This is the sixth post, and for now, our last, on Human Rights Watch and the events that unfolded following the 2006 coup. Wikileaks has 58 cables mentioning HRW in Thailand, the majority related to events in the South. We know the number is V, but the first one had a different title. In this post, as in the previous instances, we look at cables related to political struggles in 2010.
In a cable dated 16 February 2010, the U.S. Embassy reports on “two bombing incidents over the weekend served to further heighten anxieties in Thailand’s capital.” The cable reports on “speculation” over the source of the bombs.
This is followed by a statement that cites Sunai Phasuk from Human Rights Watch as its source:
Sunai … told us he was convinced that people connected to Thaksin [Shinawatra] were responsible for the bombs, and added that the government would definitely use the attempted attacks to try and discredit the UDD.
We would have thought that an HRW representative would have been more circumspect in voicing a personal opinion that isn’t based on any evidence.
Most especially when there were high political tensions and the bombs were being used by several sides in the political dispute to discredit others. Certainly, the People’s Alliance for Democracy and the Democrat Party were also blaming Thaksin and red shirts, again with no specific evidence. Recall that he had earlier blamed General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh – aligned with Thaksin – for earlier bombings, again with no evidence.
Whoever was responsible, pinning the blame on the red shirts permitted the Abhisit Vejjajiva government to justify limiting the rights of peaceful protesters.