From Voice of America
Thailand’s junta did little in 2018 to address the country’s mounting human rights concerns, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2019. The ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has promised general elections in February 2019, but took no steps to ensure they will lead to genuine civilian democratic rule.
“With an election approaching, Thailand’s junta should fully restore democratic freedoms so that all political parties can fully and fairly participate in the electoral process,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “But so far the junta just keeps persecuting critics, banning peaceful protests, and censoring the media.”
In the 674-page World Report 2019, its 29th edition, Human Rights Watch reviewed human rights practices in more than 100 countries. In his introductory essay, Executive Director Kenneth Roth says that the populists spreading hatred and intolerance in many countries are spawning a resistance. New alliances of rights-respecting governments, often prompted and joined by civic groups and the public, are raising the cost of autocratic excess. Their successes illustrate the possibility of defending human rights – indeed, the responsibility to do so – even in darker times.
Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, as head of the NCPO, has ruled unhindered by administrative, legislative, or judicial oversight or accountability, including for serious human rights violations. The military is authorized to arrest, detain, and interrogate civilians without safeguards against abuse. At least 1,800 civilians face prosecution in military courts, which fall far short of international fair trial standards.
Read full report here.