Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Letter to Thai Ambassadors: Human Rights Abuses against Khun Waen, Witness to the Temple Shooting


Respected Ambassadors,

We, the members of the Thai Alliance for Human Rights, a US-based alliance of mostly Thais, are writing to you once again about one of Thailand’s many lese majesty victims. Natthida “Waen” Meewangpa, who is about 40 years old and the mother of two children, has been in jail for three years, and four months, on extremely dubious charges. Her case has been prioritized over about 100 other lese majesty prisoners because a little over a month ago she began to show signs of mental and physical breakdown, including hemianaesthesia (lose of sensation in half of her body), despondency, and hallucinations. The hallucinations could mean she is losing her grip on reality because of the stress of her unjust incarceration and separation from her children, or it could mean that she is being drugged to make her passive. She begged to be bailed out, and because Thai activists were worried for her life (it is not unusual for lese majesty victims to die in jail or to attempt suicide), her bail of about $27,000 was quickly raised in a social media campaign that involved the famous pro-democracy activist Nuttaa “Bow” Mahattana. However, when the activists went to court to pay her bail and free her, they were denied.

We believe the charges are an attempt to silence her calls for justice for 6 people shot dead on the grounds of Wat Prathum, Bangkok, May 19, 2010, during a government crackdown on “Red Shirt” protesters. Waen, who is a nurse, had been in the temple for hours treating the wounded brought in from outside when around 6:00pm shots were fired into the temple from the tracks of a Skytrain above the temple grounds. She became the main witness at the investigation into the incident, testifying against the military.

Waen was forcibly disappeared on March 11, 2015, and taken to a military facility for interrogation. Her phone was, of course immediately confiscated. She says she was beaten and threatened to stop her campaign for justice for the 6 victims of the temple shooting.

After the week-long interrogation, she was charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism. She spent more than a year in jail before she was bailed out. But she never even made it home to see her kids because on the way home, she was re-arrested for lese majesty, specifically sending an insulting message about King Bhumibol. It is barbaric that anyone would go to jail for sending an insulting message about royalty. People have the “right to freedom of opinion and expression . . . to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” (Article 19 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights) and this freedom extends to the right to criticize a head of state, as recently reiterated by UN experts David Kaye and Michel Forst. However in Waen’s case, these arguments are beside the point, because the message she stands accused of sending was sent 6 days into her interrogation, at which point SHE DID NOT HAVE A PHONE. It had already been taken away by the officials who now accuse her of sending it!

The United Lawyers for Rights & Liberty say that Khun Waen is a victim of a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, or SLAPP. That is, lawsuits are brought against her to silence her as a witness to an atrocity by the military. Thai activists trying to free her are using the slogan, “Stand for the Rule of Law.”
The human rights abuses in this case are so many and various that it is hard to know where to start in making this complaint. Natthida “Waen” Meewangpa has

The right to life, liberty, and security of person (Article 3)
No degrading treatment (Article 4)
The right to an effective remedy by competent national tribunals for actions violating fundamental rights (Article 8) [when she demands justice for the victims of the Temple shooting]
The right not to be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention (Article 9)
The right to a public hearing (Article 10) [All lese majesty cases are tried in secret]
The right to privacy, including no interference with one’s correspondence, and no attacks on one’s honor and reputation (Article 12) [for instance conspiring to ruin Waen’s credibility as a witness by hacking into her phone and using it to send inflamatory messages]
Respect and protection for the family (Article 16) [Waen is desperate to see her children]
Freedom of opinion and expression; the right to seek, receive, and impart information (Article 19) [For instance, as a witness to a temple shooting.]

Please convey our concerns to the proper authorities.

Thank you for your help,
Ann Norman
Thai Alliance for Human Rights
ann.norman@tahr-global.org
แอน นอร์มาน
ภาคีไทยเพื่อสิทธิมนุษยชน
ann.norman@tahr-global.org

The Abuse of Thai Soldiers

The Thai Alliance for Human Rights has called attention to the abuse of Thai soldiers and suggested their lives would be valued and their rights better protected if service was voluntary rather than forced by the draft. Now I find, this shocking detail from an article last year: A "former advisor to a parliamentary anti-corruption committee, told the media that the military conscription system in Thailand is in crisis.. . . it is riddled with corruption because more than half of the conscripts end up as servants in the houses of senior officers or in military cooperative shops."!!!

https://prachatai.com/english/node/7057


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The King and Pai, Part 18: Buddhism



By Ann Norman

Even in Thailand, where over 90% of the population is Buddhist, it would be a mistake to go around assuming that everyone is Buddhist. There are also Muslims, Christians, and Atheists (of both the Buddhist and non-Buddhist variety). The Thai Alliance includes Buddhists, Christians, and Atheists. We all get along united by humanist values, and the guidelines for our choices as an organization are listed in the UN Universal Declaration of Human. One of these values is Freedom of Religion:

Article 18: Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

No ruling group should be imposing its preferred religion on all the other groups, or announcing what is and isn’t blasphemy. No religion or religious group should be persecuted.

Pai Daodin seems to be a Buddhist. His father has posted a picture of him, head shaved wearing orange robes, sitting cross-legged on top of a mountain. It is traditional, for Thai young men to be ordained as a monk for a short period before going back to their normal lives. Pai’s father also posted a picture of Pai bowing at the feet of his teacher at the temple Wat Pong Chang, the same temple where he was ordained. At the moment he was arrested, for sharing a mainstream news article on Facebook, he also happened to be at this temple participating in a “dhammayatra activity,” which is a pilgrimage in accordance with the Buddhist principles of right mindfulness, right intention, right speech, and right action. In the Facebook Live video he posted as he was being arrested, we see that Pai is stunned to learn he is being accused of lese majesty just for sharing a BBC news article on Facebook, yet he is polite to the arresting offers, and his last words as they take him away are “This is the atmosphere” and his camera scans across a quiet scene outdoors with many orange-robed monks in the distance under trees. It seemed like a plea: “Why are you bothering me when I have done nothing wrong and am just practicing my religion?”

I only know about Buddhism from the example and explanation of my friends who are Buddhists, but I gather it is about moderation, tolerance, acceptance of impermanence, and a personal journey to find enlightenment in which a person should test everything they are told. A quick google search finds that “Five precepts, or ‘guides’, are often given as advice as to actions that will often most lead to beneficial outcomes. They are: not to lie, steal or defraud, kill or injure others, hurt via sexual relationships, and to not further cloud your mind with too many intoxicants.”

If this is what Buddhism is about, King Vajiralongkorn, a hedonistic, multi-billionare, sadistic, playboy, who lives like a mafia boss, in every sense of the word, is not a very good Buddhist. He appears to be a serial offender of most, if not all, of the five precepts. (If you think I am exaggerating just look at his biography. You can begin HERE with the English version of the article Pai shared.) And yet King Vajiralongkorn is a Buddhist by definition because Section 7 of the new Thai Constitution (written by the junta) clearly states:

“The King is a Buddhist and Upholder of religions.”

Sunday, March 18, 2018

การแสดงจุดยืนทางการเมือง ไม่ผิด กม.!! เสียงประเวศ Voice of Prawais 26 กพ 2561


การ์ตูนอีกชีวิตที่ หลุดลอย ตอกย้ำม 112 หลุมดำของคนไทย


Congratulations to Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal invited to be a Speaker for the 2018 Oslo Freedom Forum

Note that Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal is one of the 7 Thai pro-democracy activists accused of sedition for calling for elections and drawing attention to Deputy Dictator Prawit Wongsuwan's expensive watches scandal. The outside world sees that he is a remarkable man who is being persecuted for spreading democratic values, including as a former Student Council President of Chulalongkorn University.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

ประเทศไทยต่างจากนรกตรงจุดไหน (Just How is Thailand Any Different from Hell?)

คนเขียน: อินทรีย์แดง by Red Eagle

หลังสงครามเย็นสุดสุดลง ประเทศเพื่อนบ้านไทย ต่างล้วนปกครองแบบระบบความมิวนิสต์ ประเทศไทยไม่เคยเคยตกอยู่ภายใต้คอมมิวนิสต์ เนื่องจากได้รับการช่วยเหลือ อเมริกา เกือบเวลา 50 ปีที่ชาวโลกได้พิสูจน์ได้ว่าระบบความมิวนิสต์ มีแต่จะทำให้ประชาชนจนลง จนลง ไม่สามารถพัฒนาเทียบเท่ากับโลกเสรีได้ ทั้งนี้เห็นได้ การเปรียบเทียบ ระหว่างประเทศเพื่อนบ้านรอบๆไทย จะเห็นความแตกต่างได้อย่างชัดเจน ประเทศไทย ทุกวันแทบไม่มีการพัฒนาใดขึ้นเลย ช่วงที่ผ่านๆมาทำให้ประเทศเพื่อนมองประเทศไทยเป็น เมืองฟ้าเมืองสวรรค์ และผู้หลี้ภัยหลายๆประเทศได้พยามหลบเข้ามาอาศัย เพื่อที่จะเดินทางต่อไปประเทศที่3

After the Cold War came to an end, countries neighboring Thailand were all administered according to the communist system. Thailand never fell under communism, and this is because it received assistance from America for almost the 50 years over which the world received proof that the communist system only makes the people poor and not able to develop on a level with the free world. This path they can see through comparison with the surrounding neighboring countries. They can see the difference clearly. Thailand these days almost isn't developing upwards at all. In the period past, Thailand’s neighbors looked at Thailand as a heaven and refugees from many, many different countries tried of escape here, depending on Thailand, in order to proceed to a third country.

เมื่อลัทธิคอมมิวนิสต์ล่มสลาย ประเทศไทยถึงได้พัฒนา ไปไกลๆกว่าประเทศเพื่อนบ้าน ความซับซ้อนการเมืองไทยยังคงมีอทธิพลต่อการดำเนินชีวิตของคนไทยอีกหลายล้านคน เนื่องจากปกครองของประเทศไทยนั้น มีการปกครองรัฐซ่อนเร้น มีการปกครองแบบประชาธิปไตยแอบแฝง ประชาธิปไตยอันมีกษัตริย์เป็นประมุข ศูนย์รวมอำนาจจะขึ้นตรงกับ กษัตริย์แต่เพียงผู้เดียว คนไทยอีกหลายคนคนที่ไม่อาจเข้าใจ ระบอบการปกครองอย่างแท้จริง

When the cult of communism collapsed, Thailand could develop faster than its neighboring countries. Confusion in Thai politics still influenced the progress of the lives of people for many many additional millions of people. This is because the administration of Thailand has a secret state administration. It has an administration like a pretend democracy: Thai democracy with a king as head of state. The center of power will peak with the king, just that one person. Still many, many of the Thai people may not understand the actual system of administration.

ตลอดเวลาที่ผ่านมาระบบกษัตริย์จะถูกสร้างภาพให้ยิ่งใหญ่และมีบทบาทและมีอิทธิพลต่อความเป็นอยู่ของประชาชนเป็นอย่างมาก สถานบันกษัตริย์ถูกยกย่องให้อยู่สูงสุดในทุกๆด้าน ถูกสร้างภาพให้เหมือนเช่นเทพเจ้า มีความศักดิ์สิทธิอย่างมากมาย กษัตริย์จะทำอะไรได้ทุกอย่างโดยไม่มีความผิดอันใดมากล่าวหาได้ กษัตริย์ย่อมทำสิ่งใดถูกเสมอ

Throughout the times past, the system of the monarchy created a great image and had a huge role and influence over the people’s existence. The institution of the monarchy was esteemed so that it was higher than every side or party. An image was created so [the king] was almost a god, having so much honor and privilege. The king can do anything, and there is no wrong for which a charge can be brought [against him]. The king is likely to do whatever [he wants] all the time.

 มีไม่กี่คนที่เริ่มเข้าใจว่าปัญหาที่แท้จริงของประเทศไทย รากลึกของปัญหาทั้งหมดมาจากไหน เหตุการนองเลือดช่วง ตุลาคม 2516 ไม่มีใครทราบความจริงได้ว่าแท้ที่จริงฆาตรกรตัวจริงที่ยู่เบื้องหลังการเข่นฆ่านักศึกษาหมู่ สร้างสถานการณ์ที่ชั่วร้ายต่างๆนานา สุดท้ายแล้วโยนปาบให้นักศึกษา เป็นผู้ก่อการจราจล กล่าวหาว่าเป็นคอมมิวนิสต์ ซ่องสุมอาวุธ ให้ความร่วมมือกับคอมมิวนิตส์ ชีวิตคนหนุ่มสาวอนาคตของชาติ ต้องมาจบสิ้นลงด้วยนำ้มือของผู้กระหายอำนาจ

There aren’t that many people who begin to understand where the deep roots of Thailand’s real problem totally comes from. In the bloody events of October 1973 nobody could understood the truth of the real killer behind the massacre of the crowd of students, causing all kinds of evil difficulty, in the end creating the image that the students are stirring up rebellion, accusing them of being communists and secretly assembling weapons in order to join with the communists. The life of the youth, the future of the nation, must come to an end at the hands of the people who thirst for power.

รัฐประหารไม่ใช่ทางออกของปัญหาที่ประเทศไทยต้องเผชิญ รัฐประหารคือความชั่วร้ายที่มีกษัตริย์ไทยอยู่เบื้องหลังทุกๆครั้งและเซ็นต์รับรองจากการเป็นกบฏให้เป็นเรื่องชอบธรรม กษัตริย์ภูมิพลสั่งให้ทำรัฐประหาร เพื่อป้องกันการกระจายอำนาจสู่ประชาชน และคุมอำนาจเองทั้งหมด

Coups are not the way out of the problems that the country must face. Coups are an evil which the king is behind every time, and he signs the law that makes it into something legitimate. King Bhumipol ordered the coups in order to prevent decentralizing power to the people and to control all the power himself.

รัฐประหารครั้งล่าสุด เป็นครั้งที่ตำ่ช้ามากที่สุดในประวัติศาสตร์ เป็นที่ล่วงละเมิดสิทธิมนุษย์อย่างร้ายแรง ประชาชนที่ออกมาต่อต้านไม่สามารถทำอะไรได้ ไม่ว่าจะกินแซนวิช อ่านหนังสือ ชุมชนมากกว่า 5 คน ไม่สามารถแสดงความคิดเห็นใดๆในสังคมได้ ไม่ว่าจะทำความคิดเห็นใน โซเชียลต่างๆ การบังคับใช้ กฏหมาย 112 มาตรา 44 ซึ่งทั้งมาตราล้วน ข้อห้ามป่าเถื่อนไร้มนุษยธรรมสิ้นดี มีผู้บริสุทธิ์จำนวนมากที่ตกเป็นเหยื่อต้องโดนจับเข้าคุกโดยไม่มีความผิดใดๆ

The last coup was the most evil in history. It preceded a serious violation of human rights. The people who came out to oppose [the coup] where unable to do anything, whether eat a sandwich, read a book, or gather in groups larger than 5. They weren’t able to express any opinions at all in any sort of social situation, not even to make a comment on the different social media. They are suppressed using Article 112 (of the Thai Criminal Code), Article 44 (of the Interim Constitution), all of which were barbarous prohibitions totally lacking in humanity. There were a great number of innocent people that fell victim to it, were caught, and imprisoned without being guilty of anything.