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Urgent international mediation to prevent further violence in Thailand

Publisher International Federation for Human Rights
Publication Date 19 May 2010
Cite as International Federation for Human Rights, Urgent international mediation to prevent further violence in Thailand, 19 May 2010, available at: [accessed 1 June 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

19 May 2010

Open letter to Mr. Ban Ki-moon
Secretary General of the United Nations

Copy: The ambassadors to the United Nations Security Council

Paris-Bangkok, May 17, 2010

Subject: Urgent international mediation to prevent further violence in Thailand

Dear Mr. Secretary-General,

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its member organization in Thailand, the Union for Civil Liberty (UCL), are writing to you to seek your good offices in encouraging both sides in the current political conflict in Thailand to return to the negotiation table in good faith and arrive at a peaceful solution to the political impasse.

On 14 May, you publicly raised for the second time your concern at mounting violence in Thailand between anti-Government protesters and the authorities, and you called on all sides to resume talks and avoid further loss of life.

We welcome this statement, but would like to draw your attention to the fact that the current conflict has further escalated since May 14, resulting in heavy death toll amid a new round of government crackdown on red-shirt protesters in Bangkok. At least 31 civilians, including two medical workers, and 1 soldier are among the reported deaths. More than 230 others have been injured, including four journalists.

While some protesters are known to be armed with slingshots, homemade petrol bombs and other make-shift weapons, eyewitness accounts have confirmed that they have been met with overwhelming and disproportionate use of force by state security forces armed with far more superior weapons. Some protesters and reportedly even innocent by-standers were shot by what appeared to be snipers stationed on the roof of tall buildings. In line with the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, soldiers and state security forces must exercise utmost restraint and the use of force must be strictly proportional to the gravity of the threat. The use of lethal force can be considered lawful if, and only if, it is absolutely unavoidable in order to save lives. FIDH and UCL note with deep concern that the rules of engagement established by the government in recent days have not been clear and may be inconsistent with international standards, thus creating conditions conducive to the unlawful and unjustified use of lethal force which is occurring in the streets of Bangkok.

FIDH and UCL note that various groups have recently called for the assistance of the United Nations, including an online petition entitled "Stop the Bloodshed in Thailand" written by the Thai Labour Campaign, which is quickly garnering support among Thai citizens and beyond. [1] Therefore, our organizations call on you and the United Nations to take heed of the urgent plea by the Thai people for international mediation and to take visible steps to engage the Thai government in a serious dialogue in order to explore effective ways to de-escalate the tension and prevent further bloodshed.

Thank you for your consideration of our recommendations.

Sincerely yours,

Souhayr Belhassen
President, FIDH

Danthong Breen
Chairperson, UCL

[1] Please see the online petition at

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