Press Release a Call for Procedural Review and Stop Invoking Martial Law to Impose DNA Profiling: It infringes on fundamental human rights
On 17 December 2012, human rights organizations submitted a letter of petition concerning the invoking of Martial Law to impose DNA profiling by military officers in the Southern Border Provinces to the Army Area Region 4 Commander, Secretary General of the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center (SBPAC), the Prime Minister, Director of the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). They demand a halt of DNA profiling being imposed on local people by the military citing Martial Law, as it is considered a violation of fundamental human rights.
On 16 December 2012 in Mai Kaen District, from 8.00- 17.00, an unknown military unit from the Ingkhayuth Borihan Army Camp stopped and forced several men from the age of 16 to 35 years travelling in the area into military trucks to conduct DNA profiling on them at the District Office of Mai Kaen. In addition, combined forces of police and administrative officers raided three villages in Tambon Sai Thong and rounded up men from the age of 16 to 35 years claiming that these men had to undergo DNA profiling at the District Officer. The officers checked their names from the house registration papers. The villagers were too scared to resist the order. Reportedly, some of them were boys from the age of 14-18 years and more than one hundred men from the age of 18-35 years.
Officers set up a checkpoint inside the District Officer. Any persons entering the premises were forced to undergo an inquiry to disclose their personal information, their educational background, etc. They were also forced to get urine tests and had their tissue samples from their oral cavity, their hands and their clothes collected by the officers and put into brown plastic bags. They had to do fingerprints of their ten fingers, had their photo taken from four sides, with name tags and had to sign to certify the personal information records despite their not being informed of the reasons for the personal information inquiry.
According to a villager (whose name is withheld), he travelled from his home in Tambon Sai Thong around 9.00 am. En route to Mai Kaen District, in Tambon Palu Kasema, he was stopped at a checkpoint and was asked to produce his ID card. Then, he was put on a military vehicle heading for DNA profiling at District Officer. Another passenger on his vehicle was also given a ride to get to the District Office. He was informed that everyone had to undergo the test. According to investigation, checkpoints for DNA profiling were set up in Mai Kaen, Sai Buri and Bajao Dsitricts, Narathiwat, in three villages.
Such an act of the officers is a breach of fundamental human rights. Setting up checkpoints is also a violation of the right to mobility. The collection of fingerprints, personal information, and DNA samples from oral cavity, body and clothes is a violation of the right to privacy. All of those being forced to undergo the treatment were simply suspects and were not accused of committing any offence. The invoking of Martial Law to carry out the measure is thus an arbitrary exercise of power and violation of fundamental human rights. We demand concerned agencies for procedural review and stop such an act immediately and develop measures to quell the unrest with the least impact on human rights.
Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) 02-693 4939, 086-709 3000
Muslim Attorney Centre Foundation (MAC) 081-959 2046, 089-873 1626