Stop using law to block peaceful demand

at Cambodian embassy in Bangkok


          Referring to a case of which police officers at Wang Thong Lang Metropolitan Police Station issued citations summoning a group of 6 Thai citizens led by Mr. Somyot Prueksakasemsuk and a group of 4 Thai citizens led by Mr. Natthawuth Uppa for committing an offence of gathering to conduct activities or to act in a way that incites unrest and disorder which is an act that violates provisions issued in Article 9 of the Royal Ordinance on Emergency Administration B.E. 2548 (2005),

          Union for Civil Liberty (UCL) sees that issuing this citation by police officers is contradictory to the purpose of the Royal Ordinance because the emergency situation has been declared by the Royal Ordinance for public health aiming only to prevent and tackle COVID-19 pandemic.  The Royal Ordinance therefore cannot be used in case of gathering at the Embassy of Cambodia in Bangkok to demand the Government of Cambodia to speedily investigate enforced disappearance of Mr. Wanchalerm Satyasakdisith which is to use the right and freedom of peaceful expression according to the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand to protect the right to life of Mr. Wanchalerm Satyasakdisith, a Thai citizen who has been subject to enforced disappearance in Cambodia.  Thailand’s state officials or government must not only block or obstruct expression of freedom by these groups of citizens, but also safeguard their expression of freedom.  This is an obligation of Thai state according to the Constitution.  Thai state is also obliged to observe the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of which Thailand is a state party which provides in Article 19 that “Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference,” and “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.”

          Union for Civil Liberty (UCL) therefore would like to request Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha as the Commander of the Royal Thai Police to order concerned police officers to revoke the citations that summon citizens who peacefully express their freedom to make a demand in order to show that Thai government is seriously acting in accordance with the Constitution and international human rights obligations.

Union for Civil Liberty

15th June 2020