The United Nations Human Rights Office for South East Asia (OHCHR) on Tuesday expressed concern about a confrontation between anti-government and pro-election groups on February 1 near the Lak Si District Office which involved the use of firearms.
OHCHR calls on all sides to refrain from carrying weapons or resorting to violence, it said in a statement.
“Since beginning monitoring on January 13, 2014, OHCHR has been alarmed to see individuals at protest sites with weapons, including firearms. At the same time, explosives and guns have been used against the protest groups by unknown perpetrators. OHCHR is highly concerned that this situation could lead to further outbreaks of serious violence and armed confrontations,” it said.
While welcoming the restraint used by law enforcement officials in relation to crowd control in the past weeks, OHCHR also stresses the government’s responsibility to investigate and hold to account those responsible forS aturday’s violence.
OHCHR also calls on all sides to fully cooperate with such investigations. While stressing the significance of the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly as essential cornerstones for democracy, OHCHR reminds all parties that an exercise of such rights also carries responsibilities to respect others’ human rights. People should be free both to peacefully express their opinions and to exercise their right to vote.
On February 1-2, OHCHR visited Chatuchak, Ding Daeng, Don Muang, Lak Si, Lat Phrao, Phaya Thai, Rajthevi, Sai Mai and other locations in Bangkok Metropolitan region, observing the situation in the run up to and during the elections.