Updated: How to be right on Thailand

8 06 2010

Update: While this post reproduces the Abhisit Vejjajiva government’s statement, with no changes, when readers try to access it, this is what they get:

การเข้าถึงข้อมูลดังกล่าวนี้ ถูกระงับเป็นการชั่วคราว

โดยอาศัยอำนาจตาม

พระราชกำหนดการบริหารราชการ

ในสถานการณ์ฉุกเฉิน พ.ศ. ๒๕๔๘

ตามคำสั่งของศูนย์อำนวยการแก้ไขสถานการณ์ฉุกเฉิน

In other words, the government is blocking its own statement. How ironic. How bizarre. How Orwellian.

The following note was produced by Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and distributed was distributed to members of the international media at Abhisit Vejjajiva’s meeting with the international media a couple of weeks ago.

A reader sent us this version from here, reproduced  without any changes or comment. This is how the military-backed government wants the world to understand it and Thailand; it is the conservative script for Thailand:

24 May 2010

1. Government’s Legitimacy: The Abhisit Vejjajiva Government is “unelected” and lacks legitimacy, or come to power through dubious means with manoeuvring by the military.

* The present Government was formed through democracy, parliamentary means and in accordance with the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand.

* When the House of Representatives had to elect a new prime minister to form a new government in December 2008 after the previous one was disqualified due to electoral fraud, the majority decided to elect Mr. Abhisit – himself a seven-time elected member of Parliament – prime minister in an open, roll-call vote, over the other contender, Police General Phromnok (rtd), who was nominated by the Pheu Thai Party.

* This was done by the exact same procedures and by exactly the same House of Representatives as in the cases of his two predecessors, to whom Mr. Abhisit had earlier lost the contests to lead in forming government.

* In fact, the process is similar to the British system. It is not unusual in a democracy with a multi, party system, particularly when there is a hung parliament, that the House may decide to give a chance to form a government to a party other than the one which won the most seats but fell short of a clear majority, and that political parties may switch support from one party to another.

2. Use of “live ammunition”: The security forces used excessive forces and fired live bullets at unarmed protesters, shooting also at journalists and deploying snipers, thereby leading to casualties.

* Since the protests started on 12 March, the Government has always exercised utmost restraint and caution, trying to avoid unnecessary violence and confrontation. It has done so despite a call for more forceful measures from some part of society, so much so that some had even questioned whether the Government was capable of handling the situation.

* From the beginning, the security officers have clearly stipulated rules of engagement in accordance with international standards, including strict instructions on the use of live bullets.

When the officers started to cordon the protest areas on 13 May, their instructions were clear. Use of live bullets was limited to three situations only, namely, 1) as warning shots, 2) for self-defence so as to protest the lives of officers and the public when absolutely necessary, and 3) to shoot at clearly identified individuals armed with weapons, who might otherwise cause harm to officers and members of the public.

Also, to prevent reputation of the casualties suffered due to head-on confrontation between security officers and terrorist elements amongst the protesters on 10 April, the officers were authorised to use shotguns against armed groups and terrorist elements approaching security units, but they must only aim below the knee level.

Under no circumstance would these weapons be used on women and children. There is thus no intention to take lives or cause unnecessary harm.

* Second, it was not the case that the officers were the first to use force. The latest security officers’ operations, which started on 13 May, was to cordon off the protest areas at Ratchaprasong by setting up check points along the perimeter, with no intention of moving in. They were however attacked by armed elements, using war weapons, including M 79 grenades, hand grenades, live bullets and other weapons, and harming not only the officers but also innocent bystanders in the areas. The officers thus had to respond and they did so in accordance with the rules and instructions.

* After the protests ended, these armed elements continue to instigate incidents, including at Pathumwanaram Temple, by using weapons to attack those who tried to get out of there and obstruct officers from sending assistance to them.

* What took place at Pathumwanaram Temple was pre-meditated and reflects a well-planned counter operation on the part of the armed group who knowingly took advantage of the temple’s designation as a safe area for unarmed demonstrators, particularly, women and children and the elderly, and not least foreign journalists. This was made all the more evident by the large amount of weapons discovered in the protests area under the control of demonstrators.

3. Press freedom: The Government has imposed press censorship, blocked websites and banned community radios.

* The Government has attached great importance to freedom of the press, and the sheer size of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand alone should reflect the ease with which the media can carry out their work. Also, during the UDD protests, Thai and foreign, have been able to report on operations by security officers.

* That certain TV channels, community radios and websites have been blocked or suspended is due to the fact that those have been used to manipulate and incite hatred among people by disseminating false or distorted information.

* This is why the Prime Minister has proposed as one element in his reconciliation plan the need to ensure that the media can operate freely and constructively without being used as political tools, as had happened in recent years, including by establishing an independent regulatory body for the media. From the discussion that the Prime Minister has with the representative from media organisation, there is general consensus about the problem.

4. Thaksin’s role: The Government has alleged that the former minister has a role in inciting and providing support for the protests and acts of violence, which the latter has denied.

* It is clear to the Government that the former prime minister has played a pivotal role in the demonstrations not only by inciting people to carry out “people’s revolution”, but also by instructing UDD leaders to reject the Prime Minister’s reconciliation plan, which they had earlier agreed to in principle. As the latest events have unfolded, there are strong suspicions that Mr. Thaksin may be involved with the acts of widespread terrorist acts that have occurred in Bangkok and some other provinces. The authorities are gathering evidence that would lead to further prosecution against him in accordance with the law.

* Now it is public knowledge that he has hired an international lawer- Robert Amsterdam of Amsterdam & Peroff – who has been going around giving interviews to discredit the Government and defend Mr. Thaksin’s interests.

* Nevertheless, the fact remains that the former prime minister is a fugitive of the law. Unlike other Thais, he has refused to serve his sentence, while continuing to use the justice system, which he himself criticized as unjust, against others.

5. Urban and rural divide: The crisis in Thailand reflects the deeply rooted divisions between the urban rich and rural poor. The Government is backed by, and works for, the aristocratic elites, including the Privy Councillors. The red-shirt movement thus reflects discontentment of the general Thai public over the current state of play.

* While economic disparities exist, it is not accurate to portray Thailand’s political problem as an urban rich versus rural poor conflict, or a “class struggle”. Such rhetoric has been employed by the protest leaders to create group emotion, playing on people’s grievances and sense of justice.

* The Government well recognises the need to address the social grievances. It has been doing so through its first and second stimulus packages and other initiatives, including the income guarantee for farmers, monthly allowance for the elderly and for public health volunteers, free education and universal health care schemes, as well as capacity building programmes for the unemployed.

* The Prime Minister’s proposed reconciliation plan also includes a participatory reform process to address people’s grievances such as disparities, poverty and other social injustices in a sustainable manner. Some progress has already been made on that issue.

* Government officials, including the Prime Minister himself, have met with representatives of civil society. Eventually, it is envisaged that a special mechanism, working independently from the Government but supported by the Government agencies concerned, would be established to carry on the work on a long term basis.

6. The 2007 Constitution: The 2007 Constitution was written and handed down by the military.

* The Constitution was drafted by an assembly with public hearing being conducted in all regions of the country. It was accepted by the majority of people through a national referendum – the first one to do so.

* In fact, the present Constitution is based on the 1997 one. But the drafters had sought to correct some of what was them regarded as weaknesses of the 1997 Constitution, in particular those which had opened ways for abuse of power and political interference in independent bodies and scrutiny processes of the executive branch. The provisions with regard to ethical standards of political office holders have also been strengthened.

* Be that as it may, along the way, people may feel that there are deficiencies or provisions that pose difficulties in the administration of the state. In this regard, the issue of constitutional amendment has been discussed. In fact, the Prime Minister proposed this after last April’s riots, and he again has included this issue as part of this proposed reconciliation plan.

7. Role of the monarchy in politics: His Majesty the King has remained silent despite calls by the demonstrators for his intervention, and despite his intervention that effectively ended the crisis in 1992. Some have also alleged that His Majesty has taken sides.

* The Thai monarchy is above politics. As a constitutional monarch, His Majesty the King never takes sides or involves himself in political matters or conflict. In the past. The King has used the “moral authority” he has earned over the years to make humanitarian interventions when political conflicts pitting the government against people spiral out of control, such as that in 1992.

* In recent years, however, the monarchy has been dragged into the political conflict by different political groups. Calls for the King to intervene this time are also politically motivated, designed to draw the monarchy into the political fray. This is something that has to be prevented and stopped.

* Political problems should be addressed through political means. Rather than try to seek redress from the King every time the country finds itself with an intractable political problem, it is the Thai people’s responsibility and duty to join hand in pursing reconciliation, and rebuilding and rehabilitating what has been affected by the recent events.

8. Succession: Uncertainty associated with the issue of succession is a destabilizing factor for the Thai situation.

* The issue of royal succession is clear, both with regard to the Heir to the Throne and rules and procedures as to what will happen should the need arise. Relevant revisions in the current Constitution also lay out the specific roles of the Privy Council, National Assembly and Cabinet.

* Nevertheless, the succession is certainly a difficult issue for Thais to discuss, given what his Majesty has done for more than 60 years for the well-being of all Thai people who regard him as a father figure. It is thus normal for Thai people to be apprehensive.

9. Lèse-majesté: Issues surrounding the monarchy particularly the issue of succession are important to Thailand’s political future but they cannot be discussed due to the strict lèse-majesté law.

* Discussion the monarchy is not taboo. What is known as lèse-majesté law in Thailand has not been as obstacle to discussions, particularly academic ones, about the monarchy, including how the monarchical institution itself has continuously adapted to the changing environment over the past 700 years of its existence in the Kingdom. In fact, only two years ago, there were lively discussions at the 10th International Conference on Thai Studies held in Bangkok about the Thai monarchy and its role in Thai society.

* But of late, there have been attempts to politicize the monarchical institution to ferment divisions within the country, leading to an increase in lèse-majesté cases. The Government is aware of this and has been trying to address it, taking into account the need to protect freedom of speech.

* Admittedly, this is not easy given the sensitivity involved. There are both those who view that the law is too restrictive and those who see as too lax. In this regard, to sensitize the enforcement of the law, a special advisory panel has been set up by the Prime Minister as a mechanism to help screen and give advice to the police and public prosecutor on merits of cases related to lèse-majesté under their purview. It will take, among others, the presence of intention to harm the institution of the monarchy and the importance of people’s constitutional right to freedom of expression as important considerations. Furthermore, the panel will study and consider how to make further improvements and promote public understanding about the law with a view to reducing instances leading to lèse-majesté complaints.

10. Human rights abuses: The Government has committed abuses of people’s rights, with risk of forced detention and mistreatment of those arrested, With losses that occurred due to the security forces’ operations to disperse the protests, the case can be sent to the International Criminal Court.

* The Thai Government, in working to resolve the current situation, has always given due to respect to the principle of human rights, including civil and political rights. As a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Thailand has been transparent about the exercise of its right of derogation under the Covenant in right of the declaration of a severe emergency situation in certain parts of the country. It has also been observing the letter and the spirit of the Thai Constitution, especially those provisions dealing with freedom of expression, and emphasising as its core policy the importance of the rule of law and good governance.

* The Emergency Decree provides various safeguards against human rights abuses.

For example, with regard to detention, Section 12 of the Decree stipulates that the authorities must seek court permission before making an arrest and the arrest shall not exceed seven days. The Decree also provides that suspected persons shall not be treated as a convict, and that the court permission is required for extension of the period of thirty days. Upon the expiration of such period, if the detention is still required, the competent official shall proceed under the normal Criminal Procedure Code.

Furthermore, the Decree provides that the authorities must file a report on the arrest and detention of suspected persons for submission to the court. A copy of such report shall be deposited at the office of the competent official so that relatives of the suspected persons may access such reports for the entire duration of the detention. There is therefore no risk of disappearances.

There is also no blanket immunity provided to officers under the Emergency Decree. Under Section 17 of the Decree, an official can still be made liable for acts which the discriminatory, unreasonable, exceeds the extent of necessity or performed in bad faith. Furthermore, victims have retained the right to seek compensation under the law on liability for wrongful acts. As officials know that they can be held accountable for abuses and mistreatment, the risk of human rights abuses is minimised.

* Important, in carry out these operation, the officers – as in all other cases – abided strictly by the rules of engagement established by the Government established by the government in accordance with international standards. The operations were also conducted transparently, with members of media, both domestic and international, able to report upon the security force’s operations.

* At the same time, as made clear by the Prime Minister, the Government is open to scrutiny and stands ready to be accountable in accordance with the law. It also stands ready to cooperate with inquiries by independent agencies such as the National Human Rights Commission.

* On the suggestion of bringing the issue to the International Criminal Court, it should be amply evident that what has transpired in Thailand does not have elements that would constitute a “crime against humanity”. The situation is about maintenance of the rule of law, and the Thai legal system is adequate to bring the perpetrators of violent incidents to justice.

11. International mediation: Why does the Government not accept international intervention> Given the continued intensity of the situation, with troops firing on people, international peacekeeping forces should be dispatched to help maintain peace and protect the people.

* The Government is fully capable of handling the situation. All along, it has acted patiently, cautiously and with restraint – not because it cannot enforce the law, but because it chooses to avoid unnecessary violence.

* The situation is about maintaining the rule of law in the face of unlawful protests with armed elements using heavy weapons against officers and innocent people. In so doing, the security officers operated under strict rules of engagement that emphasise a graduated approach in taking measures from light to heavier ones, and strict rules in using live ammunition.

* Despite the international attention it has received, the situation that has occurred is a matter of Thailand’s internal affairs that the Thai people can and should resolve among ourselves. Any international intervention beyond friendly expression of concern could further complicate on-going efforts in this regard.

12. Double standards: The Government applies double standards in dealing with cases against different political groups, i.e. the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) vs. the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD). And there are also double standards in the handling of the demonstrations by the UDD as compared to those of the PAD.

* For the present Government, there is only one standard and all are equal before the law.

It recognises the frustration of some people about the pace of the cases against the PAD. But the fact is the judicial system in Thailand is independent and separate from the executive system. The Government could not interfere.

* How quickly each case proceeds depends on its complexity, which includes the number of evidence and witnesses involved. Certain cases against the PAD have already been submitted for prosecution, such as the one on intrusion into TV station. But cases like the blockade of the airport require moretime given the large number of witnesses. Likewise, some cases involving the UDD, for example, their attach on the Prime Minister’s car at the Ministry of Interior last April, remain under investigation.

* The Government has in fact asked the police and the attorney-General’s Office to expedite their work on all major cases which are of interest of the public. The Prime Minister has also instructed the police to come up with a report on the status of major cases, which include those against the PAD and UDD leaders alike.

* With regard to the operations in dealing with demonstrations, the security officials carry out their function in maintaining peace and order within the framework of the law. As opposed to the previous administration, the present Government, in declaring the use of the Internal Security Act and then the Emergency Decree, has made clear that the Cabinet would take full responsibility for the operations. The Government works closely with the police and the military. There is also a clear modus operandi. All these have enabled the officers to perform their duties with confidence

The following note was produced by Thailand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and distributed to members of the international media in Thailand. It is reproduced in full without any changes:
24 May 2010

1. Government’s Legitimacy: The Abhisit Vejjajiva Government is “unelected” and lacks legitimacy, or come to power through dubious means with manoeuvring by the military.
  • The present Government was formed through democracy, parliamentary means and in accordance with the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand.
  • When the House of Representatives had to elect a new prime minister to form a new government in December 2008 after the previous one was disqualified due to electoral fraud, the majority decided to elect Mr. Abhisit – himself a seven-time elected member of Parliament – prime minister in an open, roll-call vote, over the other contender, Police General Phromnok (rtd), who was nominated by the Pheu Thai Party.
  • This was done by the exact same procedures and by exactly the same House of Representatives as in the cases of his two predecessors, to whom Mr. Abhisit had earlier lost the contests to lead in forming government.
  • In fact, the process is similar to the British system. It is not unusual in a democracy with a multi, party system, particularly when there is a hung parliament, that the House may decide to give a chance to form a government to a party other than the one which won the most seats but fell short of a clear majority, and that political parties may switch support from one party to another.
2. Use of “live ammunition”: The security forces used excessive forces and fired live bullets at unarmed protesters, shooting also at journalists and deploying snipers, thereby leading to casualties.
  • Since the protests started on 12 March, the Government has always exercised utmost restraint and caution, trying to avoid unnecessary violence and confrontation. It has done so despite a call for more forceful measures from some part of society, so much so that some had even questioned whether the Government was capable of handling the situation.
  • From the beginning, the security officers have clearly stipulated rules of engagement in accordance with international standards, including strict instructions on the use of live bullets.
    When the officers started to cordon the protest areas on 13 May, their instructions were clear. Use of live bullets was limited to three situations only, namely, 1) as warning shots, 2) for self-defence so as to protest the lives of officers and the public when absolutely necessary, and 3) to shoot at clearly identified individuals armed with weapons, who might otherwise cause harm to officers and members of the public.
    Also, to prevent reputation of the casualties suffered due to head-on confrontation between security officers and terrorist elements amongst the protesters on 10 April, the officers were authorised to use shotguns against armed groups and terrorist elements approaching security units, but they must only aim below the knee level.
    Under no circumstance would these weapons be used on women and children. There is thus no intention to take lives or cause unnecessary harm.
  • Second, it was not the case that the officers were the first to use force. The latest security officers’ operations, which started on 13 May, was to cordon off the protest areas at Ratchaprasong by setting up check points along the perimeter, with no intention of moving in. They were however attacked by armed elements, using war weapons, including M 79 grenades, hand grenades, live bullets and other weapons, and harming not only the officers but also innocent bystanders in the areas. The officers thus had to respond and they did so in accordance with the rules and instructions.
  • After the protests ended, these armed elements continue to instigate incidents, including at Pathumwanaram Temple, by using weapons to attack those who tried to get out of there and obstruct officers from sending assistance to them.
  • What took place at Pathumwanaram Temple was pre-meditated and reflects a well-planned counter operation on the part of the armed group who knowingly took advantage of the temple’s designation as a safe area for unarmed demonstrators, particularly, women and children and the elderly, and not least foreign journalists. This was made all the more evident by the large amount of weapons discovered in the protests area under the control of demonstrators.
3. Press freedom: The Government has imposed press censorship, blocked websites and banned community radios.
  • The Government has attached great importance to freedom of the press, and the sheer size of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand alone should reflect the ease with which the media can carry out their work. Also, during the UDD protests, Thai and foreign, have been able to report on operations by security officers.
  • That certain TV channels, community radios and websites have been blocked or suspended is due to the fact that those have been used to manipulate and incite hatred among people by disseminating false or distorted information.
  • This is why the Prime Minister has proposed as one element in his reconciliation plan the need to ensure that the media can operate freely and constructively without being used as political tools, as had happened in recent years, including by establishing an independent regulatory body for the media. From the discussion that the Prime Minister has with the representative from media organisation, there is general consensus about the problem.
4. Thaksin’s role: The Government has alleged that the former minister has a role in inciting and providing support for the protests and acts of violence, which the latter has denied.
  • It is clear to the Government that the former prime minister has played a pivotal role in the demonstrations not only by inciting people to carry out “people’s revolution”, but also by instructing UDD leaders to reject the Prime Minister’s reconciliation plan, which they had earlier agreed to in principle. As the latest events have unfolded, there are strong suspicions that Mr. Thaksin may be involved with the acts of widespread terrorist acts that have occurred in Bangkok and some other provinces. The authorities are gathering evidence that would lead to further prosecution against him in accordance with the law.
  • Now it is public knowledge that he has hired an international lawer- Robert Amsterdam of Amsterdam & Peroff – who has been going around giving interviews to discredit the Government and defend Mr. Thaksin’s interests.
  • Nevertheless, the fact remains that the former prime minister is a fugitive of the law. Unlike other Thais, he has refused to serve his sentence, while continuing to use the justice system, which he himself criticized as unjust, against others.
5. Urban and rural divide: The crisis in Thailand reflects the deeply rooted divisions between the urban rich and rural poor. The Government is backed by, and works for, the aristocratic elites, including the Privy Councillors. The red-shirt movement thus reflects discontentment of the general Thai public over the current state of play.
  • While economic disparities exist, it is not accurate to portray Thailand’s political problem as an urban rich versus rural poor conflict, or a “class struggle”. Such rhetoric has been employed by the protest leaders to create group emotion, playing on people’s grievances and sense of justice.
  • The Government well recognises the need to address the social grievances. It has been doing so through its first and second stimulus packages and other initiatives, including the income guarantee for farmers, monthly allowance for the elderly and for public health volunteers, free education and universal health care schemes, as well as capacity building programmes for the unemployed.
  • The Prime Minister’s proposed reconciliation plan also includes a participatory reform process to address people’s grievances such as disparities, poverty and other social injustices in a sustainable manner. Some progress has already been made on that issue.
  • Government officials, including the Prime Minister himself, have met with representatives of civil society. Eventually, it is envisaged that a special mechanism, working independently from the Government but supported by the Government agencies concerned, would be established to carry on the work on a long term basis.
6. The 2007 Constitution: The 2007 Constitution was written and handed down by the military.
  • The Constitution was drafted by an assembly with public hearing being conducted in all regions of the country. It was accepted by the majority of people through a national referendum – the first one to do so.
  • In fact, the present Constitution is based on the 1997 one. But the drafters had sought to correct some of what was them regarded as weaknesses of the 1997 Constitution, in particular those which had opened ways for abuse of power and political interference in independent bodies and scrutiny processes of the executive branch. The provisions with regard to ethical standards of political office holders have also been strengthened.
  • Be that as it may, along the way, people may feel that there are deficiencies or provisions that pose difficulties in the administration of the state. In this regard, the issue of constitutional amendment has been discussed. In fact, the Prime Minister proposed this after last April’s riots, and he again has included this issue as part of this proposed reconciliation plan.
7. Role of the monarchy in politics: His Majesty the King has remained silent despite calls by the demonstrators for his intervention, and despite his intervention that effectively ended the crisis in 1992. Some have also alleged that His Majesty has taken sides.
  • The Thai monarchy is above politics. As a constitutional monarch, His Majesty the King never takes sides or involves himself in political matters or conflict. In the past. The King has used the “moral authority” he has earned over the years to make humanitarian interventions when political conflicts pitting the government against people spiral out of control, such as that in 1992.
  • In recent years, however, the monarchy has been dragged into the political conflict by different political groups. Calls for the King to intervene this time are also politically motivated, designed to draw the monarchy into the political fray. This is something that has to be prevented and stopped.
  • Political problems should be addressed through political means. Rather than try to seek redress from the King every time the country finds itself with an intractable political problem, it is the Thai people’s responsibility and duty to join hand in pursing reconciliation, and rebuilding and rehabilitating what has been affected by the recent events.
8. Succession: Uncertainty associated with the issue of succession is a destabilizing factor for the Thai situation.
  • The issue of royal succession is clear, both with regard to the Heir to the Throne and rules and procedures as to what will happen should the need arise. Relevant revisions in the current Constitution also lay out the specific roles of the Privy Council, National Assembly and Cabinet.
  • Nevertheless, the succession is certainly a difficult issue for Thais to discuss, given what his Majesty has done for more than 60 years for the well-being of all Thai people who regard him as a father figure. It is thus normal for Thai people to be apprehensive.
9. Lèse-majesté: Issues surrounding the monarchy particularly the issue of succession are important to Thailand’s political future but they cannot be discussed due to the strict lèse-majesté law.
  • Discussion the monarchy is not taboo. What is known as lèse-majesté law in Thailand has not been as obstacle to discussions, particularly academic ones, about the monarchy, including how the monarchical institution itself has continuously adapted to the changing environment over the past 700 years of its existence in the Kingdom. In fact, only two years ago, there were lively discussions at the 10th International Conference on Thai Studies held in Bangkok about the Thai monarchy and its role in Thai society.
  • But of late, there have been attempts to politicize the monarchical institution to ferment divisions within the country, leading to an increase in lèse-majesté cases. The Government is aware of this and has been trying to address it, taking into account the need to protect freedom of speech.
  • Admittedly, this is not easy given the sensitivity involved. There are both those who view that the law is too restrictive and those who see as too lax. In this regard, to sensitize the enforcement of the law, a special advisory panel has been set up by the Prime Minister as a mechanism to help screen and give advice to the police and public prosecutor on merits of cases related to lèse-majesté under their purview. It will take, among others, the presence of intention to harm the institution of the monarchy and the importance of people’s constitutional right to freedom of expression as important considerations. Furthermore, the panel will study and consider how to make further improvements and promote public understanding about the law with a view to reducing instances leading to lèse-majesté complaints.
10. Human rights abuses: The Government has committed abuses of people’s rights, with risk of forced detention and mistreatment of those arrested, With losses that occurred due to the security forces’ operations to disperse the protests, the case can be sent to the International Criminal Court.
  • The Thai Government, in working to resolve the current situation, has always given due to respect to the principle of human rights, including civil and political rights. As a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Thailand has been transparent about the exercise of its right of derogation under the Covenant in right of the declaration of a severe emergency situation in certain parts of the country. It has also been observing the letter and the spirit of the Thai Constitution, especially those provisions dealing with freedom of expression, and emphasising as its core policy the importance of the rule of law and good governance.
  • The Emergency Decree provides various safeguards against human rights abuses.
    For example, with regard to detention, Section 12 of the Decree stipulates that the authorities must seek court permission before making an arrest and the arrest shall not exceed seven days. The Decree also provides that suspected persons shall not be treated as a convict, and that the court permission is required for extension of the period of thirty days. Upon the expiration of such period, if the detention is still required, the competent official shall proceed under the normal Criminal Procedure Code.
    Furthermore, the Decree provides that the authorities must file a report on the arrest and detention of suspected persons for submission to the court. A copy of such report shall be deposited at the office of the competent official so that relatives of the suspected persons may access such reports for the entire duration of the detention. There is therefore no risk of disappearances.
    There is also no blanket immunity provided to officers under the Emergency Decree. Under Section 17 of the Decree, an official can still be made liable for acts which the discriminatory, unreasonable, exceeds the extent of necessity or performed in bad faith. Furthermore, victims have retained the right to seek compensation under the law on liability for wrongful acts. As officials know that they can be held accountable for abuses and mistreatment, the risk of human rights abuses is minimised.
  • Important, in carry out these operation, the officers – as in all other cases – abided strictly by the rules of engagement established by the Government established by the government in accordance with international standards. The operations were also conducted transparently, with members of media, both domestic and international, able to report upon the security force’s operations.
  • At the same time, as made clear by the Prime Minister, the Government is open to scrutiny and stands ready to be accountable in accordance with the law. It also stands ready to cooperate with inquiries by independent agencies such as the National Human Rights Commission.
  • On the suggestion of bringing the issue to the International Criminal Court, it should be amply evident that what has transpired in Thailand does not have elements that would constitute a “crime against humanity”. The situation is about maintenance of the rule of law, and the Thai legal system is adequate to bring the perpetrators of violent incidents to justice.
11. International mediation: Why does the Government not accept international intervention> Given the continued intensity of the situation, with troops firing on people, international peacekeeping forces should be dispatched to help maintain peace and protect the people.
  • The Government is fully capable of handling the situation. All along, it has acted patiently, cautiously and with restraint – not because it cannot enforce the law, but because it chooses to avoid unnecessary violence.
  • The situation is about maintaining the rule of law in the face of unlawful protests with armed elements using heavy weapons against officers and innocent people. In so doing, the security officers operated under strict rules of engagement that emphasise a graduated approach in taking measures from light to heavier ones, and strict rules in using live ammunition.
  • Despite the international attention it has received, the situation that has occurred is a matter of Thailand’s internal affairs that the Thai people can and should resolve among ourselves. Any international intervention beyond friendly expression of concern could further complicate on-going efforts in this regard.
12. Double standards: The Government applies double standards in dealing with cases against different political groups, i.e. the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) vs. the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD). And there are also double standards in the handling of the demonstrations by the UDD as compared to those of the PAD.
  • For the present Government, there is only one standard and all are equal before the law.
    It recognises the frustration of some people about the pace of the cases against the PAD. But the fact is the judicial system in Thailand is independent and separate from the executive system. The Government could not interfere.
  • How quickly each case proceeds depends on its complexity, which includes the number of evidence and witnesses involved. Certain cases against the PAD have already been submitted for prosecution, such as the one on intrusion into TV station. But cases like the blockade of the airport require moretime given the large number of witnesses. Likewise, some cases involving the UDD, for example, their attach on the Prime Minister’s car at the Ministry of Interior last April, remain under investigation.
  • The Government has in fact asked the police and the attorney-General’s Office to expedite their work on all major cases which are of interest of the public. The Prime Minister has also instructed the police to come up with a report on the status of major cases, which include those against the PAD and UDD leaders alike.
  • With regard to the operations in dealing with demonstrations, the security officials carry out their function in maintaining peace and order within the framework of the law. Ad opposed to the previous administration, the present Government, in declaring the use of the Internal Security Act and then the Emergency Decree, has made clear that the Cabinet would take full responsibility for the operations. The Government works closely with the police and the military. There is also a clear modus operandi. All these have enabled the officers to perform their duties with confidence


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11 06 2010
Asia Society provides a political platform for Abhisit regime « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Asia Society provides a political platform for Abhisit regime The Abhisit Vejjajiva government has announced that it is sending out teams to “rehabilitate Thailand’s image” following the government’s crackdowns on red shirt demonstrators, resulting in thousands of deaths and injuries and hundreds of political prisoners. The regime has also told “Thailand’s friends” that they are expected to do more to “help.” We have posted on one of those efforts already. And, the government has already made the script available. […]

12 06 2010
Asia Society provides a political platform for Abhisit regime « Politicalprisonersofthailand's Blog

[…] The Abhisit Vejjajiva government has announced that it is sending out teams to “rehabilitate Thailand’s image” following the government’s crackdowns on red shirt demonstrators, resulting in thousands of deaths and injuries and hundreds of political prisoners. The regime has also told “Thailand’s friends” that they are expected to do more to “help.” We have posted on one of those efforts already. And, the government has already made the script available. […]

13 06 2010
The slide to military authoritarianism « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Two points here. First, no one should need an unnamed source to make this statement of the obvious. Second, the claim that the Abhisit government is “democratically-elected” is unworthy of a journalist who should be able to see that a government of elected members of parliament and at least one who isn’t – Suthep – doesn’t necessarily warrant this legitimizing moniker. It is, however, the one the Abhisit regime prefers. […]

13 06 2010
The slide to military authoritarianism « Politicalprisonersofthailand's Blog

[…] Two points here. First, no one should need an unnamed source to make this statement of the obvious. Second, the claim that the Abhisit government is “democratically-elected” is unworthy of a journalist who should be able to see that a government of elected members of parliament and at least one who isn’t – Suthep – doesn’t necessarily warrant this legitimizing moniker. It is, however, the one the Abhisit regime prefers. […]

16 06 2010



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