Misunderstanding Thailand’s politics

The Bangkok Post reports on an Amnesty International call for the military dictatorship “to free a group of 20 activists, mostly students, arrested for political gatherings and distributing ‘inappropriate reading material’ to people last week.”

PPT supports this call. However, we have some problems with the reported comments from AI.Amnesty

According to the report, “Amnesty International Senior Research Adviser for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Champa Patel, wrote: “These crude tactics represent the latest in series of attempts by Thai military authorities to muzzle dissent…. If a small group activists cannot hand out leaflets, then what hope is there that the rights to freedoms of expression and assembly will be respected in the run-up to the referendum?”

Quite simply, and Patel should know this, there is no hope. There never has been.

Why on earth AI should suggest that a military regime could “recover some of their much-demanded credibility on human rights, they must stop cracking down on peaceful activists and drop all charges against them,” is beyond us.

AI seems to misunderstand the basic facts of Thailand’s politics.

The situation is not complicated: the military dictatorship is a repressive regime.

That’s the starting point for any discussion of Thailand’s politics. Until this regime is booted out, nothing else really matters very much in the political sphere.

The regime is illegitimate. The draft charter is a fraud. The referendum is illegitimate and the regime is concocting a fraud on the Thai people.

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