Under pressure on emergency rule

4 07 2010

PPT saw Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva in a buoyant mood on Channel 9 on Sunday as he was “interviewed” by tame “journalists.” Abhisit was fronting his ludicrous PR stunt involving a phone in of “ideas,” with callers being received by some politicians, some celebrities and some students in uniform. He said that the emergency decree might be lifted in some areas and maintained in others where red shirts remain active.

In The Nation, however, a range of groups have come out to criticize the government for maintaining emergency rule. Business groups and local and international organisations are said to have “heaped pressure on the government to immediately lift the state of emergency for the sake of national reconciliation and stability…”.

Abhisit disingenuously claims that emergency rule “was still necessary” but “not because the government wanted to squeeze the opposition…”. As PPT has pointed out previously, when under pressure, Abhisit claims that he is acting to preserve the rule of law. In this instance he said the “government just wanted to implement the law effectively…”. In fact, the emergency decree allows the government to act as if it is above the law.

The International Crisis Group is cited as claiming the Abhisit government as having “persisted with this [reconciliation] plan despite having created an atmosphere of repression where the basic rights of the red-shirt group are denied by the emergency law…”. It calls for the government to “unconditionally and immediately lift the state of emergency.”

Local groups have also “denounced the government for retaining the draconian emergency measures even though the situation had calmed down enough to be controlled with regular laws. The groups included the Human Rights and Legal Assistance Centre for those affected from Political Turmoil, Human Rights Lawyers Association, Cross Cultural Foundation, Union for Civil Liberty, Campaign Committee for Human Rights, Environmental Litigation and Advocacy for the Wants, and Deep South Watch.”

They have been joined by business groups that see the state of emergency as crippling for the tourism industry. Even the usually tame Federation of Thai Industries and Thai Chamber of Commerce wanted the emergency law lifted. FTI chair stated that the “emergency law has had a detrimental effect not only on the private sector’s confidence but also on human rights…”.