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Arfan Wattana

Arfan Wattana

Patani Organisation

Arfan Wattana is a prominent Patani leader and human rights defender predominantly working in the region of Patani, one of the most militarized regions in Asia which has been under martial law for the past 15 years. He currently works as assistant of foreign affairs at an NGO, The Patani organisation. In his capacity, Arfan Wattana advocates for Patani issues at the international level,  with stakeholders and is a facilitator for international NGOs w. He is a vocal critic of Thailand’s assimilation policies in Patani and the recipient of the Young Southeast Asia Leaders Initiative scholarship.

Aftter seizing power in a 2014 coup, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has maintained its grip on the country through an array of restrictive laws. The junta’s intolerance of dissenting opinions has resulted in a challenging climate for human rights defenders. Judicial harassment, which remains one of the most common tools to silence HRDs, has intensified, with defamation and other criminal and civil charges being brought against them. There are reports of surveillance of HRDs, both physical and online, intimidation, public smear campaigns and threats. A number of events, including the launching of human rights reports, have been disrupted and public gatherings banned. HRDs also face physical assaults, arbitrary detention and extrajudicial killings.