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Thailand: Torture victims must be heard
Amnesty International Press Release - September 28, 2016
Silencing human rights activists who highlight human rights violations will not solve the problem of torture and other ill-treatment in Thailand, Amnesty International said today.
In Bangkok, Thailand's authorities prevented Amnesty International from proceeding with the launch of Make Him Speak by Tomorrow: Torture and Other Ill-Treatment in Thailand. This report details torture and other ill-treatment at the hands of soldiers and the police against suspected insurgents, government opponents, and a range of individuals from vulnerable backgrounds, including alleged drug users and minorities.
"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. It is an appalling state of affairs when speaking up for human rights can be criminalized but torture continues with impunity," said Minar Pimple, Amnesty International's Senior Director, Global Operations.
At a press conference in Bangkok, Amnesty International was due to launch the report on torture and other ill-treatment in Thailand when the authorities intervened and forced a shutdown.
"We were told that the event could not proceed. The authorities claimed that they were not shutting the event down itself, but at the same time warned that if representatives of Amnesty International spoke at the event, they could be subject to arrest and prosecution under Thailand's labour laws," said Minar Pimple.
"We had no advance warning of this. We have engaged the Thai authorities in a constructive manner since the outset of this work on torture and other ill-treatment in the country. Before coming to Thailand to launch the report, we also shared our findings with the authorities, writing to the Prime Minister and other key ministers."
Amnesty International remains committed to investigating, documenting, and campaigning against torture all over the world, including in Thailand.