AI and the PM

11 11 2010

Long-time PPT readers will know that we have been critical of Amnesty International and its work in Thailand – or rather the work they choose to ignore. It record on lese majeste is simply abysmal, and readers can look back through our various posts on this. (For some reason – perhaps because it initially thought the case wasn’t lese majeste – AI took up the arrest and brief imprisonment of Chiranuch Premchaiporn).

For earlier critical commentary on AI and Thailand see here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Remarkably – is this an example of AI’s backdoor work on human rights? – Salil Shetty, Secretary General of AI is reported in a Thai government press release as having “paid a call on Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on the occasion of his visit to Thailand, at Thai Koo Fah Building, the Government House.”

The government says the AI “Secretary General asked the Prime Minister on issues interested by the public and media, such as the political situation, situation in the southern border provinces, situation of displaced persons fleeing from fightings in Myanmar, and lèse majesté law.” (Yep, that’s how it is written.)

It is reported that Abhisit again trotted out the usual lines, lies and all, when he “elaborated that the enforcement of lèse majesté law is based on basic principles and takes into account intentions of violators. It is not used to limit academic debates. Thailand is an open society, and respects and adheres to freedom of expression. This can be seen clearly from present political situation. Both the opposition and government have access to the media and newspapers, public television, and cable television – an event which is different from the past.” If Abhisit says this enough, maybe he’ll convince himself.

Most of the public relations release is nonsense. Siam Voices has additional commentary. PPT did a quick search of AI’s media and press pages and can find no account of the meeting with Abhisit. It is now incumbent on AI to correct the impression that the conversation was one-sided propaganda.


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16 11 2010
What AI doesn’t say about Thailand | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] AI doesn’t say about Thailand A few days ago PPT commented on Amnesty International’s high-level delegation that met with Prime Minister Abhisit […]

25 02 2011
Spooner on Amnesty International | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] earlier critical commentary on AI and Thailand, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and […]