THE government must not prosecute people who express views it does not agree with or who hold rallies, and it must stop trying civilians in military courts, Amnesty International has said.
After a meeting yesterday with the government deputy spokesman Maj-General Weerachon Sukhonthapatipak, Chamnan Chanruang, the chairman of Amnesty in Thailand, said the administration defended its actions that restrict people’s rights by citing the country’s troubled political divide.
“The government insisted that it acts in accordance within [appropriate] standards,” Chamnan said. “We did not argue whether it is right or wrong but we told the government that we carry out our duty to protect human rights.’’
Weerachon said the government’s objective was to seek a sustainable democracy for the country.
“We explained our actions, citing our circumstances and the context of the country,” he said. “We want Thais to understand that they do not only have rights and liberties but they also cannot violate the rights of others.’’
Weerachon cited the rights and liberties of alien workers in Thailand, saying they were protected in accordance with international standards.
He said he urged Amnesty to seek clarification from officials before jumping to conclusions.
“We are optimistic after the meeting and we hope AI Thailand will be a mechanism that helps make foreigners know Thailand correctly,’’ he said.
He said the political situation in the country was not discussed at the meeting.
Meanwhile, Election Commissioner Teerawat Terarotwit said the EC would conduct a public relations campaign on social media to educate Thais about the draft charter ahead of the referendum on the proposed constitution in July.
He said he was confident over 80 per cent of the 50 million eligible voters would cast ballots in the referendum.
The EC has also drawn up a law that aims to ensure that campaigns to reject or back the draft are carried out lawfully.