Community rights activist summoned on Emergency Decree charge

Community rights activist Khairiyah Rahmanyah, 18, said she received a summons from the Pathumwan Police Station for violating the Emergency Decree and the Sound Amplifier Act.

Khairiyah (centre) leading the march to Government House on 13 December 2020 (Photo by Ginger Cat)

Khairiyah, a 1st-year student at the Prince of Songkhla University’s Faculty of Communication Sciences, said that she has to report to Pathumwan Police Station on Friday, 7 January 2022. She was uncertain of why she was being harassed, said that she just wants to study like other people, and asked why it was no longer possible for people in the country to voice their opinions.

On 29 November 2021, Khairiyah came to Bangkok to follow up on an as-of-yet unfulfilled promise the government made in 2019 to reconsider a 16,700-rai Chana industrial estate project and conduct a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). She sat in front of Government House every evening for a week to remind the administration of its pledge, but received no response from the authorities.

On 6 December 2021, a group of Chana community members came to Bangkok to occupy the area in front of Government House to demand that the government keep its promises. They were arrested that evening at their camp and charged with violation of the Emergency Decree. Held overnight at the Narcotics Suppression Bureau, they were released on 7 December without bail on the condition that they not return to Government House.

After their release, the protesters occupied the foothpath in fron of the UN headquarters on Ratchadamneon Avenue for five days before marching to Government House and occupying the nearby Chamai Maruchet bridge.

On Tuesday, 14 December, the cabinet finally issued a resolution to conduct an SEA, temporarily halting the Chana industrial zone project. The National Economic and Social Development Council was tasked with leading the SEA process.   The results will be evaluated by Thaksin and Prince of Songkla Universities. The next morning, the protesters left for Songkhla.

When they were occupying the footpath in front of the UN headquarters, Khairiyah and several other young protesters from Chana participated in an event organised by the People Go Network.  On 10 December 2021, she spoke on stage and participated in discussion circles about community rights issues at the courtyard in front of the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC).

The Faculty of Political Science Student Union at the Prince of Songkhla University Pattani campus issued a statement last night (4 December) decrying the police action as a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) and an attempt to silence people exercising their constitutional right to demand justice for their community.

The Student Union also asked the university administration to stand by students who face harassment from state officials and support students fighting charges. They further asked that the authorities respect people’s rights and end unwarranted prosecutions.

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