Arrests in Thailand cause concern for UN human rights office

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OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani. Photo: UN Multimedia

The methods used to arrest and detain politicians, activists, academics and journalists in Thailand following a military coup in May this year have caused concern at the United Nations human rights office.

According to the Office, since 22 May, more than 700 individuals have been summoned and arrested by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) which is now in charge of the country.

It notes that while most of the people are released within a week, in accordance with martial law, a number of people were detained for more than seven days without access to lawyers and their families.

Ravina Shamdasani, Spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office, says this creates an environment for possible human rights abuses, including torture and ill-treatment and cites one case.

"The case of Kritsuda Khunasen, a student activist who was working for a key member of the Red Shirts group, which supports the deposed Government, has given further cause for serious concern. In testimony shared with the media and human rights organizations last weekend, Khunasen described her treatment and conditions of detention from 28 May to 24 June while in military custody. She said she was blindfolded for seven days, beaten seven times and lost consciousness while a plastic bag was placed over her head." (28")

Shamdasani said that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights raised her concerns with the Thai authorities on due process and transparency in this case.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations

Duration: 1'38"

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