March 7, 2017
As the world marks International Women’s Day, Amnesty International recognizes the work of six distinguished women human rights activists who have faced harassment, threats, imprisonment, and violence for standing up for human rights in the region.
“In Southeast Asia, there are few governments who can be proud of their human rights records, but there are countless women across the region who have braved great dangers to take a stand against injustice,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
“On this International Women’s Day this year, we want to recognize five women, from five different countries, whose heroism inspires many in the region and whose contributions to society should commended, not condemned.”
Thailand: Sirikan Charoensiri
Lawyer Sirikan Charoensiri regularly defends clients who are being investigated and prosecuted for peacefully defending human rights guaranteed by international law. She is also a leading member of Thailand’s civil society. She faces fifteen years’ imprisonment under charges of treason and violating a ban on “political” assembly of five or more persons. The charges were filed in connection with her defence of her clients, penalised for acts of peaceful protest.
Other women human rights defenders working for justice in Thailand have faced targeted criminal charges and harassment, including Pornpen Khonkachonkiet and Anchana Heemina.