Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has recently made a speech at the 24th United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. In it, the Bangkok Post reports that she made the following useful point:
“Thailand has also gone through challenges to defend our democracy over the decades. The journey has not been smooth and, even today, I still have to defend democracy from undemocratic minds…”.
“We cannot and should not accept any undemocratic changes. And we must continue to support democratic values by protecting people’s rights and liberties. [She added]… “This means that those in power must not cling onto power and impose one’s will on others…”.
Regrettably, she is also reportedly met United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and engaged in some remarkable dissembling on lese majeste. She is reported to have told Pillay that “lese majeste convicts in Thailand received proper treatment like other criminal offenders.”
From our perspective, the persons currently in custody are charged with a political offence. They are certainly not common criminals as the premier implies. In addition, numerous prisoners have reported that they are harassed in jail. This on top of constitutional irregularities and the cruel treatment many of them receive through repeated refusals of bail.