The US Senate has called on the Thai government to end violence against political activists, as it introduced a resolution in support of the pro-democracy movement. 9 members of Congress introduced the resolution, including Thai-American senator Tammy Duckworth, who has previously served in the US military.
“As a Thai-American who fought to protect the right to peacefully protest here at home, I know that both the longstanding, strong relationship between the US and Thailand as well as every individual’s inalienable democratic rights are critically important to uphold and defend. Thailand is a strong partner with the US, both in terms of our shared national security priorities and economic relations, and the Thai people have a proud history of democratic reform. I urge Thai leadership to listen to the people and respect the democratic principles at the heart of the government they’ve worked so hard to form.”
A press release from the Senate says the resolution, “underscores the United States’ commitment to human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Thailand. The senators’ resolution follows recent demonstrations by Thailand’s pro-democracy movement, which have been met with violence and repression by the country’s monarchy and government.”
The resolution says the military-drafted 2017 Constitution is at the root of the problem, accusing it of eroding democracy and the protection of citizens’ rights in the Kingdom. It points out that in the 2019 election, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha managed to maintain his grip on power through the support of an unelected Senate appointed by the military. The election is seen by many independent monitoring groups as having been deeply flawed and skewed in favour of the PM and his administration.
The resolution also criticises the dissolution of the opposition party, Future Forward, saying that process too was flawed and based on spurious accusations. It also claims the Thai government has not done enough to investigate the enforced disappearances and killings of Thai political activists elsewhere in Asia.
The government’s response to the ongoing political protests has also come in for criticism, with the resolution saying it consists of, “intimidation tactics, surveillance, harassment, arrests, violence and imprisonment”, prompting UNICEF to voice concern over the risks to children attending political rallies.
Meanwhile, Senator Bob Menendez says pro-democracy activists in Thailand are only seeking what’s fair.
“Thailand’s reformers are not seeking a revolution. They are simply yearning for democratic changes to their country’s political system, for freedom of speech and assembly, and for Thailand to be a part of the community of democratic nations.”
SOURCE: Nation Thailand
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