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Thai flood victims file complaint against government

Victims of Thailand's flood crisis filed a complaint Thursday with Thailand's Central Administrative Court [official website] alleging that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra [BBC profile] and state agencies caused further damage during one of the countries worst floods. The complaint was issued on behalf of 352 victims [Bangkok Post report] against the prime minister, Bangkok governor and five state agencies for mishandling the response to the flood, which lasted from July through November 2011. The complaint called for individual compensation for property damage and for the government to establish a victims' fund. In total, the flooding killed approximately 600 people and affected about 2.4 million others in the country. Hundreds of thousands of people were put out of work [AFP report] as a result of the flooding and Thailand's economy took a major hit, with a reduction in tourism and production.

The Thai government has also faced international criticism for its strict laws and its human rights record. Earlier this month, Thai-born American citizen Joe Gordon was sentenced [JURIST report] to two-and-a-half years in prison after pleading guilty to violating Section 112 of the Thai Penal Code [text], which criminalizes insulting the country's royal family. The UN has condemned [JURIST report] the law, saying that the law prohibits freedom of speech. In August, the UN urged the Thai government to improve measures to combat human trafficking [JURIST report], as well as protect the rights of migrant workers. The trafficking trade in Thailand is predominantly used for sexual and labor exploitation, with child trafficking especially rampant.

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