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UN voices 'serious concern' over human rights in Thailand

Published on Sep 3, 2014 2:20 PM
 
A policeman and soldiers leading a woman who showed her support for the army to safety and away from protesters against military rule at the Victory Monument in Bangkok, in this May 26, 2014 file photo. Since seizing power from the elected government in May, the Thai army has stifled dissent by hauling in anti-coup protesters, muzzling the media and threatening those found in breach of martial law with trial in a military court. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK (AFP) - The United Nations said on Wednesday it was "seriously concerned" about growing restrictions on human rights activists in Thailand after a string of curbs on freedom of expression in the junta-ruled nation.

Since seizing power from the elected government in May, the Thai army has stifled dissent by hauling in anti-coup protesters, muzzling the media and threatening those found in breach of martial law with trial in a military court.

The UN Human Rights Office for South-east Asia (OHCHR) pointed to "a deteriorating environment for human rights defenders" a day after activists said they scrapped a debate about access to justice in post-coup Thailand due to pressure from the junta. "(The OHCHR) is seriously concerned about increasing restrictions on human rights defenders in exercising their rights to peaceful assembly and expression in Thailand," it said in a statement, calling on the country to honour its international human rights obligations.

On Tuesday, authors of a report on rights in Thailand since the coup said they received phone calls from military officers warning them against holding a discussion on the subject as it could be in violation of a ban on public gatherings.

 
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