Association

Despite the fact that Thailand has made several international commitments on freedom of association, the interim constitution vetoes the right of people in Thailand to freely associate. While Thailand has traditionally had a robust civil society sector, the military has taken steps to curtail the independent operation of civic groups. The interim constitution gives the government sweeping powers to arbitrarily dissolve, harass and impede the operation of critical CSOs. The military has orchestrated a systematic clampdown on political opposition and rights groups while considerably restricting the ability of Thai trade unions to mobilise independently. Human rights defenders are particularly susceptible to persecution by the government. On 26th July 2016, authorities arrested local human rights defenders Somchai Homla-or, Pornpen Khongkhachonkiet, and Anchana Heemmim and charged them with defamation and computer crimes for documenting 54 allegations of torture and human rights abuses. Many claim their trial is a brazen attempt to silence monitoring efforts.