Thursday, 2 May 2013

Press Release                                                                            1 May 2013

Solidarity message:  May Day 2013
“Free Somyot, All Political Prisoners and Abolish Lese Majeste Law in Thailand”

Today as we gather together to commemorate May Day let us remember the struggles of our brothers and sisters to improve our work and lives. All our rights as workers have been won through long, hard battles. Currently all over the world, worker activists face not only challenges from the bosses and owners, but also from governments which use unjust laws or military might to stop us from organising at work. Many of our brothers and sisters are in jail because of this repression.

In many countries in Asia we continue to see attacks on labour and democratic rights. For instance, Thailand has had 26 military coup d`etats in its modern history. The situation for labour and human rights activists in Thailand has now become very difficult. Since the 2006 coup d’etat, the widespread use of the repressive Lese Majeste law (Article 112 of Criminal Code of Thailand) has led to the imprisoning of hundreds of activists and civilians, both Thai and foreigners.

On 23 Jan 2013, labour activist and journalist Somyot Prueksakasemsuk was jailed for 10 years (with another 1 year pending) for allegedly defaming the Thai Royal Family. 

Somyot's case has brought international attention to the situation in Thailand.

It has become obvious to all that Article 112 is being used by the Thai government and ruling elite to stifle dissent and suppress progressive activists and organizations. Article 112 stops people asserting their civil and political rights by making views opposed to the ruling regime illegal.

In such a climate of fear and repression, organising at workplaces and conducting campaigns by workers and trade unions becomes very difficult.

We call upon all Trade unions and progressive organisations around the world to continue to stand up for and support our brothers and sisters in Thailand.

Therefore, on the occasion of May Day, 2013, the international day of workers, we wish to declare our solidarity for all jailed, tortured and suffering activists in Thailand and all over the world.

We condemn the Thai government’s use of Article 112 ( Lese Majeste Law) against its opponents and consider its use an attack on basic human rights.
We call on the Thai government to drop the charges against Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, and to free all other political prisoners detained under Article 112.

We also call for the abolition Article 112.

Irene Xavier
Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor

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