Updated: Jurrasic Prayuth

26 10 2010

Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha appears increasingly extreme; or perhaps he is simply expressing his opinions more openly now that he seems to be the main political force outside the palace.

In the Bangkok Post, in addition to comments PPT already posted regarding the Ban Ki-moon visit, Prayuth is cited as saying quite a bit more – and it is extreme stuff: “There are only two groups of Thai people: the good and the bad, normal people and outlaws. The bad and outlaws must be prosecuted, no matter what they do, and they can later defend themselves by legal means…”.

General Prayuth also went out of his way to warn red shirts that lese majeste would be used to  prosecute them. He added that “Evidence is being collected to take legal action against people involved in such offences.” He pointed out that this was a repeat warning, adding that “some of the suspected wrongdoers were young people.”

He warned them that they will be prosecuted, affirming the royalist belief that: “All people, from their grandparents’ generation down, have been blessed by the royal institution. From past to present, Thailand has existed thanks to the royal institution and the royal institution still exists. So no matter what the political expression, do not involve the royal institution.”

Prayuth seemed perplexed by the royalist propaganda when he claimed “The world community was aware of the King’s devotion to the country and might wonder what was going on in Thailand with local movements working against the royal institution.” But he is right. There is now an awareness that the propaganda is exactly that. Not to be deterred, he affirmed that “government officials would not tolerate threats to the monarchy.”

The message is clear. The military is back in the driving seat and the monarchy is its only concern (apart from lining their pockets). The Jurassic era is back.

Update: There’s more details of the army boss’s statements at The Nation, where he is quoted thus: “”Every time there is a gathering [of the red shirts], there are posters and graffiti [against the monarchy]. Let me inform you that we now have evidence and are in the process of making arrests. Do not whine, because we have warned you many times and you are not supposed to do that.”Then, if accurately quoted, he makes this truly bizarre claim: “Thailand came into existence due to the monarchy…”. He warned: “We have [evidence] in websites, posters and graffiti. We have all the pictures and we must see when they will be persecuted.” Also see Siam Voices on this topic.

“There are only two groups of Thai people: the good and the bad, normal people and outlaws. The bad and outlaws must be prosecuted, no matter what they do, and they can later defend themselves by legal means,” he said.

Ban Ki-moon visit worries army chief

25 10 2010

In an MCOT report, it seems that army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha is worried about the visit by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Prayuth has decreed that there will be “no political gatherings are allowed in the Thai capital during the visit of  on Tuesday but representatives can instead present a letter to the UN chief.” He’s worried about red shirts demonstrating.

Delivering a letter is all that the red shirts have said that they planned to do. As mentioned in The Nation the red shirts are “preparing to petition … Ban Ki-moon over the killings of 91 people in the military crackdowns of April and May during his visit…”. Jatuporn Promphan said: “We just want to tell the UN secretary-general the truth about what happened in this country…”. They also wanted to urge the release of political prisoners in Thailand. Only about 10 representatives intended to see Mr. Ban and they “do not look for any response whatsoever from the UN chief. They just want to tell their story to the international community…”.

But the political dinosaur that he is, General Prayuth flopped back to 1960s military government-style ideas, saying “security measures have been prepared as Bangkok is still under a state of emergency.” He said that a letter could be presented, but all gatherings are banned by the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES). The army will be on standby if there are any political demonstrations. Sounding very 1960s, he said: “This is the image of Thailand. Please do not demonstrate and cause any disturbance to the public…”.

In any case, for Prayuth, the red shirts are just trouble makers. He stated that red shirts “should consider whether it is appropriate to hand in such letter as this is internal affairs and the army had strictly followed the law.” That’s the point really. The red shirts see no progress on the investigations into the murders in April and May. A full 6 months after the first deaths and the Abhsit Vejjajiva government has come up with no results at all from its so-called investigations.

And, as an aside, it is interesting that CRES and the military are making government-sounding pronouncements. Has the front of civilian leadership begun to crumble?

Alleged abuse of migrants deported from Thailand

25 10 2010

PPT draws readers’ attention to further information on policies fostered by the Abhisit Vejjajiva government that are detrimental to Burmese migrants and involve their deportation. Readers will remember our earlier posts on Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya and his statements here and here.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)has this press release from The State Enterprise Workers Relations Confederation (SERC), the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TLSC) and the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF). In the press release these organizations urge the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to “instruct related UN agencies to urgently investigate allegations of abuse committed against migrants deported from Thailand to Myanmar.” It begins:

THREE rights groups in Thailand have today called on Ban Ki-moon, the United Nation’s (UN) Secretary General, to intervene to prevent further abuse of Myanmar migrants deported from Thailand. The UN Secretary General will visit Bangkok on Tuesday as a guest of the Royal Thai Government (RTG).

The State Enterprise Workers Relations Confederation (SERC), the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TLSC) and the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) call upon the UN Secretary General to instruct related UN agencies to urgently investigate allegations of abuse committed against migrants deported from Thailand to Myanmar. The UN Secretary General should also press the RTG to ensure increased respect for migrant’s human rights and to allow UN experts to visit Thailand to assist in development of future migration policies.

SERC, TLSC and HRDF also today called upon the RTG, in advance of the UN Secretary General’s visit, to ensure transparent investigations into all migrant deportation abuse claims and punish those involved. The RTG should also urgently reconsider its migration policies more generally to ensure respect for migrant’s human rights.

Human rights violations against migrants deported from Thailand to Myanmar continue to be reported. Al-Jazeera reported how migrants deported to Myanmar are being sent to camps controlled by the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) where they must pay for their release before being smuggled or trafficked back to Thailand. The South China Morning Post (SCMP) revealed migrants are being sold to traffickers during deportations in waters between Southern Thailand and Kawthuang (Myanmar) and then returned to Thailand. Rights groups have demanded investigations into these allegations since July 2010 but no response has been evident and the abuses continue.

Read the report as it is revealing of state policies fostered under Foreign Minister Kasit.

Updated: Abhisit and foreign support

10 10 2010

Tucked away in the business section of the Bangkok Post is a little story where Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva gets gushy about how much international support he and his government have.

First, Abhisit is said to have the full support of the U.N Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. Well, actually, Ban supports “Thailand’s plan to achieve political stability.” One would hardly expect Ban to fully support political instability. Abhisit also says that Ban will visit Thailand later in the month. Maybe they can talk about human rights abuses, political prisoners, political repression, illegal arrests, Rohinga, Thailand’s support for the Burmese, the repatriation of Hmong refugees, and a few other things to boot.

Second, Abhisit is self-congratulatory: “My recent trip to foreign countries is considered successful as I have explained the situation in Thailand to foreign leaders and they have given support to the country’s effort to bring about stability. They want the see Thailand solve the problems under democratic laws…”. Well, of course they do. But he fails to tell us if the leaders believed him or whether they consider Thailand is operating under democratic laws. Indeed, is the emergency decree a “democratic law”?

Abhisit seems to be trying to convince himself of his success.

Update: Abhisit might well need to convince himself if a recent survey attributed to the Internal Security Operations Command is accurate. In the northeast it was found that “people in the area want the government to dissolve the House and call a new election. The villagers also had a negative view of the government and military, due to their role in dispersing the red shirt protesters in Bangkok. They also dislike the present prime minister and still prefer ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra.”

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