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Rights Advocates Set To Press New Thai Govt


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Rights advocates set to press new govt

By Pravit Rojanaphruk

The Nation

Rights advocates put forward demands and expectations yesterday for the newly elected Pheu Thai government, with key issues ranging from ending violence in the deep South, amending the lese majeste law, finding the truth and seeking justice on what happened last April-May, to granting stateless people rights and more.

In the three southernmost provinces, challenges include granting meaningful autonomy - as Pheu Thai promised during the election campaign, protecting human-rights defenders from physical threat, and making sure no minors are detained by the Army.

"A number of youths are reportedly being detained by the Army in small [army] posts, but we don't have the exact figure," said Arachapon Nimitkulpon from the Justice for Peace Foundation. "The Internal Security Command said there will be no more detention of youths by the Army and only by the police. We hope it will be so."

Arachapon added that to restore peace in the deep South, Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha should be removed along with the commander of the Fourth Army Region.

Kwanrawee Wang-udom is a representative from the People's Information Centre, which carried out its own fact-finding on those affected by the April-May 2010 conflicts that led to at least 92 deaths. He said the Abhisit Vejjajiva government exercised power beyond justifiable levels last year and that live bullets were used from midday on April 10, despite the government's claim of using them in self-defence.

No intolerance towards truth and justice should be permitted by the new government, said Kwanrawee, adding that better compensation for victims was also needed.

A Khon Kaen-based expert on lese majeste law, David Streckfuss, said he was willing to wait and see whether the new Pheu Thai-led government was committed to reforming the law. He said the government could learn from the committee set up by the Abhisit administration to review the law.

The symposium organised yesterday by Forum Asia and other organisations, including the International Commission of Jurists, also discussed various versions of Thailand's Universal Periodic Review submitted to the United Nations, which detailed the human-rights situation in Thailand. It is to be discussed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in October.

Chulalongkorn University law lecturer Vithit Muntrabhon expressed hope that Thailand would finally ratify two major international conventions: on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and on the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (MWC). Vithit said a committee of the previous government had already decided to ratify at least the MWC.

Chaiyan Rajchagool of Payap University's Institute of Religion, Culture and Peace described the national report prepared by the government in consultation with other parties as "silly", "vacuous", and "just a waste of time".

Part of the national report stated that "Thailand has a rich history as a land of freedom and diversity". Chaiyan said the truth was far from that.

"Is Thailand a land of freedom? Is it a land of diversity? This is contrary to facts," Chaiyan said, adding that the report's claim that Thailand is committed to promoting democracy to provide an enabling environment to achieve human rights and liberty for all "is bull***t".

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-- The Nation 2011-08-09

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It might also be good to see hill-tribe peoples, who are born within Thailand often to parents born here, confirmed as being full-citizens with full rights to be here & obtain ID-cards & move about the country. This affects many people living in border-regions. :(

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It might also be good to see hill-tribe peoples, who are born within Thailand often to parents born here, confirmed as being full-citizens with full rights to be here & obtain ID-cards & move about the country. This affects many people living in border-regions. :(

... Covered at the end of the first sentence.

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"Arachapon added that to restore peace in the deep South, Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha should be removed............"

Well he hasn't had the job very long, what's the problem?

"Kwanrawee Wang-udom is a representative from the People's Information Centre said .........that live bullets were used from midday on April 10.........."

What he actually meant was "by the RTA." Their opponents were using live ammo from the start. But he can't say that, or he would be out of a job.

"......Chaiyan said, adding that the report's claim that Thailand is committed to promoting democracy to provide an enabling environment to achieve human rights and liberty for all "is bull***t"."

I've never heard of this guy before, but I like him already!

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