Thursday 1.9.2016 in Overview in Thailand Country Page
Having come to power through a coup in 2014, Thailand’s military junta continues to extend its powers, thus limiting the space for independent dissent and civil society activism. The junta, through the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), maintains absolute power in Thailand under the controversial Article 44. A constitutional referendum in 2016 consolidated the military’s power through a plebiscite overshadowed by a crackdown on freedom of expression and political opposition. The authorities have taken an increasingly aggressive stance toward civic freedoms by exploiting the lack of an independent judiciary to arbitrarily harass or imprison critical activists and journalists. The NCPO has banned assemblies or protests of more than five participants and has brought in provisions allowing them to arbitrarily detain anyone without charge for 7 days. Human rights defenders are routinely persecuted for monitoring abuses perpetrated by the government.