No announcement yet.

Amnesty International Staff Expelled

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Amnesty International Staff Expelled

    Amnesty faces being kicked out of Thailand for not meeting “legal requirements”

    The human rights organisation, Amnesty International, risks being expelled from Thailand, with the government accusing it of failing to comply with legal requirements. According to a Bangkok Post report, Boonchob Suthamanaswong from the Labour Ministry says officials are considering whether to renew the organisation’s operating licence. He says Amnesty’s request will be reviewed by a panel whose remit is to ensure international NGOs comply with the legal requirements attached to operating licences, which are renewed every 2 years.

    Boonchob says one criteria for an operating licence is that the organisation is not driven by a political agenda that threatens Thailand’s national security. Organisations must adopt a neutral stance in relation to political issues and refrain from promoting social unrest. He says organisations must also submit a report of their activities every 6 months, alleging that Amnesty has failed to do so.

    The international human rights organisation has long stood behind Thailand’s pro-democracy activists, who have been calling for reform of the monarchy and the dissolution of parliament and resignation of PM Prayut Chan-o-cha. Opponents of the pro-democracy movement view Amnesty’s support as an attempt to overthrow Thailand’s democratic system with the King as head of state.

    Royalists are campaigning to have the organisation kicked out of the country, with a recent petition garnering 1.2 million signatures. Seksakol Atthawong, a former Red Shirt who is now an aide to the PM, says he will shortly submit the petition calling for Amnesty to be expelled for undermining national security. Seksakol now runs a political party called Ruam Thai Shang Chart, which has already pledged to support the PM in the next general election.

  • #2
    Amnesty says Thailand’s attempts to expel it should serve as a warning to other NGOs

    The human rights organisation Amnesty International says the government’s attempts to kick it out of the country should serve as a warning to other non-governmental organisations operating in Thailand. Kyle Ward, Amnesty’s deputy secretary general, says the calls for expulsion can be linked to a new draft law that seeks to intensify scrutiny of NGOs operating in Thailand. He says Amnesty International and several other local and international NGOs oppose the measure.

    “The targeting of Amnesty is taking place against a backdrop of a growing intolerance for human rights discourse among Thai authorities.”
    Ward’s statement comes after the government approved the draft law last month. It is now gathering feedback from the public before going to Cabinet for final approval. Seksakol Atthawong, a former member of the Red Shirts, now an aide in the Prime Minister’s Office, has been campaigning for the expulsion of Amnesty International from Thailand, claiming the organisation’s work is a threat to national security.

    The Bangkok Post reports that Seksakol plans to submit a petition to the National Security Council and the Interior Ministry this week. It’s understood the petition is calling for the human rights organisation to be expelled from Thailand. The petition has garnered 1.2 million signatures, primarily from royalists and others opposed to Amnesty’s support of pro-democracy activists who are calling for reform of Thailand’s monarchy.

    The calls for Amnesty to be expelled are believed to have arisen in part due to comments made by the organisation after a Constitutional Court finding in November that ruled that 3 pro-democracy protest leaders had attempted to overthrow the monarchy.

    In related news, foreign NGOs operating in Thailand are required to renew their operating licences every 2 years. Amnesty International’s licence expired on January 20 and its application to renew is currently sitting with the Labour Ministry while officials decide whether or not to renew.


    • #3
      Rights groups urge United States to ban fishing nets made by Thai prisoners

      A December investigation by the the Thomson Reuters foundation discovered that jails across Thailand are illegally forcing prisoners to make fishing nets for private companies, including those that export to the United States. Former prisoners Reuters interviewed said guards beat them, disallowed them to shower, and pushed back their release dates if they didn’t meet strict targets. Now, Thai and international rights groups urge the United States to halt imports of nets made in prison labour.

      Last week, a coalition of 31 Thai and international groups submitted a petition calling to halt nets made from prison labour by the Khon Kaen Fishing Net, and Dechapanich Fishing Net. KKF said it would cut ties with any prisons found using forced labour. A KKF official told Reuters he feared a United States ban would cause job losses in Thailand. He said there might only be one or two prisons that acted inappropriately, and the company has asked Thailand’s Corrections Department to come up with a standard pay rate for net making prisoners. The KKF said it only sold prison-made nets in Thailand and Southeast Asia, and not the United States.

      Dechapanich did not respond to Reuters’s multiple requests for comment. The two companies make many shipments to the United States, including to Trident Seafoods, the United States’s biggest seafood company in 2019 and 2020. Like Dechapanich, Trident Seafoods also didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment. Thailand’s prison work program was originally meant to help give prisoners job training for when they were released. The US Tarrif Act bars goods made through forced prison labour from entering the country. A US Customs and Borders Protection spokesmen told Reuters the agency has the right to issue detention orders against these goods and prevent their sales in markets.