Updated: Abhisit and HRW

25 01 2010

Update (26 January): Pokpong Lawansiri has an opinion piece in the Bangkok Post (26 January 2010) drawing attention to the HRW report and responding to the government’s criticism, stating, inter alia: “there is a valid case that human rights in Thailand is deteriorating and it warrants genuine attention by the government. This shall not be something to be dismissed or sidelined.”


The official government news agency, TNA (24 January 2009), has reported on Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s comments on the recent Human Rights Watch Report on Thailand (see PPT’s post here and our post on another minister’s foolish comments on HRW here ).

PPT imagines that Abhisit might be miffed about HRW’s accurate portrayal of his government’s record and Abhisit’s own inability to match government action to his own empty rhetoric. Abhisit defends his government emphasizing alleged “inaccuracies.”

Abhisit made the remarkable and patently false claim that “his government has always respected the observance of human rights as well as trying to resolve the ongoing bloody violence in the three southern provinces.” PPT has repeatedly post facts that make this statement absurd.

Even more remarkably, the prime minister makes the staggering claim that “the government has been dealing with alleged lese majeste offenders legally and prudently. In fact, PPT will shortly report on the cases of Suwicha Thakor and Darunee Charnchoensilpakul and how they need to struggle with an unfair and malicious justice system. Abhisit seems to consider his audience to be entirely gullible.

He claims that his very new “special mechanisms” will sort out any problems on these issues. We have previously commented on the lese majeste committee . And Abhisit says “I’m confident regarding the protection of human rights (in Thailand), otherwise we wouldn’t apply as a candidate for UN Human Rights Committee in which the Cabinet has already approved…”

We don’t quite know what to make of this absurd claim. In fact, the term used here is wrong, as the Human Rights Committee is “composed of 18 independent experts who are persons of high moral character and recognized competence in the field of human rights.” PPT guesses that the report means the UN’s Human Rights Council to which any UN-member country can seek election. Current Asian members are Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, Philippines, Pakistan, India and China. For some reason Abhisit seems to think that membership of the Council is not open to governments that are human rights violators. Tell that to the Chinese government.

It is reported that Vimon Kidchob, the director-general of Thailand’s Foreign Affairs Ministry’s Information Department, said the HRW report was “over-dramatised and over-generalised isolated events and failed to take into account all the facts and the many positive achievements made over the past year. As a result, it unfairly paints a biased picture, giving the wrong impression that Thailand is backsliding…” She referred to “several exaggerations.”

The prime minister and his fellow government commentators are lying, scrambling and continuing to dissemble.



3 responses

25 01 2010
PPT: Abhisit and HRW « GJBKK Blog

[…] Abhisit and HRW January 25, 2010 gjbkk Leave a comment Go to comments Political Prisoners in Thailand have a few more words here on the governments  response about the Human Rights Watch Report on […]

26 01 2010
มาร์คแถกับฮิวแมนไรท์วอทช์ « Liberal Thai

[…] by chapter 11 Abhisit and HRW January 25, 2010 ที่มา – Political Prisoners in Thailand แปลและเรียบเรียง – แชพเตอร์ […]

10 02 2010
Human rights muddle « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Readers of PPT knows that we have repeatedly pointed out that Abhisit has a penchant for PR statements that are then shown to be untrue, so we have no illusions that would suggest that we should love Abhisit as the only noble amongst a bunch of nasty, horrible politicians. Our comments on Abhisit’s odd initial comments on the HRW report are here. […]

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