A right group in Thailand was banned from releasing a report about persecution of an ethnic group by Vietnamese government on Friday not to damage bilateral relations with Vietnam.
New York based Human Rights Watch intended to publish its 33-page report outlining Vietnam's persecution of ethnic Montagnard Christians in the Central Highlands at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand. But the event was halted by Thai security forces as a measure to protect friendship and cooperation between two countries, Thailand’s police said on Friday.
"Vietnamese officials had sent a request to the Royal Thai Police to pay attention to the event," Police Colonel Pornchai Chalordet, superintendent of the Lumpini police station in Bangkok told Reuters.
The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand said the police sent it a written order which issued on behalf of the ruling military government cancelling the press conference as a dozen of the police attended near the club.
"The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand complied with the written request, which was also sent to Human Right Watch," the club said in a statement.
Despite all the efforts to halt the spread of the report, it was released on the group’s website as well as copies of it were sent to journalists via e-mail.
Human Rights Watch asks from the Vietnamese government to "end abusive policies and practices" against Montagnards as hundreds of them have been forced to flee from the country.
Minister of the Military Government, Prayuth Chan-ocha said the event had a potential to damage foreign relations.
Prayuth said on Thursday that he was not afraid of the press on the eve of a training meeting for journalists about how they can ask a question avoiding to offend Prayuth.
Human Rights Watch found the cancellation “disappointing.”
The organisation said “This action today is just the latest indication that Thailand is choosing to side with dictatorships in Asia."
Vietnamese government has not made an immediate statement about the report yet.
Cancellation of the latest event brought Thailand’s military government to the centre of the rising criticism over freedom of expression in the country since it is the third event which was forced to be cancelled in a month.