Photo: The Isaander
On the deteriorating health of Thai pro-democracy activists Parit ‘Penguin’ Chiwarak and Panusaya ‘Rung’ Sithijirawattanak, FORUM-ASIA Executive Director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthi said:
The Court must immediately grant bail to human rights activists Parit ‘Penguin’ Chiwarak and Panusaya ‘Rung’ Sithijirawattanak, who are facing deteriorating health issues after 47 and 32 days of hunger strike, respectively. While we note that Penguin has been sent to a public hospital to be treated, we are concerned that he remains under the custody of Thai authorities.
Parit ‘Penguin’ Chiwarak and Panusaya ‘Rung’ Sithijirawattanak are only two of the many who are facing lèse-majesté and several other charges for their role in the pro-democracy movement in Thailand. FORUM-ASIA reiterates its belief in creating an enabling environment for dissent in a democratic society.
We are gravely concerned about reports by his lawyer that Penguin’s health has gravely suffered and that he has been experiencing fatigue, dizziness and difficulties standing and was secreting black excrement. Rung has also been experiencing the effects of the hunger strike. Her condition, without any intervention from the authorities, will also worsen.
We call on the Thai government to abide by its international obligations to ensure the welfare of its political prisoners and detainees. The injustice of pre-trial detention often deprives detainees of their rights, and is often used as a form of reprisal. Penguin and Rung must not be punished for their peaceful work which has inspired generations; we reiterate our call to ensure they are able to come home to their families and receive appropriate medical treatment.
The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) is a Bangkok-based regional network of 81 member organisations across 21 Asian countries, with consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and consultative relationship with the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights. Founded in 1991, FORUM-ASIA works to strengthen movements for human rights and sustainable development through research, advocacy, capacity-development and solidarity actions in Asia and beyond. It has sub-regional offices in Geneva, Jakarta, and Kathmandu. www.forum-asia.org