60 organisations across Asia issue joint statement in solidarity with Thailand’s peaceful democracy movement

60 organisations across Asia issue joint statement in solidarity with Thailand’s peaceful democracy movement

(Jakarta, 22 October 2020) ‒ We, 60 organisations across Asia, stand in solidarity with the peaceful democracy movement in Thailand as it continues to push for fundamental freedoms and democratic reforms, in the midst of government repression.

The Government of Thailand should abide by its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to respect and protect the people’s rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

We assert that the ‘State of Severe Emergency,’ announced on 15 October 2020 violated international human rights standards, and failed to meet the principles of legality, necessity, proportionality.

We condemn the use of the ‘national security’ narrative to block these peaceful protests, as well as the attempts to portray the movement and its leaders as a threat to national security and to the stability of the nation.

We further condemn the use of police violence, including the use of water cannons on 16 October 2020 against peaceful protesters, which included high school and university students. This fails to meet OHCHR’s guidance which states that water cannons are advisable for use only for situations ‘of serious public order where there is a significant likelihood of loss of life, serious injury or the widespread destruction of property.’

The continuous arrests and the use of judicial harassment against human rights defenders are unjustifiable, and serve no other purpose than to instil fear and to promote reprisals against the movement. The arrested protesters and its leaders should be immediately unconditionally released

We likewise condemn the use of intimidation and reprisals against social media users who have ’checked-in’ at protests sites, taken selfies, or posted about the protests on social media. On 19 October 2020, the Minister of Digital Information announced that they will investigate more than 300,000 URLs of social media accounts that have allegedly violated the Emergency Decree.

We are also gravely concerned about efforts to have media organisations Prachatai, the Standard, The Reporters, and Voice TV investigated for their reporting of the protests, as well as efforts to prevent them from reporting these events. The role of journalism remains ever crucial in these times, and the government has the obligation to protect media freedom and independence. The right to access information is integral in the fulfilment of the people’s right to freedom of expression.

We recognise that these tactics are also being used by other governments in the region to stifle social movements. These tactics violate international human rights standards, and have no role in any fair and just society.

We call on the Government of Thailand to commit to the respect and protection of freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly. We urge the government to:

  • Refrain from any further use or announcement of orders and policies including under the Emergency Decree to hinder people’s ability to exercise their fundamental rights;
  • Immediately and unconditionally release all arrested Human Rights Defenders and protesters, drop all charges against them, and refrain from any further arrests, threats or intimidation;
  • End the use of police violence against protesters;
  • Respect the rights of children and youth to safely and peacefully express their opinions on issues that affect them;
  • Review or repeal draconian offences under the Criminal Code such as defamation and sedition, which have been used as tools of fear and reprisal;
  • Respect and support media independence and freedom, including through allowing local and international journalists to operate, without any interference or reprisals; and
  • Take genuine steps to address the structural violations being raised by the democracy movement.

We call on the international community to stand in solidarity with Thailand’s democracy movement, and all our social movements in Asia in our pursuit of government accountability and the protection of human rights.


  1. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
  2. Action Committee for Democracy Development, Myanmar
  3. Another Alternative, Myanmar
  4. ASEAN SOGIE Caucus
  5. ASEAN Youth Forum
  6. Association for Law, Human Rights and Justice (HAK), Timor-Leste
  7. Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), India Administered Jammu and Kashmir
  8. Association of Women for Awareness & Motivation (AWAM), Pakistan
  9. Athan, Myanmar
  10. BALAOD Mindanaw, the Philippines
  11. Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), India
  12. Bir Duino, Kyrgyzstan
  13. Bytes For All, Pakistan
  14. Center for Communication and Development Studies (CCDS), India
  15. Centre for the Sustainable Use of Natural and Social Resources (CSNR), India
  16. Child Rights Coalition Asia (CRC Asia)
  17. Dalit Foundation, India
  18. Dignity-Kadyr-kassiyet (Public Association Dignity), Kazakhstan
  19. Equality Myanmar, Myanmar
  20. Future Light Center, Myanmar
  21. Generation Wave, Myanmar
  22. Genuine People’s Servants, Myanmar
  23. Human Rights Defenders and Promoters Association, Myanmar
  24. Human Rights Foundation of Monland, Myanmar
  25. Human Rights Working Group (HRWG), Indonesia
  26. iDefend, the Philippines
  27. Indonesia Human rights Monitor (Imparsial), Indonesia
  28. Indonesia Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI), Indonesia
  29. Indonesia Legal Aid Foundation – Yayasan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Indonesia (YLBHI), Indonesia
  30. Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM), Indonesia
  31. International Legal Initiative Public Foundation (ILI Foundation), Kazakhstan
  32. Karapatan Alliance Philippines, the Philippines
  33. Karenni Human Rights Group, Myanmar
  34. KontraS (Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence), Indonesia
  35. Korean House for International Solidarity (KHIS), South Korea
  36. Loka Ahlinn, Myanmar
  37. Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN), the Maldives
  38. Myanmar Cultural Research Society (MCRS), Myanmar
  39. Myanmar People Alliance (Shan State), Myanmar
  40. National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP), Pakistan
  41. Nyan Lynn Thit Analytica, Myanmar
  42. Odhikar, Bangladesh
  43. Paung Ku, Myanmar
  44. People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR), India
  45. People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), South Korea
  46. Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism and Active Vista (DAKILA), the Philippines
  47. Philippines Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), the Philippines
  48. Progressive Voice, Myanmar
  49. Psychological Responsiveness NGO, Mongolia
  50. Pusat KOMAS, Malaysia
  51. Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU), Bangladesh
  52. Strengthening Human Rights and Peace Education in ASEAN/Southeast Asia (SHAPE-SEA)
  53. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM), Malaysia
  54. Synergy (Social Harmony Organization), Myanmar
  55. Taiwan Association for Human Rights (TAHR), Taiwan
  56. The Alliance of Independent Journalists Indonesia (AJI), Indonesia
  57. Think Centre, Singapore
  58. Women Peace Network, Myanmar
  59. Women’s Rehabilitation Centre (WOREC), Nepal
  60. Yayasan Sekretariat Anak Merdeka Indonesia (SAMIN), Indonesia



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