Thai junta says human rights event canceled
Thailand’s military rulers Thursday banned a panel discussion exploring rights abuses alleged to have taken place during the junta’s one-year rule.
Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, which provides legal aid to those who fall foul of the junta, had been due to launch a report on the kingdom’s faltering rights record at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Thailand ( FCCT) on Thursday evening.
But in a statement released Thursday afternoon the FCCT said it had been forced to cancel the event “on the orders of the NCPO and the police.”
The NCPO is the official name for Thailand’s junta — the National Council for the Restoration of Peace and Order.
A letter sent to the club from police said the FCCT should cancel the discussion because “there might be some people with ill-intentions using the opportunity to create some situations that might cause chaos.”
The FCCT said the panel discussion was not sponsored by the club. Thai Lawyers for Human Rights had paid to use the venue.
Club president Jonathan Head tweeted through his personal account that although the panel discussion was canceled the club would remain open in the evening, adding that there would be “a visible police presence.”
A junta spokesman, Major General Werachon Sukhondapatipak, confirmed the military halted the event, saying Thai Lawyers for Human Rights had not sought permission from the authorities.