US should explain its harsh rights report on Thailand, govt says
BANGKOK: -- THE United States has a duty to explain why it
put Thailand alongside countries experiencing the most significant human
rights setbacks in its latest human rights report, deputy government
spokesman Maj-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said yesterday.
"The assessment in its human rights report that Thailand has seriously
curbed the freedom of people is its own point of view towards the
situation in many countries. However the US should say what the basis is
and the sources of the facts that led to the assumption."
Sansern said Thailand placed the most importance on the real situation
in the country and the restoration of peace and happiness when the
National Council for Peace and Order ended the political conflict.
Now peace has returned to the Kingdom and people can travel to any place in the country without fear, he said.
He was responding to the US' 2014 human rights report released on
Thursday, which criticised the staging of the coup in 2014 and the
declaration of martial law.
It said the military government had sharply curbed freedom of speech and
press freedom and the ability for people to assemble, while also
causing more than 900 people to be temporarily detained without charge.
In the report's preface, US Secretary of State John Kerry placed
Thailand alongside China, Egypt, Iran, Russia and Saudi Arabia as
countries that are stifling the development of civil society.
"The military overthrew a democratically elected government, repealed
the constitution, and severely limited civil liberties," Kerry said.
"Subsequent efforts by the military government to rewrite the country's
constitution and recast its political intuitions raised concerns about
lack of inclusivity in the process."
The report also stated that Thais no longer had the ability to change
the government in a free and fair election, while noting that the junta
had stifled academic freedom, ordered scholars not to speak to the press
and cancelled academic seminars.
The junta had also restricted press content deemed critical, leading to widespread self-censorship.
The US also mentioned what it described as abuses by government security forces and local defence volunteers in the deep South.
Other rights problems included arbitrary arrests and detentions,
overcrowded and unsanitary prisons and detention facilities, and
insufficient protection for vulnerable populations, including refugees.