Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Coup in Thailand threatens Human Rights

Gen. Sondhi Boonyaratkalin who led a bloodless coup in Thailand has promised to restore democracy to the people. However, the fact that the 1997 constitution has been revoked implies that this "democratization" could take a while. It is interesting to note how human rights activists in Thailand have reacted to this coup. Although Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had a very poor record for protecting the fundamental human rights of his people, most activists still condemn this coup. "Thaksin's rule had seriously eroded respect for human rights in Thailand, but suspending basic rights under the constitution is not the answer," said Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch.

The accusations against Thaksin during his five year rule are varied. He had launched a 'war on drugs' in 2003 that resulted in dozens of extrajudicial executions of alleged drug dealers, none of which have been properly investigated. Security forces responded to an insurgency in the country's mostly Muslim southern provinces by committing widespread human
rights violations, including arbitrary arrests of many people.

Despite these facts it seems like many in Thailand oppose this coup. Undoubtedly, they don't support Thaksin. However, it seems that many believe a coup is not the ideal way to solve this problem. "An eye for an eye" may not be everyone's cup of tea...

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