[New Mandala just received this open letter marked for “immediate release”. Previous discussion of this issue is available here.]

Open Letter:

Calling for Investigation into the Intervention of the work of Amnesty International (AI) Malaysia by Members of the AI Asia-Pacific team

29 April 2011

Mr. Salil Shetty
Amnesty International (AI)
International Secretariat
1 Easton Street

Dear Mr. Shetty,

We, the members of Amnesty International (AI), human rights activists, and individuals, are writing to you to raise our serious concerns regarding the intervention by International Secretariat specifically by Mr. Benjamin Zawacki, AI Southeast Asia Researcher and Ms. Donna Guest, the Asia-Pacific Deputy Director to block the dialogue that was planned to be held by AI Malaysia on the issue of human rights violations and the case in the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Thailand.

On 23 April 2011, AI Malaysia planned to hold a dialogue with Mr. Robert Amsterdam, the lawyer representing the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship. Mr. Amsterdam had previously represented many individuals and human rights defenders including Dr. Chee Soon Juan, a Singaporean human rights defender and the Secretary-General of the Singapore Democratic Party. AI had taken action to protect Dr. Chee’s right to freedom of expression.

Mr. Amsterdam had filed a case at the ICC against Abhisit Vejajiva-led government for ordering the military crackdown in April-May 2010 which resulted in the deaths of 92 people, mostly civilians, and 2,000 people injured.

AI Malaysia received strong instructions from the International Secretariat demanding them to cancel dialogue session. The action is a clear violation on the very principle central to human rights for which is on freedom of expression and opinion, toleration of different opinions and ideas, and fighting against culture of impunity. This action further violates the core values of AI which is international solidarity, the universality and indivisibility of human rights.

By directing AI Malaysia to cancel the holding of such event, Amnesty International is taking the same approach by the Thai government in banning Mr. Amsterdam from entering Thailand, and thus violating Mr. Amsterdam the right to exercise his freedom of expression.

We, as the members of Amnesty International, human rights activists, and individuals, urgently ask you as the Secretary General to investigate the interference made by Mr. Zawacki and Ms. Guest, including the explanations for their actions. We look forward to hearing from you on the above and please acknowledge the receipt of this letter.

Yours Sincerely,

1. Boonson Ransikanbum, AI Thailand member

2. Chonrada Narawasinchai, AI Thailand member

3. Pachabedee Pumpoung, AI Thailand member

4. Panithida Phongpaew, AI Thailand member

5. Patcharee Pabua, AI Thailand member

6. Pimsiri Petchnamrob, AI Thailand member

7. Kwanravee Wangudom, AI Thailand member

8. Suluck Lamubol, AI Thailand member

9. Pokpong Lawansiri, AI Thailand member

10. Vorakorn Ruetaivanichkul, AI Thailand member

11. Orawan Raweegoon, AI Thailand member

12. Vipavadee Panyangnoi, AI Thailand member

13. Pansak Srithep, AI Thailand member

14. Ong Jing Cheng, AI Malaysia member

15. Mohd Hariszuan Jaharudin, AI Malaysia member

16. Nor Aishah, AI Malaysia member

17. Phyo Win Latt, AI Malaysia member

18. Azrul Areef, AI Malaysia member

19. Rizal Hamdan, AI Malaysia member

20. Alinsek, AI Malaysia member

21. Firdaus Samad, AI Malaysia member

22. Firdaus Zulkifli, AI Malaysia member

23. Arif Abdull, AI Malaysia member

24. Daud Mili, AI Malaysia member

25. Faisal Aziz, AI Malaysia member

26. Farha Nabiha, AI Malaysia member

27. Farhan Haziq, AI Malaysia member

28. Hui Fei, AI Malaysia member

29. Choo Chon Kai, AI Malaysia member

30. Nadia Abu Bakar, AI Malaysia member

31. Soh Sook Hwa, AI Malaysia member

32. Alip Aizar, AI Malaysia member

33. Zaki Shukor, AI Malaysia member

34. Amir Farid, AI Malaysia member

35. CJ Hinke, Freedom against Censorship Thailand

36. Pratubjit Neelaphaijit, Justice for Peace Foundation, Thailand

37. Chulasak Keawkan, human rights lawyer, Thailand

38. Dr. Jim Taylor, Senior Lecturer in Anthropology, The University of Adelaide, Australia

39. Lee Siewha, Malaysia Support Group for Democracy in Thailand

40. Adisorn Kerdmongkol, Vice President, Peace way Foundation, Thailand

41. Andrew Spooner, freelance journalist and PhD Candidate, United Kingdom

42. Lee Kyu Yung, journalist, Thailand

43. Dr. David Streckfuss, independent scholar, Thailand

44. Dr. Kengkij Kitirianglarb, Faculty of Social Science, Kasetsart University, Thailand

45. Dr. Kewin Hewison, Professor in Asian Studies, University of North Carolina

46. Dr. Tyrell Haberkorn, Department of Political and Social Change, Australian National University

47. Junya Yimprasert, Action for People’s Democracy Thailand

48. Anuthee Dejthevaporn, former Secretary-General, Student Federation of Thailand

49. Bencharat Saechua, Center for Human Rights Studies and Social Development, Mahidol University, Thailand

50. Bidhayak Das, Journalist, Thailand

51. Kriangsak Teerakowitkajorn, Lecturer, Thammasat University

52. Laura Mclennan, Teacher, Thailand

53. Palida Prakarapho, Philosophy Student, Silpakorn University

54. Patcharee Sae-eaw, human rights defender, Thailand

55. Pichate Yingkiatkun, Thai Netizen Network

56. Pipob Udommitipong, Translator/interpreter, Thailand

57. Pratchayaa Surakamchonrot, political activist, Thailand

58. Irene Xavier, Friends of Women, Malaysia

59. Adiren Pereira, Community Action Network, Malaysia

60. MaraChin Abdullah, EMPOWER, Malaysia

61. Suharuddin Adnan, Labor Resource Center, Malaysia

62. Saksith Saiyasombut, University of Hamburg, Germany

63. Jirutsun Pramualsilp, student, Thammasat University, Thailand

64. Saisamphan Ratanapredakorn, Postgraduate student, University of London

65. Teeranai Charuvastra, Postgraduate student, University of London

66. Trin Aiyara, Researcher, Thammasat University, Thailand

67. Heli Kontio, Helsinki, Finland

68. Donald Jordan, Helsinki, Finland

69. Siriluk Sriprasit, Postgraduate student, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand

70. Igor Christodoulou, United Kingdom

For more information, please contact:

Pimsiri Petchnamrob (Thailand), +6681 340 5409, [email protected]

Phyo Win Latt (Malaysia), +601-63909194, [email protected]