Thai State Urged to Protect the Right to Freedom of Movement and Peaceful Assembly of Migrant Workers
On 18 December 2014, administrative officials from the Samut Sakhon Provincial Authority with military and police forces have stopped a group of 150 migrant workers from Mahachai District, Samut Sakhon who were on their way to Bangkok to attend the International Migrants Day to be held by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in collaboration with the State Enterprise Workers’ Relations Confederation of Thailand (SERC) and Migrant Worker Rights Network (MWRN) at the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre.
Initially, only staff members from the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) and core members of the MWRN were allowed to proceed to participate in the activity as the officials cited concerns about public order and the imposition of Martial Law. Nevertheless, after some negotiation, the authorities allowed all migrant workers to proceed to participate in the activity.
The Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) is a civil society working to uphold the rights of migrant workers. We deem that even though the officials justified their action by citing their duties to control the situation and to upkeep public order invoking the imposition of Martial Law and the NCPO Announcements no. 70/2557 and 118/2557 regarding the measures to resolve problems concerning migrant workers and human trafficking, but such an act which may have led to restriction of the right to freedom of movement and peaceful assembly of migrant workers during the International Migrants Day without any sound evidence that their act may become a breach to national security, public order or the welfare of people, could constitute an infringement on the fundamental rights and freedom of migrant workers as provided for by international human rights obligations and upheld in Section 4 of the 2014 Interim Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand. It could also reflect a misunderstanding of the essence of the two NCPO’s announcements which regulate migrant workers, but do not intend to place any restriction of the rights of migrant workers.
Therefore, HRDF would like to urge the Thai state to seriously uphold human rights of migrant workers, particularly their rights to freedom of movement and peaceful assembly and association. It should be ensured that any act of the state officials is carried out as necessary and proportionate, even when Martial Law is still imposed. This should help to prevent any infringement on the rights and liberties of the migrant workers, the act of which constitutes a breach to Section 4 of the 2014 Interim Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand and Thailand’s international human rights obligation.
With respect in human rights and human dignity
Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF)
19 December 2014
For more information, please contact:
Ms. Nattarat Aroonmaharat, Coordinator of the Anti Human Trafficking in Labour Project, tel. 092-6690417
Mr. Papop Siamhan, Litigation Coordinator, Anti Human Trafficking in Labour Project, tel. 094-5485306
Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF)[:th]แถลงการณ์