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<p><span>It is a rare occasion that both the ASEAN Chair and the ASEAN Secretary-General sit down to dialogue with hundreds of civil society representatives, and expectations were understandably high. However, it was a surprise that it was Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan who caused consternation by his responses to matters raised at the ASEAN Civil Society Conference dialogue session on the weekend.</span></p>
By Reporters Without Borders |
<p>Reporters Without Borders hails the release of Harry Nicolaides, who flew home to Australia today after being granted a royal pardon on 19 February. The press freedom organisation calls for a rapid overhaul of Thailand&#39;s lese majeste law.</p>
By By David Cronin for Intellectual Property Watch |
<p>BRUSSELS - Efforts by the European Union to insert strong provisions on pharmaceutical patents in a series of free trade agreements it is negotiating could imperil access to medicines in developing countries, global public health activists have alleged.</p>
<p>On Feb 17, over 5,000 PAD members attended the funeral of Arom Meechai, a teacher and active PAD member. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and a PM&rsquo;s Office Minister were among the attendees.</p>
By Matichon |
<p>On Feb 16, a group of teachers, personnel and alumni of Chiang Mai University&rsquo;s Faculty of Fine Arts released a statement demanding the University Council to dismiss Assoc Prof Somkiart Tangnamo from the deanship of the faculty for signing Giles Ji Ungpakorn&rsquo;s petition to abolish the l&egrave;se majest&eacute; law.</p>
By Deutsche Presse Agentur |
<p>Bangkok - Bangkok prison authorities submitted a request for a royal pardon for Australian Harry Nicolaides, who is serving a three-year prison sentence for lese majeste, officials confirmed Tuesday.</p>
By Human Rights Watch |
<p>(New York, February 13, 2009) &ndash; The Thai military should immediately end the intimidation of human rights defenders in the southern border provinces, Human Rights Watch said today. Growing reports of abuses and illegal tactics by the security forces seriously undermine the credibility of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who has vowed to bring justice to the conflict-ridden region.</p>
<p><span>On Feb 13, Aree Jiworarak, Director of the Information Technology Supervision Office under the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, sent e-mails to executives of internet service providers (ISPs), saying that the Office had found there was a publication disseminated on the internet called the &lsquo;Red Siam Manifesto&rsquo; which affected national security.</span></p>
By Matichon |
<p>Army Air Defense soldiers complained to the PM and Defence Minister that their commander&rsquo;s order to start work at 8 am by lining up to sing the national anthem caused trouble to their personal daily routines, especially sending their children to school.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span>On Feb 11, Kamnoon Sidhisamarn, an appointed senator, said in an ASTV programme that Giles Ji Ungpakorn&rsquo;s release of his &lsquo;Red Siam manifesto&rsquo; on Feb 9, attacking the monarchy and Thai people who regard the King as their Father, was considered rebellion, as he wanted Thailand to become a republic with all public positions elected.<strong></strong></span></p>
<p>The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has closely followed with growing concern the increasing number of lese-majesty cases being filed against people from all walks of life in Thailand for written comments on the royal family. At present, dozens of persons are known to be facing charges or have already been convicted of the offence, which is the equivalent of treason against the crown. They include citizens of Thailand and foreigners, journalists and academics, bloggers and web board discussants. At least two are presently imprisoned and another has fled abroad, rightly fearing that he would not obtain a fair trial.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span>Giles Ji Ungpakorn&rsquo;s flight and Red Siam manifesto have been a bombshell.<span>&nbsp; </span>Political foes are quick to grab the opportunity to make this work to their advantage.<span>&nbsp; </span>The fact that Ji appeared on the red-shirt stage at the end of last month and some thousand academics and others signed his petition to abolish the l&egrave;se majest&eacute; law seem to have fallen perfectly into the hands of the right-wing PAD who have long claimed there is a conspiracy against the throne.<span>&nbsp; </span>Nidhi Eowsriwong, who has been critical of the PAD, and has been a target of abuse from the PAD stage, happens to be the first name on Ji&rsquo;s petition list.<span>&nbsp; </span>He and his former colleagues at Midnight University are among the first who have been targeted in this lethal fray.</span></p>