THAILAND:Stop Repression; Release Thai Political Prisoners; Restoring Justice, Peace, Security, and Democracy to Thailand 

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) wishes to forward to you the following open letter from the Union for Thai Democracy to the United Nations.

Asian Human Rights Commission
Hong Kong


An Open Letter from the Union for Thai Democracy forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon
Secretary-General, United Nations

H.E. Ms. Navi Pillay
United Nations High Commission for Human Rights

Copies Sent To:
Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva
Prime Minister of Thailand

Mr. Kasit Piromya
Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Don Pramudwinai
Royal Thai Embassy in Washington, DC

Subject: Stop Repression; Release Thai Political Prisoners; Restoring Justice, Peace, Security, and Democracy to Thailand

An Open Letter to the United Nations from the ‘Union for Thai Democracy’

July 4, 2010

To: All Members of the United Nations Security Council

Your Excellency:

We the undersigned are the Board Members and Officers of the ‘Union for Thai Democracy’, a Not-For-Profit collective of Thai-Americans who are concerned about the regression of Democracy and Human Rights in Thailand. We write this letter to respectfully request your help in bringing about Justice, Peace, and True Democracy to Thailand. We believe that while the main function of the Security Council is the maintenance of international peace and security, the Council has also played an important role with regard to the international justice. The establishment of tribunals to prosecute crimes against humanity such as Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia is prime example.

The establishment of those mechanisms and ability to refer cases to the International Criminal Court is of crucial importance because the sustainability of peace often times hinges on the ability of societies to find justice and reconciliation.

The Royal Thai Government must be made to realize that the current political situation including bloody crackdown of the Red Shirts is not acceptable. If the Royal Thai Government wanted to be part of the International community, and wanted to continue describing itself as a democracy, the government must govern and act in a democratic fashion by showing accountability and responsibility.

May we draw your attention to the followings:

1. There is no doubt for all of us who follow the current political situation in Thailand in the past several months and years that the Government of Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva’s crackdown against its own people, the Red Shirts, by using snipers, military machineries, and live ammunitions is a gross violation of Human Rights and International Laws.

The army crackdown on the Red Shirts protesters on 10 April 2010 injured 800 people and killed 25 – including 19 civilians, 5 soldiers and a Japanese cameraman. 5 soldiers were killed by ‘Men in Black’ and as of today there were no establishment as to who were those people. The action by the army fueled international accusations of violations of the concept of proportionality, of international principles on crowd dispersal and of the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.

The use of force by the Army also included extra-judicial targeted assassinations. On 13 May, former Major General and Red Shirts supporter Khattiya Sawasdipol was shot in the head while giving an interview to foreign press, apparently by a sniper. Army snipers also reportedly killed two medical workers distinctively wearing a white medical uniform, and injured foreign reporters. On 15 May, several areas in Bangkok were designated as ‘live fire zones’ by the military, any protesters entering these zones were to be shot on sight.

Human Right Watch, Asian Human Rights Commission and others western NGOs accused the Thai government of unlawful and unnecessary use of lethal force.

No less than 90 people are dead, nearly 2000 injures and score’s missing. There is news report of local Red Shirts leaders were killed or assassinated. Many are intimidated– some went into hiding. Over 400 Red Shirts leaders and supporters, including 2 foreigners, one Australian and another a British are detained, mostly without charge.

The military-backed Royal Thai Government of Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva is flagrantly breaching its obligation as a member of the International community and the United Nations Human Rights Council. It neglects its responsibility that the ultimate protection of human rights rests on its own shoulder.

The United Nations must condemn the actions, and can not allow the Royal Thai Government to hide under ‘Internal Affairs’ excuses.

2. When in the course of history, a group of people are denied the rights as guaranteed in the constitution, are treated as second class citizens and voices are blocked, grievance unheard; it’s only natural that this group of people will rise, protest, and raise their voices and perhaps create havoc to the ruling elite. Such is the case of the Red Shirt People of Thailand who were peacefully demonstrating in parts of Bangkok under the banner of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship or the UDD.

Time and again, The Red Shirts were being looked down upon by the elite as rural ‘fools’, uneducated ‘buffaloes’ who knew nothing about democracy, who sold their votes and damaging Thailand ’s image in the name of certain individual, in this case former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinnawatra.

But their grievances are real, their rights are trampled upon, their hopes are dashed, their futures are dim. What else can they do but rise?

Their elected Prime Ministers were all ousted by questionable most-nonsense-non-democratic means. One Prime Minister, Mr. Thaksin Shinnawatra, by military coup, and two other Prime Ministers, Mr. Samak Sundaravej and Mr. Somchai Wongsawat, were ousted from the office by Judicial Review aka ‘Judicial Coup’ in a span of few years. Mr. Samak Sundaravej was ousted from the conflict of interest law from a cooking TV show. While Mr. Somchai Wongsawat was ousted from minor election irregularity committed not by him but by another member of his political party.

These are the context in which the Red Shirts demonstrated. What would you do— what options do you have when ruling elite have all the power of state machinery, military, judiciary, press. Only foreign press and some international human rights organizations are sympathetic to the Red Shirts’ cause. They had one simple demand—- new election. If the International community such as the United Nations turns a blind eye, then where would they turn for justice?

The United Nations must make the Royal Thai Government aware of the future stake of Thailand. The future stake of Thailand is not the stability of a province, a district, or accessibility of a street, but the future society itself. The United Nations must look into the Royal Thai Government’s actions. Should the evidence warrants, The United Nations must make those responsible facing its crime. We believe confronting humanity’s criminal and put an end to the culture of impunity is one of the role and responsibility of the United Nations Security Council.

3. While we welcome the talk of reconciliation by the Royal Thai Government. The Thai government must do more— it must create better atmosphere for reconciliation. We believe that:

• Lifting the State of Emergency immediately must be the first step.
• Political tension in Thailand would ease tremendously should Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva go back to the original Reconciliation Roadmap which accepted by the Red Shirts on 4 May 2010. This roadmap offers a new election on 14 November 2010.
• Climate of fear, intimidation, and repression must stop.
• The government must stop arresting Red Shirt People in all provinces outside Bangkok and must release all those who have been arrested earlier.
• The government must return the confiscated properties from communities’ radio stations to all the owners and also allow all communities’ radio stations to open operation as soon as possible. In the past 4 weeks all communities’ radio stations have been closed, they should be re-opened as soon as possible.
• Allow Freedom of the Press.
• Any Truth-and-Reconciliation Commissions must be independent. We believe involvement by International community will create credibility to any commissions.
• Free all Political Prisoners.

We strongly believe that the United Nations can play a strong and helpful role in promoting Justice, Peace, and Security in Thailand . Inaction by the United Nations and or international community will create a sense of hopelessness and counter productive. We hope you’ll listen to our plea. We thank you for your time, and please help Thailand change its course. Please bring Thailand into your agenda.

Yours Sincerely,

Precha Chamchalam                              Amara Vattanakul
Uraiwan Chuntharusmi                          Charlie Roongsang
Sukree Stevens                                        Anchalee Ardharn
Atip Chaogunhar                                      Anan Sirisombatwattana


List of Detainees:

Copies Sent To:

Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva
Prime Minister of Thailand

Mr. Kasit Piromya
Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Don Pramudwinai
Royal Thai Embassy in Washington, DC
Online comment form:

Human Rights Watch

Amnesty International

Asian Human Rights Commission


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About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

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Document Type : Forwarded Open Letter
Document ID : AHRC-FOL-009-2010
Countries : Thailand,
Campaigns : Thailand State of Emergency 2010
Issues : Administration of justice, Democracy,