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Women human rights defenders face threats and intimidation

Graphic: Panel discussion at the human rights awards

Six prominent human rights defenders and organisations were recognised at a ceremony held on International Women’s Day.

An event to celebrate the efforts of women human rights defenders in Thailand has highlighted the danger and intimidation that many face, The Nation reported.

Organised by Thailand's National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), six prominent human rights defenders and organisations were recognised on International Women's Day for their work to improve the lives of individuals and communities.

Many of the award recipients had faced some form of intimidation and harassment as a result of their human rights work, Katia Chirizzi, OHCHR Deputy Representative, Southeast Asia Regional Office, told the gathering.

"And at least two women human rights defenders have lost their lives since 2014," Chirizzi said.


Graphic: Award winners assemble for a group photo


NHRC Commissioner Angkhana Neelapaijit said strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP) had hindered the work of human rights defenders.

"Used by both private firms and government agencies, these lawsuits cause concern and fear. They also pose a financial burden as the accused have to find money to fight their cases," she said.

Angkhana said if SLAPP suits were not stopped, accountability and transparency in the country would suffer.

She also urged the government to put in place measures to protect women from sexual harassment and women human rights defenders from threats and assault.

The NHRC has commended six women and women-related organisations for their human rights work: BUKU Football Club – Pattani Campus, which was established by the Student Union of Prince of Songkla University; Four Region Slum Network President Nutchanart Thanthong; ENLAW Foundation Manager Supaporn Malailoy; Dararat Suthes, Director of the Phang Nga Child and Family Shelter; Thai PBS Television Senior Reporter Hathairat Phaholtap; and the Empower Foundation.

Date: 8 March 2018

Source: The Nation / NHRC Facebook


Image credits

  1. Panel discussion at the human rights awards - National Human Rights Commission of Thailand
  2. Award winners assemble for a group photo - National Human Rights Commission of Thailand