News / Asia

    US, World Leaders Voice Concerns Over Human Rights in Thai Coup

    • Soldiers take up position at the Democracy monument after the coup was declared in Bangkok, May 22, 2014.
    • Anti-government protesters waiting at the Royal Plaza for transportation home stand behind a soldier after the coup was declared in Bangkok, May 22, 2014.
    • Anti-government protesters get ready to leave their main encampment after the coup was declared in Bangkok, May 22, 2014.
    • Thai journalists and foreign press watch the TV broadcast announcement of the coup by the Thai Armed Forces chiefs, at the press center of the Army Club, in Bangkok, May 22, 2014.
    • Anti-government protesters raise their fists as they sing the national anthem, in Bangkok, May 22, 2014.
    • Thai soldiers block a motorcade of an attendant at the Army Club shortly after the army staged a coup, May 22, 2014, in Bangkok, Thailand.
    • An armed soldier takes a position behind a military vehicle in the compound of the Army Club shortly after the military staged a coup, in Bangkok, May 22, 2014.
    • Thai soldiers guard an area where anti-government protesters come to rally, in Bangkok, May 22, 2014.
    • Barefoot Buddhist monks walk past a checkpoint near a pro-government "red shirt" supporter encampment in Nakhon Pathom province, on the outskirts of Bangkok, May 22, 2014.
    Army Stages Coup in Thailand
    VOA News
    World leaders expressed concerns about human rights and basic freedoms of the Thai people after the country’s military seized power in a coup on Thursday.

    The U.S. expressed concern for Thailand's democratic institutions and called for restraint.
     
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gestures as he speaks during a joint news conference with Mexican Foreign Secretary Jose Antonio Meade in Mexico City, May 21, 2014.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gestures as he speaks during a joint news conference with Mexican Foreign Secretary Jose Antonio Meade in Mexico City, May 21, 2014.
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    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gestures as he speaks during a joint news conference with Mexican Foreign Secretary Jose Antonio Meade in Mexico City, May 21, 2014.
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gestures as he speaks during a joint news conference with Mexican Foreign Secretary Jose Antonio Meade in Mexico City, May 21, 2014.

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the Thai military’s actions on Thursday were cause for concern and he called for the immediate restoration of a civilian government.
     
    “I am disappointed by the decision of the Thai military to suspend the constitution and take control of the government after a long period of political turmoil, and there is no justification for this military coup,” Kerry said in a statement.
     
    He also voiced his concern over reports that senior political leaders of the country's major parties had been detained and called for their release.

    In the statement, Kerry added, "I urge the restoration of civilian government immediately, a return to democracy, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, such as press freedoms. The path forward for Thailand must include early elections that reflect the will of the people."
     
    Kerry said the military coup has caused the U.S. to review military and other aid to Thailand.

    “While we value our long friendship with the Thai people, this act will have negative implications for the U.S.-Thai relationship, especially for our relationship with the Thai military,” Kerry said. “We are reviewing our military and other assistance and engagements, consistent with U.S. law.”
     
    Part of the military engagements include the U.S.-backed Carat naval drills in the Pacific that Thailand and several other countries are participating in.
     
    Under U.S. law, with limited exceptions, no U.S. foreign aid may be directed to a country whose elected head of government is deposed by military coup or a coup in which the military takes a major role.

    UN, France voice concerns

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is seriously concerned by the military takeover in Thailand, a statement from his office stated.

    In a statement, the Secretary-General appealed "for a prompt return to constitutional, civilian and  democratic rule, as well as all-inclusive dialogue that will pave the way for long-term peace and prosperity in Thailand."

    The U.N. chief's statement also urged all parties to work together, refrain from violence and respect human rights.

    Voicing deep concern, the United Nations human rights office said that martial law and military orders being imposed may infringe on fundamental freedoms, Reuters reported.

    “We remind the authorities of Thailand's obligations under international human rights law in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which strictly limit the application of emergency powers,” U.N. human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said.

    “We urge the authorities to take all necessary measures to ensure the fundamental human rights are respected,” she said.

    Thailand's army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha seized control of the government in a coup late Thursday afternoon, two days after he declared martial law, saying the military had to restore order and push through reforms to quell six months of turmoil and violence.

    French President Francois Hollande condemned the army coup and called for an immediate return to the rule of law, the French news agency AFP reported.

    Hollande called for "an immediate return to the constitutional order and for
    a vote to be organized" as well as the need "for the fundamental rights and
    freedoms of the Thai people to be respected."

    British Foreign Secretary William Hague also urged Thailand to restore a democratically elected civilian government.

    “I am extremely concerned by today's coup,” Hague said in a statement. “We look, therefore, to the authorities to set out a quick clear timetable for elections to help re-establish the democratic framework of governance.”

    Return of power urged

    Human Rights watch expressed alarm at what it called a “de facto coup.”
    A statement released by the group said the military should return power to a civilian government immediately.

    The International Federation of Journalists accused the military of crippling and trying to silence the media.

    Thailand's army told all television and radio stations in the country to halt normal programs on Thursday, VOA's Bangkok correspondent reported.

    Also, Thailand's currency sank Thursday after the country's military seized power, according to the AP.

    Stock markets in Asia were boosted by signs of improvement in China's manufacturing while markets elsewhere drifted.

    The Thai army chief's announcement of the coup came after the local stock market had ended its trading session. The Thai stock exchange said trading would open as usual on Friday.

    Elsewhere, the markets were flat.
    Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AP and AFP.
     

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Sabbir Khan from: bangkok
    May 27, 2014 6:54 AM
    Let's hope things come to normal.

    by: Anonymous
    May 24, 2014 3:58 AM
    Lol get out of my land
    In Response

    by: Fear from: Thailand
    May 25, 2014 10:55 AM
    We need our freedom back. No coup, please!

    by: chris
    May 23, 2014 7:05 PM
    when u oust the democratically elected government and chooses to not allow the majority voice have any say over the next leader or government is WRONG!!! the anti-government fraction is simply being extremely unreasonable... whatever the reasons the people mandate must be protected if not then it becomes a dictatorship maybe not now but in the future!!!

    by: Api from: Bkk, Thailand
    May 23, 2014 10:58 AM
    We don't want violation causing from Thai coup. International actions should come in and take action to Thai military immediately. These will serve our democracy and all basic freedom in Thailand. The military actions cut /slow down internet facilities, no television like before.

    by: mike from: thailand
    May 22, 2014 11:56 PM
    The international news is making this problem seem like the Military is the same as it was 40 years ago. This is a very different situation. I am a foreigner staying in Bangkok currently and I will say that the protests have been getting increasingly worse. Not to mention the fact that an m79 grenade launcher (basically an older version of the currently used m203) was used in a protest just last week! From what I have seen staying here, the thai people are much safer at the moment and the thai army has been very professional so far. The political leaders in this country absolutely need to talk without violence. The current prime minister also has been participating in acts of corruption such as using her position for personal profit!

    by: Lynn from: Thailand
    May 22, 2014 11:37 PM
    Dear Jhon Kerry and US gov...if u know what the real problems in Thailand, you may support the thai army coup but at this point u never try to learn never try to open ur eye what happen right now a lot of people had dies because they were try to protect the king and the human right of the country everybody in Thailand know who's control the red shirt groups, underground people, also assassin right now a lot of pure people was kill by them if thai army not coup so how many of pure people will die....#Think about it before u say anything #US

    by: Eve from: Thailand
    May 22, 2014 8:37 PM
    It's not the first time that they do like this. They always think the government from the vote is bad or cheating. May be they don't need the election don't let them change the law to the dictator.
    please respect my vote.
    In Response

    by: suttipong pinijpinyo from: bkk
    May 22, 2014 10:57 PM
    to respect your vote !!!! then please simply respect the laws ans rules !!!! stop try to be such an nice and innocience democratic ! and above all we are not dictatorship and we have the best king ! btw, i go to vote in every election !!!

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