UN concerned about political violence in Thailand


BANGKOK, 22 February 2014  On February 21, the United Nation’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a statement through the bangkok.ohchr.org website expressing extreme concern over violence that occurred between the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) protesters and police officers at Phan Fa Bridge during an attempt to retake political rally sites on February 18. The incident resulted in at least five fatalities and over seventy injuries, resulting in the OHCHR calling on anti-government and pro-government groups to separate themselves from armed groups and end the use of violence. The government is being called on to investigate the clash, while all sides have been urged to strictly comply with the law.

The OHCHR statement added that, although details are lacking, it seems that armed groups linked to anti-government protesters escalated violence rapidly on February 18 by using live ammunition. The statement also noted that police officers seemed to have responded with live ammunition.

The OHCHR statement expressed concern that violent clashes using lethal weapons can take place in the heart of Bangkok. The use of such weapons creates unsafe conditions for political protesters and members of the public. The OHCHR is calling on all groups to refrain from using weapons and end all forms of violence. It is also calling on anti-government and pro-government groups, as well as internal security officials to ensure the safety of citizens.