Breaking the Silence: Human Rights Defenders in Southeast Asia 

Ending restrictions on freedom of expression, assembly, and association in Thailand, Myanmar, and Malaysia

Media Advisory:
Press Conference, October 6, 2017, 2 – 4 p.m. 

Government authorities and businesses throughout Southeast Asia are targeting and attempting to intimidate and obstruct human rights defenders for their activism. This region-wide pattern is affecting everything from national elections to filmmaking to the prevention of atrocity crimes, and it poses a threat to all human rights in Southeast Asia.

Fortify Rights and human rights defenders from Thailand, Myanmar, and Malaysia will share firsthand information about these trends, their implications, and what is needed to reverse the pattern. Myanmar interfaith activists and founders of Thint Myat Lo Thu Myar (Peace Seeker and Multiculturalist Movement) Zaw Zaw Latt and Pwint Phyu Latt spent months in detention in Myanmar after being wrongfully arrested for associating with Christian groups and advocating for interfaith harmony. Thai environmental activists Pornthip Hongchai and Mon Khunna from Khon Rak Ban Kerd Group will speak about how members of their group faced attacks and criminal prosecutions for opposing the alleged environmental and health impacts of a mining operation in Thailand’s Loei Province. Fortify Rights’ Malaysia Human Rights Specialist Henry Koh will give an overview of similar restrictions faced by activists in Malaysia, including through censorship of media. Fortify Rights Human Rights Specialists from Thailand and Myanmar will also be on hand to share information.

The event coincides with a visit to Thailand by United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression David Kaye. The event will take place at 2 p.m. on October 6, 2017 at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand located at the Penthouse, Maneeya Center 518/5 Ploenchit Road, Patumwan, Bangkok 10330.

Featured speakers will be:

  • Henry Koh, Malaysia Human Rights Specialist, Fortify Rights (moderator) (Malaysia)
  • Zaw Zaw Latt, Thint Myat Lo Thu Myar (Myanmar)
  • Pwint Phyu Latt, Thint Myat Lo Thu Myar (Myanmar)
  • Pornthip Hongchai, Khon Rad Ban Kerd Group (Thailand)
  • Mon Khunna, Khon Rad Ban Kerd Group (Thailand)

U.N. Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression David Kaye will speak at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand on the evening of October 6 at an eventorganized by Forum-Asia.
For more information or to arrange one-on-one interviews, please contact:

Henry Koh, Malaysia Human Rights Specialist, Fortify Rights, +66.99.281.3888 (Malay; English); Henry.Koh@fortifyrights.org; Twitter: @henrykoh45@FortifyRights

Sutharee Wannasiri, Thailand Human Rights Specialist, Fortify Rights, +66.61.545.0524 (Thai/English), Sutharee.wannasiri@fortifyrights.org; Twitter: @SuthareeW, @FortifyRights

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