Cancel the State of Serious Emergency,
Parliament Must Find Solutions for the Country
Referring to the situation of which Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has declared a State of Serious Emergency in Bangkok Metropolitan area in order to use power to dissolve a peaceful demonstration organized by the so-called “Kana Ratsadorn 2563” (The People 2020)in front of the Government House and arrested 22 of its leaders and participants despite an announcement made by the leaders to end the assembly and ask all participants to go back home by 6 am.,
Union for Civil Liberty (UCL) see that:
- Demonstration and assembly organized by The People 2020 on 14th October 2020 was an expression of the right to peaceful and unarmed assembly, which is a basic right of the people guaranteed by the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand B.E. 2560 (2017) and Article 21 of the UN International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to propose their demands to the government and the general public in order that there would be a civilized discussion which is the way of expression in a democracy.
- The State of Serious Emergency was declared by claiming that “many groups of persons had invited, mobilized and taken actions to have a public assembly that was against the law on public assembly in Bangkok, using methods and means to create turbulence, chaos and unrest among the people”, despite the fact that assembly by The People 2020 was an unarmed, peaceful assembly. If any of the assembly participants violated any law, ordinary laws could already be applied to condone those offenders. Moreover, the assembly that was used as the reason for declaring the State of Serious Emergency did not fall under the State of Emergency Principle according to the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) that it must be a threat to “survival of the nation”, involving all people in the nation, and their way of living was threatened, and it must be a situation that has developed to an extent that ordinary measures cannot be used to control situations. The assembly also did not fall under Article 11 of the Official Administration in Emergency Situation Decree B.E. 2548 (2005) because the assembly of The People 2020 was not at all an emergency situation in which there was terrorism, use of force to violate life, body and properties, or any cause to believe that there was any action that was violent, affected security of the state, the safety of lives or properties of the state or persons, and it was necessary to quickly solve to end the problem effectively and immediately.
- Declaration of the State of Serious Emergency is a serious restriction of rights and liberty of the people, such as the prohibition of assembly of five persons or more, prohibition of news presentation by books, publication or other media including electronic media, prohibition of any use of certain route or vehicle, and prohibition of using, entering or being in a building. Moreover, it allows officials to use power without being checked or balanced by the judiciary, such as in arresting and detaining, calling persons to physically report themselves, seizing or sequestrating equipment or tools used in communication or sending electronic data, and prohibiting persons to take any action or tell others to take any action.
Union for Civil Liberty (UCL) therefore kindly demand the following actions:
- The Prime Minister must immediately cancel the State of Emergency Declaration in order to return Thailand to normalcy, using normal laws.
- The Parliament must play a role to find solutions for the country in order that changes in the transition stage are peaceful by members of the Parliament compiling signature to propose a motion requesting for the opening of an extraordinary meeting session of the Parliament to urgently consider the proposed motion to amend the Constitution.
- The Judiciary must independently check uses of power and duties of state officials without being under any mandate in order to prevent state officials from using the court as a tool to harass the people who use their right and liberty to legitimate opinion expression, criticism and assembly, such as in using its discretion to consider whether to permit the issuance of an arrest warrant or bailing of the alleged offenders, so that the judiciary would be an important institution to look for solutions for the country according to its scope of power and duty.
Union for Civil Liberty (UCL)
16th October 2020