Take Action for Chonticha Jaengrew
On 7 June 2017, soldiers visited Chonticha Jaengrew’s parents’ home in the Lat Lum Kaeo District of central province Pathum Thani. Only her mother, whose health has deteriorated due to the stress of such recurring visits, was present. The soldiers pressured her to remind her daughter that she cannot travel without permission and must not engage in political activities. They accused Chonticha Jaengrew of violating an agreement signed in 2014, which the defender reports was obtained under duress.
Chonticha Jaengrew is a human rights defender and a member of the New Democracy Movement and the Democracy Restauration Group, two organisations playing a prominent role in campaigning for human rights and democracy since the military took power in May 2014. Chonticha Jaengrew also campaigned for environmental rights, minority rights and freedom of expression, and took part in trainings on human rights aimed at Thai youth. She was briefly detained along with other pro-democracy activists in December 2015 while they were trying to investigate human rights abuses stemming from corruption allegations. In May 2015, she was also arrested for participating in a commemoration of the 2014 coup d’état. She and her relatives have faced constant harassment by the authorities, including regular phone calls, visits, raids and verbal threats.
On 7 June 2017, at approximately 2.00pm, a number of junta soldiers visited Chonticha Jaengrew’s parents’ house in Lat Lum Kaeo District, Pathum Thani province. In Chonticha Jaengrew’s absence, her mother was told by the soldiers that she should remind her daughter about a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) she signed in 2014, which stated that she would cease to engage in political activities and would seek permission to leave the kingdom. They accused Chonticha Jaengrew of violating the agreement, which she was coerced into signing. The soldiers said that they would come back and that they would install CCTV cameras to monitor the house. According to the human rights defender, soldiers have visited her house at least 30 times in the past.
I express concern at this recent act of intimidation of human rights defender Chonticha Jaengrew’s family members, which I believe is solely motivated by her peaceful and legitimate work for human rights in Thailand.
I urge the authorities in Thailand to:
1. Immediately cease all further harassment of Chonticha Jaengrew and her family;
2. Cease targeting all human rights defenders in Thailand and guarantee in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.