Freedom House denounces the verdict delivered by Thailand’s criminal court sentencing long-time labor rights activist and former editor of magazine Voice of Taksin, Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, to 11 years in prison and calls for his immediate release. The government must amend its laws to protect free expression in accordance with international human rights standards.
Freedom House is disappointed by the Thai criminal court’s decision to delay the verdict until January 23 in the lèse majesté trial of activist and magazine editor Somyot Prueksakasemsuk. This delay is further evidence of the restrictive environment in Thailand for freedom of expression.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights advocates from Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand received support from Freedom House, as they participated in civil society initiatives organized in light of ASEAN & East Asia Summits, held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from November 18 to November 20. They joined a number of LGBT rights advocates from the region in working to ensure that the rights of LGBT persons are part of the ongoing regional human rights dialogue, and are fully guaranteed in the now-adopted ASEAN Human Rights Declaration. Freedom House also co-hosted a symposium in Washington D.C. on November 28, which provided in-depth insights on ASEAN's Human Rights Declaration.
Freedom House urges President Obama to highlight ongoing human rights issues and to meet with civil society during his upcoming trip to Southeast Asia, which includes visits to Cambodia, Burma, and Thailand. These stops are scheduled during the President’s travel to the region November 17-20, where he will attend the East Asia Summit and meet with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Phnom Penh. It will be the first time a sitting United States President will visit Cambodia and Burma.
Lauren Galacia manages the Asia program. Prior to joining Freedom House, she oversaw the development and implementation of citizen engagement programs throughout Asia and Eurasia, with a focus on Thailand and Burma.