THAILAND: Condemning Bomb Attacks in Southern Thailand, Demanding Fair Trials after transparent Investigations

From 11-14 August 2016, 17 explosions took place in seven provinces in Southern Thailand causing a number of deaths and property damages. On 13 August 2016, the Thai authorities responded. They invoked Section 44 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand (Interim), B.E. 2557 (2014). It allows them to hold several suspects in custody, allegedly involved with the bomb and arson attacks. According to information reported to the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), more than ten individuals have been held in custody following the blasts. Since 15 August 2016, relatives and lawyers of at least four suspects have been unable to communicate with them. They have been denied access to those who are said to be held in military custody at the Bangkok’s 11th Military Circle.

There is a compelling reason for the authorities to act promptly to bring the perpetrators to justice. The undersigned human rights organizations have found the process of identifying the perpetrators not in compliance with the rights to a fair trial, as provided in Articles 9 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). As a state party, Thailand is obliged to comply, i.e. a person cannot be subject to arbitrary arrest or detention. The individual must be informed of why he is being arrested and promptly charged. A person alleged to have committed a crime must be guaranteed basic rights, including the right to access to a lawyer. In addition, the deprivation of liberty of individuals in an undisclosed place and the denial of access by their relatives may amount to a breach of their obligations. These are under the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which has been acceded to by Thailand. The Cabinet Resolution has been made to ratify the Convention as well.

The undersigned human rights organizations have the following opinions and put forth the following requests regarding the situation;

1. We condemn the perpetrators of violence, including the bomb and arson attacks in various places in the South of Thailand. We would like to offer our deepest condolences to the families who have been affected, regardless of what prompted such violence.

2. We urge the law enforcement officials, as they collect evidence, to use the normal processes of justice in their investigations. Perpetrators need to be brought to justice without delay. All procedures must be carried out with respect for the principles of human rights. Trials must be conducted in a civilian court. 

3. We urge the military officials to stop invoking power either from the Head of the NCPO Order No.3/2558 (2015) or Section 44 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand (Interim), B.E. 2557 (2014). The places of remand, where individuals who have been deprived of their liberty are held over, need to be disclosed to their families. Suspects must be allowed to have visits by their families and access to their lawyers in private meetings.

With respect in the rights and freedoms of the people

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR)
Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF)
Community Resources Centre Foundation (CRC)
Human Rights Lawyers Association (HRLA)
Union for Civil Liberty (UCL)
ENLAWTHAI Foundation (EnLAW)


The views shared in this statement do not necessarily reflect that of the AHRC.