5 July 2017
ISOC Region 4 should stop intimidating a HRD
On 30 June 2017, Ms. Anchana Heemmina, the leader of Duay Jai Group, which has been giving support to women and children affected by violence in the Deep South Provinces of Thailand, has visited and interviewed a woman (whose name is omitted), a mother in her nine months of pregnancy. Her husband had been arrested and held in custody at the Ingkhayuth Borihan Military Camp, Tambon Bor Thong, Nong Chik District of Pattani Province being a suspect in insurgency. The woman had complained that while her husband was held in custody, it was so difficult for her to get the permission to visit him and she was allowed to see him only one minute per day. Such duration is incompatible with the rule set forth by the Ingkhayuth Borihan Military Camp which allows up to 30 minutes of visiting time. The official failed to give her any reason as to why such rule was not followed. Ms. Archana had recorded the information and posted it on her personal Facebook on the 29 July 2017 noting also that the official had failed to comply with the rule and the law. She only wishes that the authorities would rectify their practice in order to minimize frustration of the people amidst the violent conflicts in the Deep South.
Later on 1 July 2017, around 14:00, six men in plain cloth with military emblems and name tags while some cladding Royal Thai Army T-shirts, turned up at the shop belonging to Ms. Anchana’s family. The leader amongst the men explained that they were military officials dealing with civil society from the office of Internal Security Operation Command (ISOC) in Songkhla and ISOC Region 4. They further explained that the reason they paid a ‘visit’ to Ms. Anchana was because their ‘commander’ mentioned in a meeting that she had posted a message on her facebook which had caused impairment to the military. Therefore, the military officials visited her to warn her about the dissemination of such information which including;
- The posting about a pregnant woman whose husband had been held in custody at the Ingkhayuth Borihan Military Camp and could not contact his wife and his wife was allowed only one minute per day to see him.
- The posting that ISOC has not yet withdraw the charge against the three HRDs even though ISOC had publicly promise to do so.
- The posting about Mr. Daho Mataworn, who claimed that he had been abducted by the military.
The officials claimed that such postings had caused impairment to ISOC and informed her that the authorities were developing a mechanism to prevent human rights violation. Therefore, she was asked to refrain from posting any message as such on her facebook and was asked to inform the authorities prior to her posting any comment. The talk with the military lasted for about an hour and they then pulled back.
The Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) is of the an opinion that a person may monitor, post information or express his/her opinion and comment, on the performance of the duty of the official, policy of the government or the government agencies, whether it is in compliance with the law or violation of the human rights or cause any problem to the people or not. It is simply an exercise of basic civil right to monitor the accountability of the government agencies and the freedom of expression which is protected by Section 34 of the 2017 Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) regarding freedom of expression and Thailand is a state party to the Covenant by way of accession since 29 October 1996. The Covenant has become effective since 29 January 1997. The visiting of the group of military officials to the said HRD in such manner could be construed as an act of intimidation.
CrCF call on the government, in particular the Army Region 4 and ISOC Region 4 Forward as follows;
- The authorities shall stop committing any act which could be construed as an act of intimidation against HRDs. Any legal action against HRDs should be dropped. Instead, the authorities should ensure that the activities of the HRDs are protected.
- Holding in custody of all suspects relating to security or the accused shall be in accordance with the rules, regulations which are in compliance with the law and human rights standards and be transparent and accountable manner, allowing the suspects or the accused to have the basic rights as prescribed in the Criminal Procedural Code, particularly the right to access to lawyer, the right to being visited by relatives. This shall ensure that all persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated fairly and are not made vulnerable to torture or other cruel treatments.
- The government should expedite an effort to have the Draft bill on Suppression and Prevention of Torture and Enforced Disappearance enacted in compliance with the International Convention Against Torture and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. This would ensure the prevention, suppression and combatting of abuse of power by the authorities. In addition, a mechanism must be set up to receive a complaint and to take legal action against abusive officials to ensure that the victims have access to remedies and justice, conveniently and promptly.
- The government should act according to the recommendations made by the Committee Against Torture since June 2014 regarding the examination and inspection of detention facilities per paragraph 24 that states that “…Thailand reports that visits to detention facilities can be undertaken by all agencies, including non-governmental and international organizations, upon request and with prior permission….”
- The government should promptly act as promised to international community on 11 May 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland during Universal Periodical Review that it would accede to the Optional Protocol of the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) as Thailand is already a state party to CAT. And an effort should be made to accelerate the establishment of national committee to carry out inspection of detention facilities to prevent any torture.
Made on 5 July 2017