11
Oct
10

Thailand’s Grim Human Rights Situation

The latest arrest of an editor demonstrates the government’s growing threat to freedom of expression

 

Does the United Nations really care about the human rights situation in Thailand? The brief but painful answer appears to be No. This is because, despite Thailand’s appalling human rights records in the past few years, in June the United Nations Human Rights Council unanimously elected, Sihasak Phuangketkeow, Thailand’s ambassador to Geneva, as its current president.

But it seems that Sihasak is working under heavy duress. Gross violations of human rights in Thailand are embarrassing Sihasak and his fellow Thai diplomats. Some wonder how Thailand could defend human rights elsewhere in the world when the protection of human rights among its own people is a failure.

On Sept. 24, Chiranuch Premchaiporn, an online news editor in Thailand, was arrested under the country’s 2007 Computer-related Crimes Act. She has been detained in Khon Kaen police station in Northeastern Thailand. Chiranuch is the Executive Director of Prachatai (Thai People), a Thai online media portal that contains news, opinion, and a forum for discussion about current affairs in the country. Thailand’s Immigration Police (Investigation and Suppression Division) arrested Chiranuch at passport control in Suvarnabhumi International Airport as she returned from her overseas trip – to Hungary, where she was attending the “Internet Liberty 2010” conference.

Chiranuch was arrested supposedly on the ground that she had allowed certain materials to be posted on her website – materials that were perceived by the police to be a danger to the so-called national security. It was reported that these materials were written and posted by unknown Prachatai readers. Chiranuch asserted vainly that she could not stop readers from posting to the site. But police claimed that she had the right to remove materials once they were posted. She however refused to do so, according to the police.

Source: (http://goo.gl/3r4E) Asia Sentinel – Written by Pavin Chachavalpongpun

 

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