2 October 2023

Amnesty International Thailand


Thailand: Upcoming verdict in case of murdered Indigenous activist ‘Billy’ must deliver justice

26 September 2023


Ahead of the expected verdict on Thursday (28 September) for four people accused of involvement in the enforced disappearance and murder of Indigenous Karen human rights defender Pholachi ‘Billy’ Rakchongcharoen, Amnesty International’s Regional Researcher for Thailand Chanatip Tatiyakaroonwong said:

“Billy’s brave pursuit of justice cost him his life and put his family through a yearslong nightmare of heartbreak, obfuscation and lies as they searched for truth. They deserve to know the full story of what happened to him, and those responsible for this unimaginably horrific murder must be held to account.

“The upcoming and long-overdue verdict is an important test for the Thai judicial system, which has failed victims of enforced disappearances for far too long. The judiciary has now an opportunity to set a new standard when addressing enforced disappearances to ensure they align with international human rights law. Thai authorities also have a chance to show leadership by sending a message to officials working all over the country: that the culture of impunity ends now and enforced disappearances will no longer be tolerated.

“The new Thai government must also immediately accede to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED), as well as the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT). This commitment would show they are genuinely interested in ensuring that heinous crimes – like the ones against Billy – will not happen again and that those responsible will be swiftly brought to justice.”


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Viet Nam: Three-year sentence for renowned climate activist is ‘self-inflicted wound’

28 September 2023

Responding to the three-year jail sentence handed down to Vietnamese climate activist Hoang Thi Minh Hong on Thursday, 28 September on tax evasion charges, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Campaigns Ming Yu Hah said:

“Vietnamese authorities must end their crackdown on environmental campaigners now. This verdict is a self-inflicted wound on Viet Nam’s ability to tackle one of the most seismic issues of our time. It is also the latest example of authorities’ intentional misuse of tax laws to wage a crackdown on environmental activists.

“Hoang Thi Minh Hong is an internationally recognized champion of climate justice. She was the first Vietnamese person to visit Antarctica and has dedicated her life to advocating and campaigning for clean energy and wildlife conservation. If Viet Nam is serious about tackling climate change, it must release all environmental activists, campaigners and experts from jail now.

“The international community must condemn this verdict and urge Viet Nam to drop all criminal charges against environmental activists. Authorities in Vietnam must also wake up to the fact that they can only fulfil their climate goals and responsibilities by working with, rather than against, those most dedicated to this cause in their own country.”


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EU: AI Act must ban dangerous, AI-powered technologies in historic law

28 September 2023


The European Union (EU) must ban dangerous, AI-powered technologies in the AI Act, Amnesty International said today, as the bloc aims to finalize the world’s first comprehensive AI rulebook this fall. 

Numerous states across the globe have deployed unregulated AI systems to assess welfare claims, monitor public spaces, or determine someone’s likelihood of committing a crime. These technologies are often branded as ‘technical fixes’ for structural issues such as poverty, sexism and discrimination. They use sensitive and often staggering amounts of data, which are fed into automated systems to decide whether or not individuals should receive housing, benefits, healthcare and education — or even be charged with a crime. 

Yet instead of fixing societal problems, many AI systems have flagrantly amplified racism and inequalities, and perpetuated human rights harms and discrimination. 

“These systems are not used to improve people’s access to welfare, they are used to cut costs. And when you already have systemic racism and discrimination, these technologies amplify harms against marginalized communities at much greater scale and speed,” said Mher Hakobyan, Amnesty International’s Advocacy Advisor on AI Regulation.

“Instead of focusing disproportionally on the ‘existential threats’ posed by AI, EU lawmakers should formulate laws that address existing problems, such as the fact that these technologies are used for making grossly discriminatory decisions that undermine access to basic human rights.” 


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Global: Experts back decriminalization as the best means to enhance the rights of sex workers

29 September 2023


Responding to recommendations on enhancing the rights of sex workers made by United Nations experts this week, Carrie Eisert, Amnesty International’s policy advisor, said:

“The UN working group’s recommendation that sex workers’ rights need to be better protected in international human rights law is an important step in addressing the widespread discrimination sex workers face across the globe.


“It recommended that full decriminalization of adult voluntary sex work holds the greatest promise to address the systemic discrimination and violence sex workers frequently suffer, as well as impunity for violations of sex workers’ rights.

“It says that sex workers should be involved in creating the legal and policy frameworks that impact them, as they are often left out of this process, have their views ignored, or are otherwise marginalized.

“Human rights standards relating to sex workers’ rights are currently limited, and whether and how to advance them has often been a divisive issue. These recommendations offer a way forward that could allow all human rights defenders to come together and build a common position.”


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Americas: Brazil can become the next country to step up to guarantee the right to abortion

28 September 2023


To mark International Safe Abortion Day on 28 September, Ana Piquer, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:

“Despite the green wave’s numerous victories in the Americas over the last few years, the rights gained and the opportunities to expand abortion protections are under attack by anti-rights actors. The overturning of Roe v. Wade in the United States last year was a wakeup call for the movement, reminding us once more that the fight to defend and expand our rights must be ongoing.”

“Brazil has the opportunity to join the green wave and recognize the right to access a safe and legal abortion for women, girls, and all people who can become pregnant. For decades, the criminalization of abortion has violated our sexual and reproductive rights, and disproportionately discriminated against women who are Black, Indigenous and living in poverty. It is time for the Supreme Federal Court to end this injustice.”


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