The ICJ expressed disappointment regarding Friday’s ruling by Thailand’s Administrative Court dismissing a case filed against the Royal Thai Police (RTP) for unjustified restriction of the freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, and again called on Thailand to lift its ban on political gatherings and fully reinstate fundamental freedoms in Thailand.
On 28 September 2018, the Administrative Court dismissed a case filed by the organizers of a “We Walk Friendship March” (‘We Walk march’) against the RTP and six policemen for restricting the march on the basis that it was in violation of Head of NCPO Order No. 3/2558 (2015) (‘HNCPO Order 3’).
The Administrative Court referred to the Thai Constitution, the Public Assembly Act B.E. 2558 (2015), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Thailand is a State party, and HNCPO Order 3, in deciding that the march was a public assembly. Its decision clarified that the case had to be dismissed as the RTP’s actions had complied with the Public Assembly Act.
“It is astonishing that more than four years after the coup, HNCPO Order 3 and other repressive laws, orders and announcements which restrict fundamental freedoms remain in place,” said Kingsley Abbott, Senior Legal Adviser at the ICJ.
“The Administrative Court missed a critical opportunity to deliver an opinion that the ban on political gatherings should be lifted and that all laws, orders and announcements that are inconsistent with Thailand’s international human rights obligations should be amended or revoked immediately to reinstate all fundamental freedoms in Thailand,” added Abbott.
The march, which went ahead peacefully, aimed to bring attention to the need in Thailand for universal healthcare services, policies guaranteeing food security, laws that would not violate human rights, and public participation in the development of the Constitution.
Kingsley Abbott, ICJ Senior Legal Adviser, email: kingsley.abbott(a)icj.org
The ICJ’s full statement in English is available here: Thailand-Ban on Political Gatherings-News-Web Story-2018-ENG
The ICJ’s full statement in Thai is available here: Thailand-Ban on Political Gatherings-News-Web- Story-2018-THANewsWeb stories