Thailand: Amnesty vows to continue human rights work despite calls for expulsion
Amnesty International has vowed to continue with its human rights work in Thailand following calls from members of the Thai government for Amnesty to be expelled from the country, part of a growing clampdown on NGOs and civil society in the country.
In November, a vice minister in the Prime Minister’s office made public calls for Amnesty to be expelled from Thailand. The official started an online petition, helped organise campaigns on social media and staged a number of small protests.
The same month, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said he had asked police and the interior ministry to open an investigation into Amnesty.
Kyle Ward, Amnesty International’s Deputy Secretary General, said:
“The targeting of Amnesty is taking place against a backdrop of a growing intolerance for human rights discourse among Thai authorities.
“The anti-Amnesty campaign comes at a time when authorities are separately trying to pass a controversial law regulating non-profit organisations in the country.
“The ‘NPO law’ could have severe consequences for all civil society in Thailand, and Amnesty has repeatedly called on the government to withdraw the bill and seek further consultation.
“While we recognise that the Royal Thai Government has a duty to protect public order and national security, we continue to highlight that the authorities must do so in a manner that is in accordance with international human rights law, and that is proportionate, necessary and fulfils the government’s obligations to ensure and facilitate respect for human rights, including the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.”
Amnesty International is a global movement with operations in more than 70 countries, and members in 150 countries and territories.