Thailand: call to defend We Walk Solidarity marchers from repression

Hundreds of people have started a 28-day walk from Bangkok to KhonKaen along the Friendship Road (Mitrparb) demanding the return of civil rights and public participation which were taken away three years ago by the military junta. Their peaceful march is facing repression and some people have been arrested. We urge the media to publicise the incidents taking place to protect the safety of these peaceful marchers, especially that ofthe human rights defenders on We Walk who are being targeted.

We Walk…Solidarity has four main themes: universal health care, farmers’ rights, community and environmental rights, and the Constitution which doesn’t guarantee the fundamental right to participation.

We Walk…Solidarity has been founded by:

  1. Health Security Watch group and People Movement For Social Welfare
  2. Alternative Agriculture Network – Food Security
  3. National Recourse Network – Community Rights
  4. Academic and lawyer Network who observe on the Constitution, Election and Right and freedom violation

We Walk…Solidarity is organising a series of events.
Every Saturday and Sunday, panel discussions will be held at different locations along the walk which will includetopics as mentioned below:

  1. Sunday, 28 January 2018: “Welfare State and Golden Card” (the card of Universal Health Care coverage) at Khao Nang KhongKharam Temple, Moo 4, TambonNongSarai, Pak Chong District, Nakhon Ratchasima Province
  2. Saturday-Sunday, 3-4 February 2018:“Alternative Agriculture and Food Security”at Mueang District, NakhonRatchasima Province
  3. Saturday-Sunday 10-11 February 2018:“National Resources and Community Rights” at Ban Pai District, KhonKaen Province
  4. Saturday, 17 February 2018:“Democracy, Constitution and Election”WHY WE WALK
  5. We Walk aims to make visible the insecurity and frustration people feel as a result of the increased dominance of the military government over all parts of Thai society. People are living under threat and with a worsening standard of living.Laws and Decrees are arbitrarily made without due process. For instance:
  1. Attempts to withdraw the right to access to Universal Health Care and replace it with charity to be arbitrarily provided to “the poor”
  2. Threats to food security with the seizure of land by amending the Plant Variety Protection Act to allow multinational cooperation to monopolize ownership of seeds.
  3. Watering down of laws upholding the rights of people and communities to manage their national resources, threatening sustainable development and the future of Thailand. Amendments to the environmental laws promoting investment, allow industry to pollute the environment,t affecting the health of people and community.
  4. The 2017 Constitution does not guarantee the full participation of the people which is a pillar of democracy.

We Walk …Solidarity aims to bring people together regardless of the views they hold. We Walk is an expression of dissatisfaction and frustration with the situation today. The core of democracy and development is the participation of the people at all levels and so We Walk!

HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS MUST BE PROTECTED
Protection International (PI) has called for support from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and all relevant organisations “to ensure that Thailand’s civil society continues operating without harassment.” They requeststhat the authorities in Thailand should be urged to:

  1. Immediately halt the harassment initiated against human right defenders who are involved in the We Walk…Solidarity movement, as this is solely motivated by their legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights;
  2. Take measures to ensure that government officials or other public figures refrain from making statements or declarations stigmatising the legitimate work of human rights defenders;
  3. Support the National Human Rights Commissioner Mrs Angkhana Neelapaijit and her team who will be monitoring the situation on the ground.
  4. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Thailand are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions, including judicial harassment.”

Contact in Thailand:Ms Sangsiri Teemanka, co-ordinator of the People Go Network:+66868894441

Contact in UK: Nina Lopez, Global Women’s Strike: gws@globalwomenstrike.net
Tel: 020 7482 2496

Follow their journey, monitor and object to incidents of repression: People GO Network on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/People-GO-network-1116982425082083/#WeWalkเดินมิตรภาพ on Twitter.
And to contactthe Thai authoritiesdemandingsafety for theWe Walkers.These include:

  • Minister of Tourism and Sports – H.E KobkarnWattanavrangkul
    prdiv3@tat.or.th Tel : +66 2283-1555 Fax : +66 -2356-0746
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand – Mr Don Pramudwinai minister@mfa.go.th
    Fax : +66 -2643-5272

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