CCC calls upon Thai military junta to stop harassment of organisers

Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) calls upon the authorities to demand the Thai military junta to stop arresting workers when they exercise their rights to freedom of expression, and to guarantee a transparent and fair referendum for the planned constitutional reform. On June 23, 2016, three board members of Triumph International Thailand Trade Union and ten human rights activists and students where arrested by the military police at the market of Kan Keha Bang Phli Community on the eastern outskirt of Bangkok,while distributing leaflets to encourage workers to exercise their right to vote from distant in the upcoming referendum to be held on August 7, 2016. As most of factory workers come from other provinces, by registering for distance voting, they would not have to go back to their hometown to vote and thus would be able to vote in the area where they work.

The arrested activists were accused of violating the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Order no. 3/2558, which bans gatherings of five or more people, and Article 61 of the 2016 Constitutional Referendum Act, which bans the dissemination of 'false information' about the draft charter with the aim of influencing voters. If found guilty, all 13 could face up to 10 years of imprisonment, a fine of up to 200,000 Baht (approx. 5,125 EUR), and have their right to vote revoked by court for up to 10 years under the Referendum Act.

Six of the activists, including the three women unionist, were released on a bail of 50,000 Baht (approx. 1,280 EUR) each, under the conditions that they must “not get involved with any act aimed to instigate, disrupt public order, persuade, compel people to rise up by any means possible in order to make possible any public assembly which may bring about public disorder or cause any harm or infringement on peace, order or the moral high ground of the people or any act which may induce people to commit a legal offence.”

 The other seven activists did not submit bail requests, arguing that they had done nothing wrong and that they would not accept conditions for their release. They remained in custody at the Bangkok Remand Prison until July 5, 2016, when the court ruled that no further remand was necessary as the police's investigation process was completed.

 Triumph International Labour Union of Thailand is a well recognized Labour Union at the national and international level, affiliated to Textile, Garment, and Leather Workers’ Federation of Thailand (TWFT); to the Confederation of Industrial Labour of Thailand (CILT); to IndustriAll Global Union; and to CCC.

 As such, CCC supports TWFT's call on the Thai authorities to stop arresting workers when they exercise their rights to freedom of expression, and to guarantee a transparent and fair referendum.

 In particular we call on to the Thai authorities to:

  • Drop immediately and unconditionally all charges against the 13 activists arrested on June 23, 2016;

  • Repeal the Head of the NCPO Order no. 3/2558, which fails to comply with international human rights instruments ratified by Thailand;

  • Guarantee that the exercise of freedom of expression and assembly are not prosecuted under Article 116 of the Thai Criminal Code (‘sedition’);

  • Guarantee that the citizens of Thailand can freely exercise their right to vote, including the use of distance – voting mechanisms;

  • Put an end to the prosecution of civilians in military courts in accordance with international human rights law that prohibits governments from using military courts to try civilians when civilian courts are functioning;

  • Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially its Articles 1 which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, and Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

  • Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Thailand.

Please, support this call by sending a letter (here a sample letter) to the following Thai representations:

Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fax: +66 (0) 2 643 5320; Email:

Mr. Wat Tingsamit, Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand; Email:

H.E. Mr. Thani Thongphakdi, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Thailand to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: + 41 22 715 10 00 / 10 02; Email: