Amnesty International Thailand to launch public assembly monitoring program in August

16 August 2020

Amnesty International Thailand

Amnesty International Thailand will launch the “public assembly monitoring” program to observe and document facts during public assemblies based on international human rights principles. The program will start in August 2020 together with the launch of Mob Data Thailand website in collaboration with Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw) to draw on public participation to develop the people’s sector public assembly depository.  


AI Thailand’s public assembly monitoring are volunteers who are interested and place an importance on human rights. They will receive training and will exchange their knowledge and skills necessary for the observation and documentation during public assemblies on par with international standards. Part of the curriculum will be drawn from what has been developed by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR)) and the training will be facilitated by nonviolent trainers. In addition, the trainees will get to learn observation and documentation skills for public assembly and to get themselves prepared for their safety and how to respond to various situations.  


Piyanut Kotsan, Director of Amnesty International Thailand reveals that the gathering of public assembly monitoring aims to create unity and justification as well as to distinguish the observers from the other demonstrators. They are there just to document the incidence based on human rights indicators and support to ensure they can carry out their public assembly observation professionally. 


“It is essential that observers do not express their opinion about the public assemblies. They shall neither encourage nor discourage potential demonstrators. Most importantly, observers must remain non-partisan and not involved in any way with the public assembly. Their missions are to observe, document, and compile the information to prepare a report which shall be further circulated to other concerned individuals and organizations.”  


Piyanut adds that the right to freedom of assembly is a fundamental human right that belongs to everyone and has to be respected. This includes the right to freedom of expression, assembly and association as well. Democratic governments shall refrain from restricting such right to freedom of peaceful assembly since it is recognized by international human rights treaties.  


According to the coalition, the first bid of public assembly observation will take place in August whereby all public assembly volunteer observers shall carry a sign which clearly identifies them as “observers”, to distinguish themselves from the rest of the demonstrators.  


In addition, AI Thailand and iLAW have jointly developed as an online data depository on all public assemblies in Thailand. The documentation has begun since January 2020 and the system will be made available for test run on 7 August 2020 onward. The website will serve as a public space and everyone can report to the website information about the public assemblies. Collaboration has also been made with organizations working on freedom of assembly including the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), Community Resource Centre (CRC), EnLAW Foundation, Prachatai and Law Long Beach. Any important information from the database can be developed into a set of policy recommendations which shall be proposed to either the state or concerned international organizations to uphold the climate inducive to the exercise of the right to freedom of assembly in Thailand.