They said Thailand's last effort to eradicate drugs, implemented in 2003 under former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, included extrajudicial killings, 'blacklisting' of suspected drug users and dealers, and forced drug 'treatment' in militarystyle facilities.
The campaign ended in nearly 3,000 lives, about half of whom had no connection to drugs, the groups said in a press statement released Tuesday.
"The 2003 war on drugs is notorious for the crimes against humanity perpetrated by Thai authorities," said Karyn Kaplan, Director of Policy and Development for Thai AIDS Treatment Action Group (TTAG).
"We are horrified that Thailand would relaunch such a disastrous government policy," Kaplan said.
In addition to gross human rights violations, the 2003 drug war seriously disrupted drug users' access to essential services, such as HIV treatment, prevention information, counseling and equipment, by driving drug users even further underground, the statement said.
"While the government has said that they will respect human rights, they have proven that they can not be trusted without creating a detailed plan of exactly how they will protect drug users." said Amanda Lugg, Health GAP Board Member.
Kriengkrai Aiemprasert, outreach worker at Ban Mit Sampan Harm Reduction Center in Bangkok, said the drug war will have "disastrous consequences for the fight against AIDS in Thailandand it will not work as a response to drug use in Thai society," said.
"The Thai Prime Minister should end the war on drugs, and promote a response to drug use based on evidence, and human rights."
"An estimated 50 per cent of drug users in Thailand are HIVpositive. HIV incidence and prevalence in Thailand has declined overall, but not among people who use drugs or other highly vulnerable groups including men who have sex with men (MSM)," the statement said.
Paisan Suwannawong, director of the Thai AIDS Treatment Action Group (TTAG) and a former intravenous drug user, said instead of effective response, "the government has pledged to crack down on drugs and told us that we should expect more murders."
"The Prime Minister, Samak Sundaravej himself said killings are 'impossible to avoid' in a drug war. This kind of message is unacceptable and, essentially, a license to kill," Paisan said.