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Country index  >  Thailand  > campaigns

Free Somyot: urgent message to the new Thai government before July 24

We urgently call upon you to take action once more in support of Thai human rights activist and journalist Somyot Pruksakasemsuk, who has been in jail now on charges of ’lese majeste’ for 2.5 months.

Thailand has a new government since 3 July and it is essential that Somyot’s case is brought to the attention of the new Prime Minister before 24 July 2011 which is the deadline for the indictment. On that day the prosecutor has to submit the case to the court and if he fails to do so Somyot will have to be released immediately. If the case is put forward Somyot is likely to stay in jail for at least 2 years.

Take action on Clean Clothes Campaign

Appeal Against Repression in Thailand

For more than two months, the Red Shirts have mobilised with decisiveness and purpose in the streets of Bangkok to support their demands of democracy and social justice.

The government led by Abhisit Vejjajiva chose to respond to these demands with violence and repression. It committed a serious violation against human rights when it authorised the use of military hardware to dissolve the demonstrations. The result was extremely serious: there were at least 89 dead and nearly 2000 wounded.

Today, democratic rights are not respected: there are 99 arrest warrants against opponents. The places where most of the detainees are held are kept secret. The government has imposed censorship on the alternative media. The penalties incurred are especially severe: from 3 to 15 years for “lese majesty” to the death penalty for “terrorism”.

The Red Shirts are being treated by the government as if they were “terrorists”. It is a complex movement, but its members are mainly ordinary poor people whose most elementary political rights –like the respect due to the result of an election—have been ignored.

The Thai government can continue to repress the Thai people freely, because its constant violations against human rights have not been confronted by international solidarity and condemnation. We make a call to all progressive and democratic organizations to demand the end of the repression and the respect of fundamental rights in Thailand; to start an international campaign to obtain the freedom of political prisoners and the end of intimidation and inculpation of the Red Shirts.

We demand from the Thai government that it raises the State of Urgency and immediately re-establishes democratic freedoms in the country; that it ends the repression against the Red Shirts and that all prisoners are freed without any delay.

To sign the call: solidaritythailand (AT),(Leave your first name, family name, quality and country)

The list of signatories can be viewed on the ESSF website:

Salween Dams Petition Letter

Caretaker Prime Minister of Thailand

Subject: Please review plans to cooperate with the Burmese military regime for the construction of hydropower dams on the Salween River

Dear Caretaker Prime Minister of Thailand,

Cc: Minister of Energy and Governor of Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT)

We, the individuals and organizations from Burma, Thailand, and other countries listed below, are gravely concerned about the likely environmental and social impacts from hydropower projects on the Salween River, a joint-project between the Thai and Burmese governments, the Chinese state-owned Sinohydro Corporation, and Thailand based MDX subsidiaries. If the dams are built, ecological integrity, human security, and local livelihoods will be jeopardized. Therefore, we call for the Thai government and concerned agencies, including the Ministry of Energy and EGAT, to review and withdraw from the projects for the following reasons:

Lack of transparency in the decision-making process

The entire decision-making process for the planning of the Salween hydropower development projects has been shrouded in secrecy. There has been a total absence of public participation among the dam-affected communities in Burma already suffering the atrocities of civil war, or the over fifty ethnic Thai-Karen villages living along the Salween River in Thailand’s Mae Hong Son province.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Thai Ministry of Energy and Burma’s Ministry of Electric Power was signed in May 2005 for the development of five hydropower projects on the Salween and Tanaosri river basins. Then in December 2005, a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) was signed for joint-investment and implementation of the Hutgyi dam construction between EGAT Plc and Burma’s Department of Hydropower stating that the construction would commence in late 2007. Recently, in June 2006, EGAT and Sinohydro Corporation, a state enterprise from the People’s Republic of China signed an MoU for the development of the Hutgyi dam.

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