News / Asia

Rights Group Slams Thai Military Junta

FILE - Protesters push Thai soldiers with shields during an anti-coup demonstration in Bangkok, Thailand, May 25, 2014.
FILE - Protesters push Thai soldiers with shields during an anti-coup demonstration in Bangkok, Thailand, May 25, 2014.
VOA News

A leading human rights group says General Prayuth Chan-ocha's appointment as Thailand's prime minister "does not advance human rights or a return to democratic rule," saying widespread repression continues three months after the military seized power.

Thursday's unanimous election of the 60-year-old army chief was a foregone conclusion, since he was the only candidate for the post. Prayuth has led the junta since forcing Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's government out of power on May 22.

In a statement Friday, Human Rights Watch said the junta "continues its crackdown on those exercising their fundamental rights and freedoms and has made no genuine progress towards restoring democratic rule." 

It said the military "has enforced widespread censorship, largely banned public gatherings and other political activity, carried out hundreds of arbitrary arrests and detentions, and disregarded allegations of torture and ill-treatment."

Prayuth will step down as army chief next month.  He plans to stay in power until new elections are held in late 2015. 

Thailand has been plagued by political unrest since 2006, when former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck Shinawatra's older brother, was also ousted in a military coup. Thaksin and his sister were bitterly opposed by Bangkok's traditionalist political elite.

Thaksin, a telecommunications billionaire, has been living overseas in self-imposed exile to avoid prison on corruption charges.

The new prime minister says he wants to impose a series of political reforms aimed at restoring order, but critics see the takeover as an attempt to wipe out Thaksin's influence. 

Prayuth's election must be approved by Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej, a move that is believed to be a mere formality.

You May Like

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: US Army Turns Its Best Minds Toward Ebola

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

Dissident Venezuelan General Resurfaces in New York

Antonio Rivero has resurfaced after nearly a year in hiding, appearing at United Nations in New York More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: Anonymous
August 23, 2014 9:15 AM
It is now much safer in Thailand than it was before the coup. The mafia and thugs that used to prey on tourists in areas like Phuket are now disbanded. Travelling around Bangkok is now much safer. The military coup was necessary to rein in paid armed protesters and thugs who would not think twice about bombing crowded areas.


by: Anonymous
August 23, 2014 9:04 AM
This so called Human Rights Watch in Thailand is NOTHING but a bunch of IGNORANT group if it's not a THAKSIN paid mouthpiece. If only this ignorant group go out and ask what the people really want, I bet they will be surprised to learn that the vast majority were relieved that the military stepped in to restore order and governance.


by: Doug from: Phuket
August 23, 2014 7:35 AM
Just read the comments and was going to add mine, but no need, I agree with all but one of them. And need I say, that one negative comment is from Brian in California, he has probably never traveled outside the US and hasn't got a clue what he is talking about like most Americans. By the way I am an American, but live in Thailand and love it! I have seen no oppression or curtailment of civil rights since the coup, heck I have yet to even see any military personal except in pictures.
Before the cop, the country was on a very bad downhill slide as the various corrupt political factions struggled for control. Bribery was the only way to get anything done, it was completely out of control, but the current leadership has reversed that trend.


by: Thomas Ross from: Bangkok Thailand
August 23, 2014 6:47 AM
Where was HRW, when thousands were murdered during the time when 4 Prime Minister were from the Shin Dynasty? Woman and children murdered. Billions of Baht stolen from farmers, politicians with millions hidden in bed rooms. To whom do you report, corrupt politicians?


by: Blueblood from: Bangkok
August 23, 2014 1:22 AM
The photo attached article was something happened well before May 22, 2014. No such incident happened after the smooth, polite, bloodless coup on May 22. This is a fabricated article trying to discredit Thailand. The word 'Junta' is inappropriate in Thai situation. We are not one of those banana republics you try to make us look like one. Thailand is far ahead of many countries in terms of human rights, etc. Listen to foreigners who have lived in Thailand for some time and try not to apply your own standard to the situation you know nothing about.


by: Khnom from: Nakhon Pathom
August 22, 2014 11:51 PM
Escaped criminal who stole billions from Thailand, Thaksin, probably had this article written. This article is filled with LIES and half truths and needs a corrective retraction.
I live in Thailand and know from direct experience, every day, that the General and the Army are SAVING Thailand from a vicious political machine that has tried to own Thailand and has fought with bribes, cronyism, and armed terrorist goons all in service to Thaksin and his political machine.

This article shames VOA, shames America, shames Human Rights Watch, and simply LIES so deeply about Thailand. As a human being of this world, I DEMAND A RETRACTION AND A CORRECTIVE ARTICLE THAT TELLS THE TRUTH.

VOA has been hijacked by a billionaire tyrant terrorist. VOA's name is profoundly sullied by this release. VOA now speaks from the bottom of a toilet in shame.


by: Brian from: Bangkok
August 22, 2014 11:26 PM
Human Rights Watch has an agenda that includes tacit support for radicals under the guise of 'human rights'. Where is their criticism of the evil regimes in the Middle East, Saudi, Kuwait, Qatar etc. where women are are only possessions of their men with no rights such as the vote, right to drive. But such criticism by HRW would offend the US government who also support these regimes. HRW, you are a disgrace to your name.

In Response

by: Anonymous
August 23, 2014 9:27 AM
My thoughts exactly.


by: Brian Sumpter from: California
August 22, 2014 2:43 PM
These posters saying how great the coup is are way off base! If it is so popular, why is there no vote? This coup was just the Yellows throwing out the reds, and trying to stack the deck so the reds won't win again. Its obvious; Suthep holds large fundraisers and brags that he told Prayuth how to perform the coup, while just days ago someone protesting energy policy was arrested. Any gathering of three reds shirts is subject to arrest. They have cracked down on organized crime to a degree, so that is a bright spot.

In Response

by: Khnom from: Nakhon Pathom
August 22, 2014 11:58 PM
Brian, you have been duped by those playing on your normally good knee jerk opinions that supports democracy. What you are not told is that Thaksin and his cronies were/are the greatest threat and enemy to democracy via his strong POLITICAL MACHINE that was very near to taking over Thailand and turning it into another Cambodia, run by Thaksin's buddy, another tyrant.

You are so badly informed by outlets bought by Thaksin's billions and by the USA government, VOA etc, who want Thaksin back as their puppet ruler like Noriega was.

Thaksin and his cronies were preparing to launch a civil war with a private army armed with his war weapons. Brian, get really informed about Thailand and skip VOA's lies.


by: Ted from: Chiang Rai
August 22, 2014 12:08 PM
People really need to sit down and do the research. What has happened to Thailand since May 22 is the best thing that could have ever happened. I hope Prayuth keeps the movement steady.


by: Robert from: Bangkok
August 22, 2014 12:02 PM
In the past, the military has always kept its promises to return Thailand to democratic rule. This time will not be any different. Prayuth is taking the post temporarily until general elections.next year. Of course, there are many people, who really have no clue about Thailand, but think they know better. As far as human rights, I thing that the Human Rights Watch has nothing better to do right now. They should focus on countries where human rights are truly in peril. Not here.

The point is that this coup was necessary. It wasn't just red against yellow. Those were mostly paid protesters. Paid by the politicians (especially the Shinawatra family).In the mean time, the same politicians used cheap handouts to buy votes. They made deals and filled their pockets. Just like in the US. The real issue was that there were too many backroom deals with international conglomerates, selling Thailand piece by piece. It had to stop. The politicians were given plenty of chances to resolve their issues, but they didn't. Actually, they couldn't. Their bosses (the money behind their elections) wouldn't allow it. And it was rapidly getting out of hand.

The vast majority of the Thais welcomed this coup. Life is back to normal here, there is no military presence on the street and the sensation-seeking press has moved on.This so called 'junta' isn't what the word itself suggest. Time for the know-it-all bloggers to get on a plane and see for themselves, before copying and pasting negatively tinted 'news' about Thailand.

In Response

by: hugh from: chiang mai
August 23, 2014 9:28 AM
The Thai military will carry out a coup every 4.5 years as there never has been a civilian political solution that pleases the Bangkok Elite. One of the problems in Thailand is that all parties bribe the voters and this is not acceptable to the military. The elections in 2 years time will be held on the Chinese model, only one candidate for each electorate and that candidate will have to be carefully scrutinized and approved by the Bangkok elite. This type of election will avoid the massive voting corruption of the past. As in China, it will not be democracy which the Bangkok Elite say is not suitable for Thailand as the wrong people have usually won the elections. The coup in 1932 was partially to provide for universal suffrage but further constitutions re written soon after 1932 have struck out that provision because the one man one vote principal envisioned by the authors of the first constitution is unacceptable to the aristocracy. In that context Thailand is different to nearby countries such as Indonesia where it is permissible for a person of humble origin to be put forward for leader. Same in Singapore where the Lee family had very humble origins.

In Response

by: Anonymous
August 23, 2014 9:26 AM
Thanks for taking the time to explain the REAL scenario. I agree with you that the Human Rights Watch is now serving as a mouthpiece of the deposed dynasty.

In Response

by: David from: US
August 22, 2014 1:47 PM
thank you for explaining it much better--these news stories are so one sided..I travel to Thailand and miss it..the word "junta" just throws people off--thanks!!

Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Goghi
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid