Thailand: Rights groups call for end to harassment of rights defenders citing “worrying trend” of defamation charges against activists
“Thailand: Stop Judicial Harassment of Human Rights Defenders”, 9 May 2016
We, the undersigned organizations and community-based networks, urge the Thai authorities and several mining companies to drop legal proceedings against community-based human rights defenders and call on Thai authorities to strengthen mechanisms to protect human rights defenders and ensure accountability for human rights abuses.
Throughout Thailand, we have documented a worrying trend of defamation and other-related criminal and civil charges being brought against human rights defenders. Community-based activists engaged in protests and expressing concern about negative health, social, and environmental impacts potentially related to industries operating in their localities are particularly at risk of facing charges. ..
We call on Thailand to fulfill its obligations under international law to ensure human rights defenders are protected, not punished. The Government of Thailand should decriminalize defamation, which international law considers a disproportionate form of punishment for defamation-related charges, and drop all unwarranted charges brought against human rights defenders….
We also call on businesses to protect the rights of human rights defenders…Companies should avoid any unwarranted complaints and charges brought against human rights defenders should be dropped. Businesses should further engage in meaningful consultation with relevant communities and stakeholders…