Monday, February 23, 2009

From the gutter to the sewer

*all photos copyright*

As outlined by Awzar Thi over at the Rule of Lords, Thailand's human rights reputation has been in serious decline.

Citing the The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), the main issues are:

  • Repeated overthrow of elected governments by antidemocratic forces
  • Large-scale public criminal activity not followed with investigations or prosecutions
  • Internet censorship and lese majesty witch-hunt
  • Threats to human rights defenders
  • Refoulement, murder and impunity on the high seas
The ALRC declares that these abuses indicate a 'rise of the internal-security state and decline of human rights' since the 2006 military coup d'etet.

But I dont think blame solely rests with the junta or the ultra-nationalist forces. Yes, things are much worse now, but Thailand's human right's downward spiral began with Thaksin.

Which Thi summarizes as:

"All this [the above listed offenses] and more is being put before the current sitting of the Human Rights Council. Ironically, back in 2006 before the coup Thailand tried to get a seat on the council. It failed then not because of poor diplomacy, as it claimed, but because after five years of government under Thaksin Shinawatra its rights reputation was in the gutter. It is not in the gutter any more. Now it’s in the sewer."

I couldnt agree more, Thailand's human rights reputation was already soiled by Thaksin, and what we are seeing now is simply a bad situation getting worse and worse.

And as Thailand's international reputation sinks, anti-foreign sentiment grows.

Issues like the military's persistent torture and murder in the South, PAD's lawlessness on the Bangkok streets, the Rohingya being cast off to their death in the ocean are now being discounted as some sort of foreign conspiracy to discredit Thailand international reputation.

Like the xenophobic comments by Col Manas Kongpan - regional commander of the Internal Security Operations Command - when queried about the death of the Rohingya: "They all [news reports] come from journalists who have problems with Thailand and just want to slander us,"

So instead of cleaning up a seriously disgraced human rights record and restoring international confidence in Thailand, it is easier for narrow minded xenophobes to concoct a ridiculous conspiracy theory.

And anti-foreign statements like this simply highlight the downward spiral of Thailand's international human rights reputation that was in the gutter with Thaksin, but is in the sewer with the military.

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