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UN agency adds to calls for release of pro-election protesters


The UN Human Rights Office has called for the immediate release of pro-election activists who were arrested and charged on Tuesday after their rally demanding that an election be held this year.

“We have consistently urged the Thai Government, as a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to fully respect the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly,” the office said in a statement posted on Facebook.
Fourteen pro-election activists were arrested yesterday as they attempted to march to Government House to push for an early election to be held by the end of 2018. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has insisted that the poll will be no sooner than early 2019.
The activists were charged with sedition, which carries a maximum seven-year prison term, and violating the military junta’s ban on political gatherings of more than five people.
The statement said the UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia, together with other UN offices, had observed a peaceful assembly organised by “Individuals Who Want Election” during the two-day rally on Monday and Tuesday.
UN observers also coordinated and held meetings with both the organisers and officials from the Royal Thai Police, it said.
The demonstration at Thammasat University was held to remember the four-year anniversary of the May 22, 2014 military coup.
Human Rights Watch has also demanded that the 14 detainees be released and all charges dropped.

Published : May 23, 2018

By : The Nation