Thailand: Arbitrary arrest of Mr. Prom Jarana

Urgent Appeal

THA 003 / 0714 / OBS 065
Arbitrary arrest
July 17, 2014

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Thailand.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources of the arbitrary arrest of Mr. Prom Jarana, a member of the Assembly of the Poor, a grassroots people’s movement that works for the protection and promotion of land rights.

According to the information received, on July 17, 2014, at 10.30 am, Thai police and army personnel arrested Mr. Prom Jarana at his home in Baan Hoo Tam Nob Village, Phakam District, Buriram Province. The arresting officers informed Mr. Prom that he would be taken to the Somdet Chaopraya Mahakasatsuk military camp. Mr. Prom was not informed of the reason for his arrest.

The Observatory believes that Mr. Prom was arrested in connection with his activities for the protection and promotion of human rights. On July 15, 2014, Mr. Prom joined a delegation of the Assembly of the Poor to Bangkok. The delegation gathered at the Thai Army headquarters to demand that the ruling junta, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), put an end to the ongoing forced evictions of villagers by soldiers from the Thai 2nd Army in six villages of Non Din Daeng District, Buriram Province. On July 16, Mr. Prom visited Kao Baat, one of the villages affected by the forced evictions.

At the time of the release of this Urgent Appeal, no charges had been formally framed against Mr. Prom Jarana and there is still no clear information on his current location.

The Observatory condemns the arbitrary arrest of Mr. Prom Jarana, which seems to merely aim at sanctioning his peaceful human rights activities, and calls upon the authorities of Thailand to release him immediately and unconditionally.

Background information:

Between June 27 and July 2, 2014, soldiers from the Thai 2nd Army entered six villages, Kao Baat, Saeng Sawan, Talat Khwai, Pa Mamuang, Klong Hin Mai and Sam Salueng villages in Non Ding Daeng District, Buriram Province, and ordered residents to demolish their own homes and leave the area. Soldiers spray-painted the relocation deadlines, ranging from July 7 to July 10, on the villagers’ homes. Soldiers also warned villagers that they would be forcibly evicted from their homes if they failed to comply with their eviction orders.

There were about 300 households with a total of more than 1,000 people in the six villages affected by the relocation orders. In Saeng Sawan Village, more than 50 households refused to relocate. Similarly, about 40 people in Kao Baat Village, mostly women and children, refused to leave their homes.

The Thai Army did not provide any compensation or assistance to those who agreed under duress to vacate their homes. The two relocation sites, located in the rubber plantation area of Pa Yaang Sabkhaning, about six kilometers north of the Pa Mamuang Village, and at the Lam Nang Rong Buddhist temple grounds, about 15 kilometers south of Talat Khwai Village, lack adequate temporary shelters and have no access to water.

The forced evictions were preceded by a string of arbitrary detentions. On June 28 and 29, soldiers from the Thai 2nd Army detained a total of 10 village leaders from Seang Sawan Village. The 10 were held incommunicado without being charged for seven days at the Somdet Chaophraya Mahakasatsuk military camp and were not informed of the reason of their detention.

On July 4, 2014, about 20 soldiers from the Thai 2nd Army took a village leader from his home in Lam Nang Rong Village, Non Din Daeng District, Buriram Province, and detained him at the Somdet Chaophraya Mahakasatsuk military camp. He was released after being held incommunicado for about 10 hours. The day before, he had approached local military commanders to ask them whether the NCPO’s announcement that it would crack down on forest encroachments would apply to the situation of villagers in Non Din Daeng District. On July 12, 2014, Thai Army soldiers in Saeng Sawang Village briefly detained local activist Mr. Paiboon Soisot and ordered him to leave the community or face legal action.

It is believed that the Thai Army’s crackdown stemmed from Order Nos. 64 and 66, issued by the ruling junta, the NCPO, on June 14 and 17, 2014 respectively. The two orders empowered government agencies to take action to put an end to encroachment on forest reserves nationwide. However, villagers claim that the area they inhabited was no longer classed as ‘forest reserve’ and should be redistributed among local communities in accordance with the 1964 National Forest Reserve Act.

The area has a long history of forced relocation of villagers as part of the Thai government’s military campaign against Thai Communist Party’s guerrilla operating in the area in the 1970s and early 1980s. In the next two decades, successive Thai governments failed to return the land to the communities who had originally inhabited it.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Thailand asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Prom Jarana as well as all human rights defenders in Thailand;

ii. Release Mr. Prom Jarana immediately and unconditionally since his detention is arbitrary and only aims at sanctioning his human rights activities;

iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Prom Jarana as well as against all human rights defenders in Thailand;

iv. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, and Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Thailand.


· Head of the National Council for Peace and Order, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, Royal Thai Army Commander-in-Chief, Rachadamnoen Nok Road, Bang Khun Phrom, Phra Nakhon, 10200, Bangkok, THAILAND
· Deputy Leader of the National Council for Peace and Order, General Thanasak Patimaprakorn, Chief of the Armed Forces, Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters, 127 Chaeng Watthana Road, Laksi, 10210, Bangkok, THAILAND
· Deputy Leader of the National Council for Peace and Order, Police General Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit, Royal Thai Police Commissioner-General, Royal Thai Police, 1 Building, Floor 7, Rama 1 Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok, THAILAND 10330, Tel: +66 (0)-2251-6831 Fax: +66 (0)-2205-3738
· National Human Rights Commission of Thailand, 422 Phya Thai Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10300, THAILAND, Fax: +622 219 2940
· Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, Lukmuang Building, Nahuppei Road, Prabraromrachawang, Pranakorn, Bangkok 10200, THAILAND, Fax: +662 224 0162 / 1448 / 221 0858,;
· Commissioner General, Royal Thai Police, 1st Building, 7th Floor, Rama I, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, THAILAND, Fax: +662 251 5956 / 205 3738 / 255 1975-8
· Permanent Mission of Thailand to the United Nations in Geneva, rue Gustave Moynier 5, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland, Tel: + 41 22 715 10 10; Fax: + 41 22 715 10 00 / 10 02; Email:
· Embassy of Thailand in Brussels, 2 Sq. du Val de la Cambre, 1050 Ixelles, Belgium, Tel: + 32 2 640.68.10; Fax: + 32 2 .648.30.66. Email:

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Thailand in your respective country

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