* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Joint Statement of the Children’s Organisation Network
The current political tensions and demonstrations against the Thai government in several locations in Bangkok and other provinces have escalated into violence and resulted in the deaths of adults and children, psychological stress, disruption of life in many communities, and damage to property.
Violence, witnessed by and directly affecting children, is likely to have a significant negative impact on their long-term wellbeing. The recent bombing and shooting incidence at the demonstration site in Ying Charoen Market, Khao Saming District, in Trat province and the grenade incident in Ratchaprasong in Bangkok over this last weekend are of particular concern. These two incidents caused the deaths of four children and one adult, as well as a number of injuries. This particular targeting of innocent people including children who were not even part of the demonstrations must be condemned in no uncertain terms.
The Children’s Organisation Network, comprising more than 40 non-governmental organisations, associations, and foundations in Thailand, would like to express our heartfelt condolences to the families of these children and adult victims. For those injured, we hope for the best possible medical treatment to ensure their full recovery.
In order to prevent future violence against children, the Children’s Organisation Network makes the following demands:
- The Children’s Organisation Network condemns those involved in the violence that has led to death, injury and psychological harm. We especially condemn intentional or unintentional acts carried out by any party (government authorities, protesters or any other persons) that causes death and danger to children and young people.
- The Children’s Organisation Network urges government authorities to bring those responsible to justice. We also request government authorities, leaders of the protesters and others involved provide compensation to the families whose children have been killed, injured and affected psychologically.
- The Children’s Organisation Network strongly urges parents not to bring children to participate in the demonstrations precisely because there are no protest sites that are clearly safe for children.
- The Children’s Organisation Network requests parents to avoid bringing children to areas in or around any of the demonstration sites.
- In instances where children are found to be in demonstration sites, the Children’s Organisation Network requests demonstration leaders and parents to consider the children’s safety as their top priority. Parents should be advised to remove their children from the demonstration sites immediately.
- The Children’s Organisation Network requests the demonstration leaders not use children and youth as political pawns in their cause.
The Children’s Organisation Network requests all parties to be aware and fulfill their roles in protecting children and securing children’s safety in the ongoing political tension in order to not see any repetition of the recent horrific events.
With full commitment to humanity and human rights
The Children’s Network Organisation
26 February 2014