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Amnesty Thailand 2003 Report

Erstellt von DisainaM, 31.05.2003, 12:17 Uhr · 0 Antworten · 517 Aufrufe

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    Amnesty Thailand 2003 Report

    Amnesty International

    Thailand 2003 Report
    Covering events from January - December 2002

    Head of state: King Bhumibol Adulyadej
    Head of government: Thaksin Shinawatra
    Death penalty: retentionist
    International Criminal Court: signed

    Five people were executed by machine-gun fire during 2002. At least 17
    others were sentenced to death, bringing the total number of people
    under sentence of death at the end of the year to more than 600. Over
    130,000 mostly Karen and Karenni refugees from Myanmar were living in
    refugee camps near the border, while Shan refugees were not allowed into
    camps. In February police announced that they had discovered the bodies
    of some 20 Karen migrant workers. Investigations were initiated into
    these murders but the results were not known at the end of the year.
    Land rights disputes continued in many parts of the country, including
    Lamphun, Ubon Ratchathani, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, and Songkla
    provinces. The rights of hill tribe people without full Thai citizenship
    to land, health care, and education continued to be extremely limited.

    In March the government initiated a .....-down on the media, including
    foreign publications. The same month the Anti-Money Laundering Office
    launched investigations into the financial activities of Thai
    journalists critical of the government, in what was widely viewed as a
    politically motivated move.

    In May the Shan State Army-South (SSA-South), an armed opposition group
    based in Myanmar, attacked Myanmar military bases near the Thai border.
    In response the Myanmar government closed the border between Myanmar and
    Thailand. The border was not reopened until October. The United Wa State
    Army (UWSA), a Myanmar-based armed opposition group which agreed a
    cease-fire with the government and was widely believed to be involved in
    illegally bringing methamphetamine drugs into Thailand, and the Thai
    army engaged in skirmishes in March, April, and May. Battles between
    Myanmar armed forces and armed opposition groups spilled over into Thai
    territory during the year, temporarily displacing Thai civilians.

    Death penalty

    Five people were executed in Bangkwang Maximum Security Prison, where
    all executions take place. Three had been convicted of murder and two of
    drugs New legislation providing for the method of execution
    to be changed from machine-gun fire to lethal injection and also
    disallowing the execution of anyone under the age of 18 was promulgated
    in November. Some 70 per cent of the over 600 people under sentence of
    death had reportedly been convicted of drug-related charges.

    Torture and ill-treatment

    Three Karenni refugees, one of whom was 15 years old, were ..... by
    soldiers in March. The women were attacked while they were gathering
    vegetables outside Karenni refugee Camp 2 near Mae Hong Son. Three
    soldiers were arrested in connection with the attack and remained in
    detention but at the end of the year it was not known if they had been
    tried and sentenced.

    Overcrowding in prisons and the shackling of death-row prisoners
    continued although the Corrections Department took steps to reform the
    prison system, including training prison guards in human rights. Almost
    260,000 people were reportedly held in prisons designed to hold some
    100,000 prisoners. Cells in prisons and police stations were in some
    cases so crowded that inmates could not lie down on the floor to sleep
    at the same time. In April, 15 juveniles who had escaped from the Baan
    Ubekkha Juvenile Detention Centre, Samut Prakan Province, said that they
    had been ill-treated there.

    Prisoner of conscience

    Sok Yoeun, a Cambodian refugee and prisoner of conscience in poor health
    who was arrested in Thailand in 1999 for "illegal immigration",
    continued to be detained and remained at risk of being extradited to
    Cambodia. In November a court ruled that he should be extradited; his
    lawyers immediately appealed against the decision.

    Ethnic minorities and rural people

    Twenty-six farmers and land rights activists were arrested in Lamphun
    Province in April and May; some were charged with over 40 offences,
    including trespassing. By the end of the year all had been released on
    bail and an unknown number were standing trial. The 26 were arbitrarily
    arrested and seven were detained without bail for six weeks in extremely
    overcrowded conditions. The authorities claimed that the farmers were
    cultivating privately owned land, although there was compelling evidence
    of widespread corruption in issuing land deeds for property and that
    some of the land had originally been given to farmers by the

    In September a group of elderly villagers protesting against the Pak Mun
    Dam project were dragged from Ubon Ratchathani town hall and roughly
    treated by inebriated paramilitary forces. In December their protest
    sites in Bangkok and at the Pak Mun Dam in Ubon Ratchathani Province
    were destroyed by unidentified assailants amid protests that the
    government did not protect the protesters. Also in December, police
    clashed with demonstrators in Hat Yai, Songkla Province, southern
    Thailand, when the latter gathered in order to hand over a petition to
    the Prime Minister protesting against the construction of a natural gas
    pipeline from Malaysia to Thailand. Members of both groups were injured
    amid claims that the police had charged peaceful protesters with batons.
    The National Human Rights Commission initiated an investigation.

    Human rights defenders

    Human rights defenders, particularly land rights activists, were
    subjected to surveillance, harassment, and intimidation.
    In July a hill tribe leader belonging to the Akha tribe was arrested by
    police without a warrant at the Chiang Mai airport and taken to her
    house which was then ransacked by police. After the police left her
    property she and her family experienced threats and other forms of
    harassment for several months.
    In June unidentified gunmen shot at a farmer and village leader in Chai
    Prakan district, Chiang Mai Province. He survived the attack although he
    was hit in the chest. By the end of the year, an investigation into the
    incident had not been completed by the police and the leader was in
    A leader of the Pak Mun Dam protesters continued to be denied a passport
    and continued to receive anonymous threats.
    Migrant workers, refugees and asylum-seekers

    Police announced in February that they had found in western Tak Province
    the bodies of more than 20 migrant workers belonging to the Karen ethnic
    minority from Myanmar . Their throats had been cut. They had been
    blindfolded and their wrists were tied behind their backs. No one had
    been brought to justice in connection with their murders by the end of
    the year.

    In March the bodies of 13 migrant workers from Myanmar were found in
    Prachin Buri Province. Preliminary investigations indicated that they
    had been dumped there after suffocating to death hidden under a load of
    vegetables in a truck. By the end of the year, it was not known if
    anyone had been brought to justice.

    Two separate groups of migrant workers and dissidents from Myanmar were
    arrested in August and again in December in Sangklaburi, Kanchanaburi
    Province, bordering Myanmar. In each instance both groups were released
    a few days after their arrest.

    Refugees from Myanmar continued to arrive in significant numbers and
    stayed in camps along the Myanmar border, although the government
    refused to register them. Shan refugees, who also continued to enter the
    country in large numbers, were still denied access to refugee camps.

    In December the newly appointed National Security Council Chief
    announced that Thailand would begin forcibly returning asylum-seekers
    from neighbouring countries to their country of origin.


    AI delegates visited Thailand in February, March and November.



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