Joint Statement by organizations/groups/individuals A search of the house of a women human rights defender in Pattani  The founders of Peace Agenda of Women (POAW)

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Remarks: at the Press Conference on 25 June 2018 at 13.30  Pattani Provincial Taskforce Commander stated that the joint operation was conducted on 22 June 2018 and apologized for the damages may cause.

Detail pls view at https://issoc4news.blogspot.com/2018/06/3-22.html?m=1

 

Released on 25 June 2018

Joint Statement by organizations/groups/individuals

A search of the house of a women human rights defender in Pattani 

The founders of Peace Agenda of Women (POAW)

 

On Friday 22 June 2018, combined security official forces conducted a search of the house belonging to Ms. Soraya Jamjuree, an academic affiliated with the Prince of Songkhla University and a women activist with a prominent role in the Peace Agenda of Women (POAW). Jamjuree is a pioneer in initiating and promoting the concept of providing safety zones in the southern border provinces and has included this idea in a series of peace talks about the current violence in the South.

 

Police and military officials searched Ms. Jamjuree’s house around 15.30 on 22 June, 2018. Officials arrived in two vehicles and conducted a search of the house and nearby community. The officials claimed they were searching Ms. Jamjuree’s house and the community for suspects accused of bombing ATM machines during Ramadan, the fasting month. In total, officials searched five houses.

 

The search also included the residence of a women’s rights activist and staff member of a university located in the town of Pattani. The area has been under Emergency Decree since 2005 when Parliament passed the Emergency Decree on Government Administration in States of Emergency B.E. 2548 (2005) and under martial law since 2004 under the 1954 Martial Law Act.

 

Officials invoked the Emergency Decree’s Section 11 (4) which “authorizes competent officials to issue a notification that a competent official shall have the power to issue a warrant for the search, removal, withdrawal or demolition of buildings, structures or obstructions as necessary for the exercise of functions in order to promptly terminate a serious situation where a delay might render the situation beyond control.”

 The women’s rights activist asked officials to produce the search warrant, which by law, is required to be issued by the court of jurisdiction. This warrant must be issued, according to the Criminal Procedure Act, in a similar procedure to an issuance of a warrant of detention.

However, the officials who conducted the search failed to produce the legal warrants to do so. Despite this, police officials persisted by invoking martial law which allows arbitrary searches to be carried out against any persons in the Southern Border Provinces. The search of the activist’s residence was completed and did not find any item illegal.

It is important that citizens’ rights are protected from state powers and this incident is an example of a misuse of state power against a civilian. It also reflects other problems surrounding law enforcement’s abuse of power in the South.

  1. Laws, such as martial law and emergency decrees, should be invoked carefully to ensure there is minimal impact on the public. The Emergency Decree’s purpose is to prevent harmful acts; this decree is not intended to be used for allow for arbitrary search of a civilian.
  2. Martial law and emergency decrees should only be used in extreme situations with reasonable justification. In this case, if no search warrants were given under the Emergency Decree, officials should have obtained a substitute warrant issued by the Court. In this particular incidence, officials used martial law as a loophole when they were unable to produce a search warrant. This clearly demonstrates confusion and arbitrary. It is vital for citizens and the state apparatus alike that the public has confidence especially by police forces who is law enforcement officers.

This incident is amount to threat and intimidation and  causing fear to herself,  family, community members, and members of the public in the Southern Border Provinces.

In July of 2017, in the 30th paragraph of the report by the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women on Thailand about the state of women’s rights in Thailand, Country Reports no. 6 and 7 states that “the Committee is deeply concerned about (women human right’s defenders) WHRDs, particularly those who campaign on land rights, environmental protection, the rights of indigenous peoples, the rights of rural people, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women and women Muslims in the Southern Border Provinces for they have been targeted in the prosecution, harassment and the use of violence and intimidation as a result of their work by the acts of public officials and business enterprises.” The report continues in its recommendations that, “an investigation must be carried out effectively to bring to justice the perpetrators involved with any act of harassment, the use of violence and intimidation against WHRDs and to provide for proper remedies to those affected by these acts.”

The Thai government and relevant authorities in the Southern Border Provinces including the 4th Region Internal Security Operations Command Forward should carry out the following acts urgently;

  1. An independent inquiry must be conducted into this incidence. Individuals involved with the harassment of this WHRD must be held to account. Moreover, there must be an investigation into the lawfulness of these acts has to be determined whether (1) they are a proportional response and (2) if they have been conducted in good faith.
  2. If it can be determined that such acts are harassment of the WHRD, proper remedies must be provided for the affected persons. Officials have frequently invoked martial laws in order to harass WHRDs and this practice must end.

List of signatures

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