UPDATE (Thailand): Army withdraws order preventing hundreds of people from returning to their homes in south


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-154-2007
ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest & detention, Judicial system, Refugees, IDPs & Asylum seekers, Rule of law, State of emergency & martial law,

Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that hundreds of detainees in a “vocational training” camps have been released and returned home on 18 November 2007 after the Fourth Army chief, Lt-Gen Viroj Buacharoon backed down and reversed a six-month ban prohibiting them from entering for southern provinces (UP-143-2007). This is good news for this group of men, however the AHRC remains concerned that until the Emergency Decree over the southern provinces is lifted there will continue to be many grave human rights violations in the area.


On 17 November 2007, the Fourth Army commander Lt-General Viroj Buacharoon withdrew an order that was prohibiting almost 400 men from the southern provinces from going back to their homes. Among them 384 had been released from “vocational training” in army-run camps (UG-005-2007, UP-143-2007, UP-145-2007 and AHRC-PL-048-2007). Although they were freed under orders from the courts they had been prohibited from entering the provinces of Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and Songkhla for up to six months under the army order.

All the detainees have now returned home safely and all their family members and relatives have welcomed their arrival.

While the men who had been released was staying at the central mosque in Surat Thani, the police rearrested three of them on 3 and 4 November, taking them back into custody with an order issued by courts in Yala and Pattani, under the emergency regulations. Their relatives filed motions again to Yala provincial court and Pattani provincial court, giving the reason that the arrests were not in accordance with the emergency provisions and were outside of the courts’ jurisdiction, as they were carried out in a province not under emergency rule (see UP-145-2007). The two courts released them again. The Yala court ruled that the police did not have enough evidence to keep them in custody and the one in Pattani ruled that the arrest warrant was issued based on incomplete information. The three men were released on November 9 and16 and were again taken back to the mosque in Surat Thani.

For some news and photographs of the detainees going home see Southern detainees go home.


The emergency regulations over the southern provinces were introduced by the former prime minister to protect security officials there from prosecution. The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings has commented that they enable army and police personnel to “get away with murder”. The regulations have greatly inflamed the violence in the south since they were introduced over two years ago. They were recently renewed for the tenth time. It is thus crucial that the Thai government withdraws the Emergency Decree in the South.

For full details on the decree and violence in the south visit the campaign page.

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrchk.org)