Wikileaks: more on HRW and the coup I

31 01 2012

About a week ago PPT looked at comments made by Human Rights Watch, lese majeste and the 2006 coup.

The Wikileaks cable quoted HRW’s Sunai Phasuk regarding a lese majeste case as “unattractive” and that attending to it might damage Sunai’s work as a human rights defender. Of course, given HRW’s mission statement to stand with victims and activists to prevent discrimination [and] to uphold political freedom,” Sunai should have defended the lese majeste victim rather than mumble lame excuses.

In another post we mentioned a cable that indicated comments attributed to Sunai pro-coup and pro-army sentiments as he expressed relief at the “Thaksin’s government forced out,” and that he “had always held the military in high regard…”. Sunai seemed to throw aside human rights concerns and historical perspective in being politically partisan.

Other Wikileaks cables add further perspective to those mentioned above. In a 15 December 2006 cable, the State Department’s Eric John (to become U.S. Ambassador some time later) met with Sunai during a Bangkok visit.

Sunai is described as “one of the many activists who had reluctantly accepted the September 19 coup as the ‘only remaining option’,” but who had become “frustrated” with the failure of the interim government headed by Privy Councilor General Surayud Chulanont because it was

still inadequate in explaining just what former Prime Minister Thaksin [Shinawatra] had done that justified their coup.

That hardly sounds like someone who had “reluctantly” accepted the coup. Sunai then admits that: “The investigations into corruption were proving to be ‘too hard’.” While an interesting admission in itself, it is then stated that

HRW had encouraged the government to turn to the extra-judicial killings, primarily from the drug war of 2003, to find prosecutable offenses by the former government.

While the War on Drugs killings were a disgrace (and still haven’t been properly investigated), this sounds remarkably like HRW coaching the coup makers.

It is striking that Sunai is taking such positions even when he was skeptical that the junta-backed government was unlikely to get a “good constitution in place followed by good elections…”.

Sunai was also said to be critical of the “the government’s approach to the party dissolution cases now pending before the Constitutional Tribunal…. He believed that the case against the Democrat Party should have been dropped…”.

Sunai also revealed that the junta’s interim government had an informal mechanism for consulting civil society groups. He claimed that “[o]ne of the ministers in the PM’s office was very highly regarded and served as a liaison between the government and NGOs.”

Readers may draw their own conclusions on the propriety of such relations and revelation.

We have more cables to post on regarding HRW and political events.


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2 02 2012
Wikileaks: more on HRW and the coup II « Political Prisoners of Thailand

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