Members of Thailand's CSOs launches today the "Public Assembly Observation and Documentation for Human Rights" to monitor and document what happens at a public assembly using a human rights based approach. Its operation will debut on 19 May.
Members of the Public Assembly Observation and Documentation for Human Rights are composed of volunteers interested and concerned with human rights. They will have received training, exchange of knowledge and skills on public assembly observation and documentation on par with international standards. Part of the curriculum will be derived from training courses offered by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR) and the training will be facilitated by nonviolence experts. According to Piyanut Kotsan, a spokesperson for the Public Assembly Observation and Documentation for Human Rights, the network has been banded together with an aim to streamline and justify the roles of observers making their roles distinct from those participating in a public assembly. They are there simply to document the realities utilizing human rights indicators and to practice their skills in observing a public assembly professionally. "Principally, an observer shall neither make a comment with regard to the public assembly nor act in any way to encourage or demoralize those who want to participate in the public assembly. Most importantly, an observer shall not participate or get involved in whatever way with the public assembly. Their role is to observe, take down note, and compile relevant information in order to produce a report for dissemination among individuals and agencies." Piyanut adds that the right to peaceful public assembly is a fundamental human right and everyone should be protected when exercising such right including the right to freedom of expression, association and public assembly. Government of a democratic state shall not restrict the right to peaceful public assembly since it is protected by international human rights laws. The Network announces that its first public assembly observation shall take place on Saturday 19 May at the Ratchaprasong Intersection where there shall be a commemoration of the suppression of a public assembly eight years ago. Members of the Network shall wear a sign and a green and yellow jersey with the word "observers" prominently shown on it to differentiate them from other demonstrators.