Thailand’s junta has failed to fulfill pledges to respect human rights and restore democratic rule three years after the military coup. The ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), led by Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, has instead prolonged its crackdown on basic rights and freedoms, and devised a quasi-democratic system that the military can manipulate and control, Human Rights Watch said today:
General Prayuth and the Thai military staged a coup on May 22, 2014, and created the NCPO junta. On March 31, 2015, the nation-wide enforcement of the Martial Law Act of 1914 was replaced with section 44 of the 2014 interim constitution, which allows General Prayuth as the NCPO chairman to wield power without administrative, legislative, or judicial oversight or accountability, including for human rights violations. …The new constitution, which was promulgated on March 6, 2017, ensures that NCPO members will not be held accountable for any of the many rights violations committed since taking power. …. Three years after the coup, repression against anyone openly critical of the government continues. On March 27, 2017, a government order forced Voice TV – a private station known for its criticism of military rule – off the air. Voice TV had aired stories that contradicted and disparaged information provided by military authorities about the raid on Dhammakaya Temple, the army’s killing of a teenage ethnic Lahu activist, the arrest of anti-government groups for alleged weapons possession and plotting assassinations of the prime minister and others, and the controversial construction of a casino on the Thai-Cambodian border.
“The Thai junta’s empty promises to respect rights and restore democratic rule have become some sort of a sick joke played on the Thai people and the international community,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Three years after the coup, the junta still prosecutes peaceful critics of the government, bans political activity, censors the media, and stifles free speech.”
“The new constitution whitewashes all junta rights violations, ensuring that Thai military leaders can continue to commit abuses without fear of prosecution,” Adams said.RTWT