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IndustriALL calls on Thai government to stop persecuting union leader

2 September, 2021Thai police is using the Emergency Decree and the Disease Control Act to investigate the president of Textile, Garment and Leather Workers’ Federation of Thailand (TWFT), Sia Jampathong, and three labour activists, Suthila Leunkam, Tanaporn Wijan and Sriprai Nonsee, after they participated in pro-democracy rallies. 

Irregularities in Thailand’s general election in 2019, and the subsequent forced dissolution of an opposition party by the constitutional court, resulted in mass protests. The ensuing youth uprising in Mid-2020 drew international attention to the pro-democracy movement in the country.

The four labour activists were summoned by the police for speaking at rallies organized by the student movements between February and August this year. They are associated with the Labour Network for People's Rights, a network formed in 2020 to demand that the Thai government stops harassing people participating in pro-democracy protests, dissolves parliament, starts drafting a new constitution, and institutionalizes a comprehensive welfare scheme to reduce class inequality.

The labour network has also joined students in criticizing the government for mismanaging the Covid-19 pandemic and delaying the distribution of vaccines to the people.

Together with its affiliate, IndustriALL Global Union and the Confederation of Industrial Labour of Thailand (CILT) calls on Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha to stop persecuting labour activists participating in pro-democracy protests.

Prasit Prasopsuk, CILT president says:

“We condemn the government for using laws to attack labour leaders’ democratic rights. It is unacceptable that the government suppresses workers’ freedom of expression, especially the failure in managing the Covid-19 and delaying the vaccinations that has caused a large number of deaths. The harassment must end immediately.”

In a letter to the Prime Minister and Minister of Labour, IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches says:

“The Emergency Decree and the Disease Control Act are being misused to suppress people participating in pro-democracy rallies. IndustriALL calls on the government of Thailand to guarantee the right of people to participate in peaceful demonstrations, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and respect of international core labour standards.”