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Amnesty to continue its work in Thailand despite calls for expulsion

AMNESTY International issued a statement today (Feb. 16) confirming its commitment to continue promoting and protecting human rights for people in Thailand despite calls for it to be expelled.

Mr. Kyle Ward, Amnesty International’s deputy secretary-general, said as a global movement with operations in more than 70 countries and members in 150 countries and territories, no matter where the organisation operates, its job remains the same: to prevent, monitor and hold states, corporations and others accountable for abuses of human rights under international law.

“We offer constructive recommendations to authorities on steps they can take to uphold their international human rights obligations. We will continue to do this independently and impartially on the basis of facts. In response to the anti-Amnesty campaign and related investigation, we continue to answer any questions the Thai government may have about our work in the country.

“While we recognise that the Royal Thai Government has a duty to protect public order and national security, we continue to highlight that 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’s constructive recommendations for authorities to fulfil their human rights obligations derive from internationally agreed human rights standards that Thailand has committed to uphold.

“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. This 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. The targeting of Amnesty is taking place against a backdrop of a growing intolerance for human rights discourse among Thai authorities,” he said.

An aide to Prime Minister Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Feb. 11 he would next week seek the expulsion of Amnesty International from the country, after it was accused by ultra-royalists of undermining national security, Reuters said.

Seksakol Atthawong, a vice minister in the Prime Minister’s office, said a petition opposing Amnesty’s presence in Thailand had garnered 1.2 million signatures and would be submitted to the National Security Council and Interior Ministry in a week.


Top: A composite image showing Amnesty International logo, right, and an ultra-royalist protest against the non-government organisation, left. Photo: Matichon

Home Page: Amnesty International flag. Photo: Amnesty International

Also read: Amnesty International: Court ruling a dangerous signal to freedom of expression


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