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New Restrictions Indicate Crackdown on Free Speech

(New York) – Taliban authorities in Afghanistan have been detaining and assaulting journalists and imposing new restrictions on media work, Human Rights Watch said today. The Taliban should call a halt to the assaults, drop the restrictions, and…
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Boost Aid for Civil Society, Education, Health, Media

(New York) – The US government should address fears of increased insecurity fueled by its announced plan to withdraw all military forces from Afghanistan by committing to expanded support for human rights, including women’s rights, Human Rights…
President Joe Biden speaks from the Treaty Room in the White House on Wednesday, April 14, 2021, about the withdrawal of the remainder of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. 
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Attacks Highlight Need to Uphold Press Freedom in Peace Settlement

(New York) – Taliban forces are deliberately targeting journalists and other media workers, including women, in Afghanistan, Human Rights Watch said today. Threats and attacks against journalists across the country have increased sharply since…
Afghan journalists film at the site of a bombing attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. 
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Risk of Long Pretrial Detention in Lese Majeste Cases

(New York) – Thailand’s Bangkok Criminal Court has ordered three prominent democracy activists to pretrial detention on charges of insulting the monarchy, Human Rights Watch said today. The order could leave them detained for years until their trial…
Jatupat "Pai" Boonpattararaksa plays his Isan Harp during the demonstration.
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Abusive Use of Lese Majeste Law to Silence Critics

(New York) – The Bangkok Criminal Court has denied bail requests and ordered four prominent democracy activists into pretrial detention on lese majeste charges, Human Rights Watch said today. The order could condemn them to detention for years until…
Activist Somyot Pruksakasemsuk, left Parit Chiwarak, and Arnon Nampha raise a three-finger salute, a symbol of resistance, as they arrive at Criminal court in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021.
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Basic Freedoms Stifled Amid Youth-Led Democracy Uprising

(New York, January 13, 2021) – Thailand’s government in 2020 escalated its repression of basic rights in the face of a growing, youth-led democracy movement demanding political and constitutional reforms, Human Rights Watch said today in its World…
A high school student holds up the three-finger salute and gives a speech at a youth-led rally in Chiang Mai, Thailand on August 25, 2020. © 2020 Supitcha Chailom
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Elyas Daye Among Many in Media Facing Increased Taliban Threats

(New York) – An improvised explosive device (IED) attached to the car of Elyas Dayee, a reporter with Azadi Radio, exploded and killed him on November 11, 2020 in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, Human Rights Watch said today. Although the Taliban…
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Raid on Kabul Journalists’ Home an Act of Intimidation

An Afghan police raid on the home of two female journalists in Kabul raises concerns about rising threats to women in public life – in this case from the Kabul police, who seem to have taken a page out of the Taliban’s playbook. At about midnight…
Afghan National Police seen near the Defense Ministry compound in Kabul, Afghanistan, February 27, 2016. 
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Investigate Airstrike on Mosque School that Killed at Least 12 Children

(New York) – Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh has ordered the arrest of the individual who reported civilian casualties from an Afghan government airstrike on October 22, 2020, Human Rights Watch said today. The Afghan air force struck a mosque…
Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh at an inauguration ceremony in Kabul, Afghanistan, March 9, 2020. 
News

End Suppression of Media, Free Expression

(Bangkok) – The Thai government’s shutdown of the outspoken Voice TV channel misuses Thailand’s emergency decree to censor the media, Human Rights Watch said today. On October 20, 2020, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society announced at a…
Voice TV
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Protesters, Journalist Arrested Under Draconian Emergency Decree

(Bangkok) – Thai police unnecessarily used water cannon against peaceful pro-democracy protesters in Bangkok on October 16, 2020, in violation of international human rights standards, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities acted under state of…
Pro democracy demonstrators face water canons as police try to clear the protest venue in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020.
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Authorities Disregard Own Pledge to Allow Dissent

(New York) – Thai authorities should immediately drop all charges and unconditionally release prominent pro-democracy activists arbitrarily detained for their role in peaceful protests, Human Rights Watch said today. On August 19, 2020, Thai police…
Arnon Nampha
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Stop Using Covid-19 Measures as Pretext to Violate Rights

(Bangkok) – The Thai government’s extension of its state of emergency is an apparent pretext for violating basic rights, Human Rights Watch said today. On May 26, 2020, the government of Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha extended the draconian…
Thai Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-Ocha delivers a televised speech in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2020. 
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Policy Statement Fails to Address Major Concerns

(New York) – The new Thai government’s policy statement fails to provide a pathway for restoring respect for human rights after five years of military rule, Human Rights Watch said today. Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha will present the…
Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha arrives for a group photo with his cabinet members at the government house in Bangkok.  © 2019 Vichan Poti/Pacific Press/Sipa USA via AP Images
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Abuses Persist Five Years After Coup

Since Thailand’s military seized power on May 22, 2014, the country has faced unending repression of fundamental rights and freedoms. Five years after the coup, Thailand is nowhere near the “return to democratic, civilian rule” the National Council…
Soldiers line up for voting in general election at a polling station in Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, March 24, 2019. Nearly five years after a coup, Thailand was voting Sunday in a long-delayed election that sets a military-backed party against the populist
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Press Freedom at Risk in Deadliest Country for Journalists

The role Afghanistan’s vibrant media plays in public life represents one of the most significant changes that have taken place in the country since 2001. But that achievement is under threat, as journalists face growing intimidation and…
Policemen help Afghan journalists, victims of a second blast, in Kabul, Afghanistan April 30, 2018.
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Stacked Senate, Media Restrictions, Repressive Laws Undermine Right to Vote

(New York) – Thailand’s military government has failed to create conditions for a free and fair national election on March 24, 2019, Human Rights Watch said. The process for forming a new government, in which the junta-appointed Senate…
Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha speaks during a press conference about government's achievements at Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, Feb. 1, 2019.
News

Still No Justice for Somchai Neelapaijit and Other Victims

Fifteen years ago this week, I received a phone call in the middle of the night with the news that Somchai Neelapaijit had gone missing. At the time, Somchai was chair of Thailand’s Muslim Lawyers Association and vice-chair of the Human Rights…
A sketch of Somchai Neelapaijit.
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End Restrictions on Media, Free Expression Before Elections

(New York) – Thailand’s media commission should immediately reverse its decision to suspend broadcasting by Voice TV, Human Rights Watch said today. Taking a television station off the air, even temporarily, is unjustified censorship that will…
Thai authorities suspend broadcasting of the outspoken Voice TV for criticizing the ruling military junta.
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Fully Restore Basic Rights Ahead of February Elections

(New York) – Thailand’s junta should immediately end restrictions on the right to free expression so that credible national elections can be held on February 24, 2019, Human Rights Watch said today. On December 11, 2018, the ruling…
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