Thai Lawyers for Human Rights centre wins award from French embassy

The Nation : The Thai Lawyers for Human Rights Centre, which offers assistance to people prosecuted by the military junta, thanked the French Embassy yesterday for a human rights prize to be awarded to them next week.
Yaowalak Anuphan, chief of the centre, said she believed the honour sent a signal to both the human rights community in Thailand and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) about the importance of civil rights.
"Our group has no status and the award will help support the centre to carry out our challenging work," she told The Nation.
The award, the first in Thailand by the embassy, will be presented at the embassy today by Ambassador Thierry Viteau to commemorate the International Day of Human Rights.
"The defence and promotion of human rights is one of the top priorities of France as well as the European Union's external action, be it for the universal abolition of the death penalty, the defines of women's rights, the fight against all forms of discrimination, the fight against torture and enforced disappearances, the protection of children in armed conflicts, or the respect of freedom of gathering, freedom of speech and freedom of belief," a statement released by the embassy on Monday said.
The centre has six full-time lawyers and eight part-time volunteer lawyers including 47-year-old Yaowalak.
The group was formed on May 24, two days after the coup, after some of its members saw the need to provide legal services to those facing the military regime as well as those charged under the lese majeste law. Their current caseload is 21, including 11 for lese majeste.

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