Target: Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra
Goal: Increase government protection for targeted environmental and social activists in Thailand.
The recent murder of an environmentalist in Thailand has sparked outcry among the international community and human rights groups. Prajob Nao-opas, an environmentalist who exposed the dumping of toxic waste in eastern Thailand, was shot four times while waiting at a mechanic repair shop. This is not the first targeted murder of Thai activists and the Thai government must take actions to protect its citizens.
Prajob Nao-opas was protesting the polluting of ponds in the Chachoengsao province. Several of the ponds have been filled with dangerous chemicals from industrial estates along Thailand’s eastern seaboard. After exposing this environmental hazard, Prajob Nao-opas began receiving threats and noticing that he was frequently followed and photographed by unidentified men on motorcycles. Despite reporting all of this to the police, Prajob Nao-opas received zero protection and no officials proposed any protective measures for him or his family.
There have been more than 30 human rights defenders and environmentalists that have been murdered in Thailand since 2001. However, suspects have only been found and charged in fewer than 20 percent of these murders. Police investigations into these cases have been reported to be half-hearted, inconsistent, and inefficient. Authorities have also failed to offer witness protection programs to those who witnessed the murders. This allows the witnesses to be easily intimidated into silence by suspects, therefore counteracting the efforts to prosecute those responsible. It is time for the Thai government to take a stand for activists who risk their lives while defending their communities.
Sign the petition below to urge the Thai government to increase protection for threatened activists and their families.
Dear Prime Minister Shinawatra,
Given the recent murder of environmentalist Prajob Nao-opas, I would like to encourage you to increase government protection for Thai activists. As you may know, Prajob Nao-opas was shot four times while waiting at a mechanic repair shop and died while being rushed to the hospital. Prajob Nao-opas was protesting the dumping of toxic waste in the Chachoengsao province waterways. After exposing this environmental issue, Prajob Nao-opas began receiving life threats. He reported this to the police and also reported that strange men were constantly following him. Despite his reports, no officials proposed any protective measures for him or his family.
With adequate protection services, Prajob Nao-opas’s death could have been avoided. Similarly, since 2001, there have been more than 30 human rights defenders and environmentalists that have been murdered in Thailand. However, authorities only charged suspects in fewer than 20 percent of these cases. It has been reported that police investigations surrounding these murders have been half-hearted, inconsistent, and inefficient. The Thai government must protect and defend its citizens, especially those who risk their lives defending their communities. Please consider creating protection service programs for those activists and their families who are targeted.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Suriya Thonawanik via fotopedia