rights activist is unjustly targeted (News story, 20 September)

[28] Thailand: Authorities must protect human rights defenders in the line of fire (ASA 39/3805/2016)

[29] https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/asia-and-the-pacific/thailand/report-thailand/

[30] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/28/amnesty-thailand-torture-report-launch-cancelled-police-warning

[31] https://www.fidh.org/en/region/asia/thailand/un-demands-release-of-lese-majeste-detainee-raises-specter-of-crimes

[32] https://www.fidh.org/en/region/asia/thailand/un-demands-release-of-lese-majeste-detainee-raises-specter-of-crimes

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[37] https://asiancorrespondent.com/2017/02/thailand-latest-media-bill-labelled-death-blow-media-freedom/#ETeJBha5g252DvfO.97

[38] https://asiancorrespondent.com/2017/02/thailand-latest-media-bill-labelled-death-blow-media-freedom/#ETeJBha5g252DvfO.97

[39] https://asiancorrespondent.com/2017/02/thailand-latest-media-bill-labelled-death-blow-media-freedom/#ETeJBha5g252DvfO.97

[40] https://thediplomat.com/2012/02/thailands-human-rights-crisis/

[41] http://hrn.or.jp/eng/news/2017/10/02/joint-letter-thailand-migrant-workers/

[42] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-37415590

[43] https://www.hrw.org/asia/thailand

[44] Thailand: Report details human rights violations against defenders. https://asiancorrespondent.com/2017/03/thailand-report-human-rights-violations-defenders/#HXq5qBZAJw5OoDZx.97

[45] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/thailand/8088089/Thai-prime-minister-accused-of-war-crimes.html

[46] Thailand: Supreme Court Enshrines Impunity for 2010 Violence. https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/09/01/thailand-supreme-court-enshrines-impunity-2010-violence

[47] Thailand: Rights Crisis Deepens Under Dictatorship. https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/01/12/thailand-rights-crisis-deepens-under-dictatorship

[48] https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2017/country-chapters/thailand

[49] https://es.scribd.com/document/40176185/Preliminary-Report-into-the-Situation-of-the-Kingdom-of-Thailand-With-Regard-to-the-Commission-of-Crimes-Against-Humanity

[50] https://robertamsterdam.com/thailand_the_icc_and_crimes_against_humanity/

[51] https://es.scribd.com/document/34676324/The-Bangkok-Massacres-A-Call-for-Accountability#download&from_embed

[52] https://www.amsterdamandpartners.com/white-papers/thailand-the-bangkok-massacres-a-call-for-accountability/

[53] https://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/learning-news/241403/war-on-drugs-without-extrajudicial-killing

[54] http://globalnation.inquirer.net/140782/gains-from-thailands-bloody-war-on-drugs-proved-fleeting

[55] http://www.omct.org/urgent-campaigns/urgent-interventions/thailand/2003/02/d16181/

[56] http://www.rfa.org/english/news/cambodia/killings-02122015144539.html

[57] http://www.latimes.com/world/asia/la-fg-thailand-military-human-rights-20140911-story.html

[58] Thailand: Rights Crisis Deepens Under Dictatorship. https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/01/12/thailand-rights-crisis-deepens-under-dictatorship

[59] Rex Tillerson and the Thai Regime. https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/08/04/rex-tillerson-and-thai-regime

[60] https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2017/country-chapters/thailand

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[64] Thailand: Denial of entry to Hong Kong student activist a new blow to freedom of expression (News story, 5 October)

[65] https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/asia-and-the-pacific/thailand/report-thailand/

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[67] https://www.huffingtonpost.com/rachael-willis-/the-world-weighs-in-on-th_b_10001664.html

[68] https://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/11/world/asia/human-rights-abuses-reported-in-junta-ruled-thailand.html

[69] https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/07/29/thailand-army-detains-referendum-critics

[70] http://hrn.or.jp/eng/news/2015/06/30/thai-interim-const-junta/

[71] http://hrn.or.jp/eng/news/2015/06/30/thai-interim-const-junta/

[72] “Make him speak by tomorrow”: Torture and other ill-treatment in Thailand (ASA 39/4747/2016)

[73] https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/asia-and-the-pacific/thailand/report-thailand/

[74] Thailand: A culture of torture under the military. https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/09/thailand-a-culture-of-torture-under-the-military/

[75] Thailand: A culture of torture under the military. https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/09/thailand-a-culture-of-torture-under-the-military/

[76] https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/1868900/brits-face-beatings-hiv-electrocution-and-waterboarding-in-thai-jails-experts-warn-as-new-evidence-emerges-of-widespread-torture-and-abuse/

[77] https://thediplomat.com/2016/10/torture-under-thailands-military-junta/

[78] https://thediplomat.com/2016/10/torture-under-thailands-military-junta/

[79] https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/06/26/thailand-fulfill-pledge-end-torture

[80] Decrepit prison conditions in Thailand violate human rights – report. https://asiancorrespondent.com/2017/03/thai-prisons-human-rights/#UL5183ceyqdR0EcU.97

[81] Decrepit prison conditions in Thailand violate human rights – report. https://asiancorrespondent.com/2017/03/thai-prisons-human-rights/#UL5183ceyqdR0EcU.97

[82] Decrepit prison conditions in Thailand violate human rights – report. https://asiancorrespondent.com/2017/03/thai-prisons-human-rights/#UL5183ceyqdR0EcU.97

[83] https://asiancorrespondent.com/2017/03/thailand-leaves-legal-loophole-torture-disappearances/#0Y63uw26o8peUjgt.97

[84] http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/02/thai-prisons-violate-human-rights-report-170228063213721.html

[85] http://hrn.or.jp/eng/news/2016/07/12/thai-harassment-statement/

[86] http://hrn.or.jp/eng/news/2014/06/19/hrn-urges-the-national-council-for-peace-and-order-ncpo-of-thailand-to-immediately-stop-committing-human-rights-violations/

[87] http://www.fortifyrights.org/publication-20171002.html

[88] https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/mar/30/thailand-failing-to-stamp-out-murder-slavery-fishing-industry-starvation-forced-labour-trafficking

[89] https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/feb/25/slavery-trafficking-thai-fishing-industry-environmental-justice-foundation

[90] https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/feb/25/slavery-trafficking-thai-fishing-industry-environmental-justice-foundation

[91] https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/feb/25/slavery-trafficking-thai-fishing-industry-environmental-justice-foundation

[92] http://edition.cnn.com/2016/12/15/asia/thai-fishing-industry-report/index.html

[93] https://inhabitat.com/thailands-7-8-billion-seafood-industry-is-built-on-human-trafficking-and-slave-labor/thai-slave-labor-fishing-industry/

[94] Sixth Supplementary Report: Report of the Committee set up to examine the representation alleging non-observance by Thailand of the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29), made under article 24 of the ILO Constitution by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF)

[95] http://www.ijrcenter.org/2017/04/12/ilo-thailand-not-meeting-obligations-under-forced-labour-convention/

[96] http://edition.cnn.com/2014/06/20/world/asia/thailand-trafficking-report/index.html

[97] https://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/27/world/outlaw-ocean-thailand-fishing-sea-slaves-pets.html

[98] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-thailand-rohingya-special-report/special-report-thailand-secretly-supplies-myanmar-refugees-to-trafficking-rings-idUSBRE9B400320131205

[99] http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/07/escaping-clutches-sex-trafficking-thailand-170730071208339.html

[100] http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/conversations/Kritaya/krit-con3.html

[101] https://www.endslaverynow.org/blog/articles/history-of-prostitution-and-sex-trafficking-in-thailand

[102] http://www.justicespeaks.org/sex-trafficking-in-thailand/

[103] https://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/Thailand_80732.html

[104] https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/report-from-thailand-part-3

[105] http://www.the9thfloor.com/phuket-culinary-news/content/56439

[106] https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2017/country-chapters/thailand

[107] https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/asia-and-the-pacific/thailand/report-thailand/

[108] https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/09/rohingya-fleeing-myanmar-face-difficulties-in-thailand/

[109] https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/09/thailand-hard-line-on-refugees-leaves-thousands-vulnerable-and-at-risk/

[110] https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/09/22/thailand-needs-stop-inhumane-navy-push-backs

[111] Thailand: Report details human rights violations against defenders. https://asiancorrespondent.com/2017/03/thailand-report-human-rights-violations-defenders/#HXq5qBZAJw5OoDZx.97

[112] https://www.hrw.org/news/2013/01/02/thailand-dont-deport-rohingya-boat-people

[113] http://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/thai-authorities-arrest-and-deport-10000-myanmar-workers-08012016150922.html

[114] https://www.cbsnews.com/news/group-thai-navy-left-400-migrants-to-die/

[115] http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia/2009/02/20092451910503370.html

[116] http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sdut-indonesia-boat-people-020309-2009feb03-story.html

[117] http://time.com/7335/thailand-sends-1300-rohingya-back-to-hell/

[118] http://burmacampaign.org.uk/thailand-forced-deportation-of-karen-refugees-to-burma-starts-7am-friday-5th-february/

[119] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-thailand-myanmar-rohingyas-bangladesh/thailand-to-push-back-more-than-200-boat-people-police-idUSKCN0IU0ZL20141110

[120] http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/07/thai-court-deliver-verdict-people-smuggling-case-170719024750630.html

[121] https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/may/06/thailand-human-trafficking-mass-grave-burma-rohingya-people

[122] http://www.news.com.au/world/asia/rohingya-refugees-buried-in-mass-graves-in-thailand/news-story/5e5f454179a89e55dc85a83eb77e7ab1

[123] http://www.dw.com/en/army-general-among-thais-convicted-in-rohingya-mass-graves-case/a-39746882

[124] https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/05/01/thailand-mass-graves-rohingya-found-trafficking-camp

[125] http://www.atimes.com/article/hundreds-died-rohingya-camps-thai-malaysia-border/

[126] http://time.com/3895816/malaysia-human-trafficking-graves-rohingya/

[127] http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2013/12/08/2003578532/5



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