'Reprisal' report lists Thailand

'Reprisal' report lists Thailand

The government will investigate details in cases identified in a United Nations secretary-general's report on reprisals and intimidation against people cooperating with the UN on human rights, a government spokesman said on Thursday.

"We have to check on details and let relevant officials clarify," deputy government spokesman Werachon Sukondhapatipak said, adding that the information was not available at the moment.

Thailand was listed, along with Russia and China, among 38 countries that have reports of reprisals and intimidation "against civilians who cooperate with the United Nations to uphold human rights", which is marked as a "shameful practice" in a recent annual report from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Thailand and Myanmar are the only two Asean countries to have appeared in the report.

The report, based on information gathered from June 1, 2017 to May 31, 2018, details the level of retaliation against human rights defenders on a country-by-country basis, including allegations of killing, torture and ill-treatment, arbitrary arrests and detention, surveillance, criminalisation, and public stigmatisation campaigns targeting victims and human rights defenders.

With regards to Thailand, the report highlights Thai Human Rights lawyer Sirikan Charoensiri, and Lahu indigenous rights defender Maitree Chamroensuksakul as example cases.

Ms Sirikan was charged with giving false information regarding a criminal offence last August after she participated in the March 2017 session of the Human Rights Committee.

She also faced charges of sedition and violating the National Council for Peace and Order's ban on political activities, for representing 14 student activists arrested by the authorities for their alleged participation in peaceful protests in June 2015, the report said.

Meanwhile, Mr Maitree's house was raided by police, and his family members arrested and charged with drug possession two days after he met a UN special rapporteur to discuss the situation of human rights defenders last year.

The broad intimidation and reprisals, which work to discourage future participation or cooperation of civilians and local rights organisations, are often disguised in legal, political and administrative hurdles, and often manifest themselves in the form of travel bans, arbitrary arrest and detention, surveillance and defamation campaigns, budget cuts and selectively applied laws or new legislation that restrict the operations of organisations cooperating with the UN, the report claims.

The report states that the cases documented in the secretary-general's report were verified by primary sources, but that many other cases had been omitted for security reasons.

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