Abhisit defends human rights abuses

25 07 2010

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is again creating confusion by trying to appear “liberal” in the media while defending his government’s awful record and authoritarian regime. “Creating confusion” is a polite way of pointing to Abhisit’s penchant for perpetuating deception.

He’s cited in the media as “ready to consider a proposal that would see leg irons and chains removed from detainees held on charges in connection with the recent political violence.” We emphasize that he is “ready to consider” as if the barbaric practice of chaining detainees is something that has just come to his attention. Shackling injured red shirt detainees and chaining political prisoners with leg irons was raised in the media in May. Now the disingenuous premier might be at the stage where he is “ready to consider” the issue.

In fact, though, many of the detainees have limited access to a whole range of normal human rights and legal protections because they are charged and held by politicized institutions and under laws that are themselves political and which deprive people of their rights. As Kanit na Nakhon pointed out, these red shirt detainees “have yet to be indicted, or convicted of any crime.” He might have added that many are held under a despicable emergency law.

But what does the authoritarian Abhisit really do? Nothing. This is his style. He says that “if a proposal is submitted to him, he would relay it to the Corrections Department, which is responsible for looking after prisoners.” Well, big deal. Abhisit remains responsible for the continued negation of human rights. And he prefers it this way.

Think of how Abhisit has painted himself as a “moderate” and even an “opponent” of emergency rule. This is nothing more than spin for the media. After Anand Panyarachun said emergency rule should be lifted, Abhisit “considered,” made statements that sounded positive and so on, but now has to explain that “the government did not ignore the the National Reform Committee’s call for it to lift the emergency decree still in effect in 16 provinces.” Anand said emergency rule “would jeopardise the government’s reconciliation efforts and could breach people’s rights.” Could? It does! And it is in place to do exactly that.

So what does Abhisit now say? The “government was looking at the possibility of lifting the decree…”. That sounds very much like his “willingness” to “consider” the situation of leg irons and shackled red shirts.

But he goes further, apparently defending emergency rule when he “dismissed claims that human rights had been violated since it came into force.” Worse, he claims the “the government is doing all it can to protect people’s rights.” He even seems to criticize Anand by adding: “We’re trying to explain, but some want to create confusion…”.

There is no confusion. Abhisit and his government are responsible for a huge roll-back of rights and freedoms in Thailand. They have created a climate of fear and repression. Here we don’t refer just to the period since May 2010. PPT has written of this process since the earliest days of Abhisit’s military-backed regime. Abhisit simply lies on these matters. He is personally responsible for abuses. He puts the offending laws in place, oversees their implementation and then them.


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25 07 2010
Human rights a horror story « Political Prisoners in Thailand

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