THAI-US RELATIONS

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US hopeful referendum will bring about reconciliation: Davies

Published September 26, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/US-hopeful-referendum-will-bring-about-reconciliat-30296063.html

THAI-US RELATIONS

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was in New York yesterday to attend the 71st Regular Session of the UN General Assembly. He met with some 170 Thais to explain the government’s work over the past two years.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was in New York yesterday to attend the 71st Regular Session of the UN General Assembly. He met with some 170 Thais to explain the government’s work over the past two years.

US Ambassador to Thailand Glyn T Davies said yesterday the US’s stance on Thailand remains the same

He believes August’s referendum on the draft charter will drive the country in line with the “road map” to a return to democracy.

He said the US considered the referendum to have been carried out in a fairly free and fair manner and could plausibly bring reconciliation to the country.

He spoke after meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan yesterday.

The meeting was held in preparation for the upcoming Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting in Hawaii.

Ambassador Davies met with Prawit to discuss what was described as the strong, ongoing security cooperation between the United States and Thailand – a cornerstone of regional peace and security.

He thanked Prawit for his work in advancing the Asean-US relationship.

The ambassador also welcomed Thailand’s progress on issues like refugees, climate change and trafficking in persons, and discussed ways to enhance the two countries’ efforts in combating terrorism.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was in New York yesterday to attend the 71st Regular Session of the UN General Assembly. He met with some 170 Thais to explain the government’s work over the past two years.

He said the country was in dire need of well-rounded reform plans to lay the foundation for improved security and wealth for people.

He said there were many matters in need of reform such as education, transport, migration, human trafficking, politics, and crime fighting. The previous elected government had failed to address these issues, he added. He said he needed to rectify inequality or the problems would resurface.

There were cheers during his speech, with calls for him to remain in power. The junta chief thanked the supporters.

He said crisis created heroes, but he did not want to be considered a hero – he just wanted to play his part so his work was not wasted.

 

Upgrade of human-trafficking status ‘a sign of better ties’

Published July 18, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Upgrade-of-human-trafficking-status-a-sign-of-bett-30289607.html

THAI-US RELATIONS

Don

Don

THE UPGRADE of Thailand’s status in the United States’ Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report will pave the way for “smooth relations” between Bangkok and Washington, said Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai.

But the US maintained that the decision had no connection with its stance over political developments in Thailand and military government’s practices on human right.

“This [the report] is such a mutual recognition that I think will certainly be very much enhanced,” Don told a press briefing yesterday.

“This is also a good milestone that started with decent, clear, and transparent points.”

The US State Department announced Thursday that Thailand was classified on the Tier 2 human-trafficking watch list, a promotion from the lowest level, Tier 3, which Thailand was stuck on for two years.

“We have also cooperated closely with the US Embassy to see what we can carry on next,” Don said.

The US Ambassador Glyn T Davies said that the elevation of Thailand did not have any political implications when asked whether it could mean closer ties between the US and the junta government.

The report relates mostly to developments against human trafficking in Thailand, Davies explained during the embassy’s early celebration of US Independence Day on Thursday night.

A statement from the embassy said: “We will continue to urge the Thai government to make tangible progress in line with recommendations outlined in the 2016 TIP Report. The US government is committed to working closely with the government and the people of Thailand to address this significant challenge.”

Thai-US relations have gained diplomatic sores, notably after the US’s strong rebukes of Thailand’s human rights record.

Don called Davies to the ministry for a “scheduled meeting” a day after the Kingdom’s human rights practices were criticised in the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review in May.

Following the meeting and speaking in front of Don, Davies told the media that the junta’s intimidation of political activists and their families had raised extreme concerns about Thailand’s commitment to freedom of expression.

At yesterday’s press briefing on the TIP report, Don reiterated that it had been the government’s national agenda since April last year to tackle human trafficking as it had “zero tolerance” towards the practice of modern slavery in Thailand.

As a result, he said measures to tackle the issue had been pushed in agencies such as the Office of the Attorney General, criminal courts, the Labour Ministry, the Interior Ministry, the Department of Special Investigation as well as civil societies and non-governmental organisations.

The foreign minister hopes that the TIP elevation will enhance Thailand’s struggling illegal fishery situation so that the fisheries industry complies with the standards of the European Union, which will assign technical officers to consult with Thai authorities on the matter this month.

Myanmar, a major source of human trafficking, obtained Tier-3 status this year but Don believes that with help from Asean instruments this should not negatively affect Thailand.

The Washington-based International Labour Rights Forum and the Southeast Asia-based Fortify Rights consider the United States’ decision to upgrade Thailand in the Trafficking in Persons Report as premature.

The International Labour Rights Forum said in a statement that a letter signed by human rights-oriented organisations was sent to US Secretary of State John Kerry, saying the move would “undermine international efforts to significantly and permanently improve working conditions among migrant workers in Thailand”.

“We are very disappointed at this decision, which does not, in our view, accurately assess the situation on the ground,” said Judy Gearhart, executive director of the International Labour Rights Forum, one of the organisations that signed the letter.

Davies reiterates US concerns over rights

Published May 14, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Davies-reiterates-US-concerns-over-rights-30285843.html

THAI-US RELATIONS

Dennis Blair and Prayut

Dennis Blair and Prayut

Glyn Townsend Davies

Glyn Townsend Davies

Ambassador calls for more space for public discussion.

THE PRAYUT government yesterday remained adamant on its stance over human-rights protection and the lese majeste law while US Ambassador to Thailand Glyn Davies repeated calls for Thailand to open wider space for the public for discussion.

Davies said the junta’s intimidation of political activists and families have raised extreme concerns about Thai commitment to freedom of expression. The US is worried about the limitation of basic freedom, the right of expression as well as the right for political gathering besides the trial of civilians in a military court, he said.

Davies was speaking after his meeting with Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai at the ministry. The Thai Foreign Ministry had earlier said that Don had “invited” Davies to meet with him, but Don later claimed that the meeting was a routine one and Davies had initiated it.

The US envoy said his country has called for the Thai government to allow open discussion and free participation of the people in determining the country’s political future through the public referendum on the charter draft in August. The US wished to call and encourage Thailand to lift all restrictions on the matters, according to the envoy. The discussions lasted about 90 minutes.

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The meeting happened one day after the Thai delegation was bombarded with criticism at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva of what many Western countries consider the military-led regime’s poor rights record.

Don said that during the meeting, they discussed a variety of issues, including South China Sea and the human rights situation.

Davies clarified a recent remark by Katina Adams, US State Department spokeswoman for East Asia and the Pacific, saying she had only expressed her concerns and not condemned the lese majeste case.

Adams had criticised the arrest of Patnaree Chankij, mother of activist Sirawith Seritiwat, on lese majeste charges over her chat on social media. Patnaree’s arrest ignited international criticism over Thailand’s human-rights practices. Sirawith has been a thorn in the side of the military junta since it seized power in 2014 and has been detained several times on charges of violating the junta’s orders prohibiting political gatherings.

“These actions create a climate of intimidation and self-censorship. We are troubled by the recent arrests of individuals in connection with online postings, and the detention of Patnaree,” Adams had said.

“The arrest and harassment of activists and their family members raise serious concerns about Thailand’s adherence to its international obligation to protect freedom of expression.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday held discussions with retired US admiral Dennis Blair, regarding democracy and human-rights issues in Thailand, Deputy Government spokesman Maj-General Wera-chon Sukondhapatipak said.

Prayut hoped Blair would understand the transition period in Thailand and convey that message to policymakers in Washington, in part because Blair is the author of the book “Military Engagement: Influencing Armed Forces Worldwide to Support Democratic Transition”. The government had never arrested a person who had not violated the law.

“Thais have freedom of expression under the law as long as they don’t provoke violence or national division,” Werachon quoted Prayut as telling Blair. Blair said he understood the situation in Thailand.

Meanwhile, Deputy PM ACM Prajin Juntong met with Staffan Herrstrom, the new Swedish ambassador to Thailand. Prajin said he briefed the envoy about freedom of expression and assembly to improve his understanding of the situation. On its Facebook page, the Swedish Embassy said Herrstrom had highlighted in his meeting with Prajin the importance of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly “so that also critical voices can be heard, not least in the context of the forthcoming referendum”.

 

NCPO rebuffs US human rights report on abuses

Published May 14, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/NCPO-rebuffs-US-human-rights-report-on-abuses-30283988.html

THAI-US RELATIONS

Winthai

Winthai

State department focuses on ‘persistent’ alleged violations in the deep south.

THE NATIONAL Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has brushed aside allegations of human rights abuses in the 2015 US State Department’s report on Thailand, suggesting that its measures were restrained and aimed at protecting the majority of people’s rights.

Colonel Winthai Suvaree, the NCPO spokesman, said the annual US report on human rights in Thailand reflected a sentiment that was not different from the US position in previous years, but Thai officials in the field had not yet received significant negative feedback from the public.

He also explained that the military-led government needed extra legal powers to restore peace and order because of the political crisis prior to the May 2014 coup. In addition, he said authorities had exercised their powers in a restrained manner and the majority of people were not concerned.

Regarding the NCPO’s request for former politicians to attend “special briefing” sessions, he said, these measures were aimed at creating a better understanding and seeking cooperation, so it should not be viewed as violating human rights.

Winthai said the NCPO wanted to ensure that the majority of people’s rights were not violated and if foreign countries such as the US did not understand the Thai situation, the government would be ready to make further clarification.

The NCPO’s remarks followed the US State Department’s release of its 2015 country report on Thailand’s human rights practices, which suggested that the country’s military-led government and its interim constitution over the past year had limited civil liberties, including restrictions on freedoms of speech, assembly and the press.

The US report said: “The most persistent human rights problems were abuses by government security forces and local defence volunteers in the continuing Malay-Muslim insurgency in the southernmost provinces of Yala, Narathiwat, Pattani and one district of Songkhla.”

“The occasional excessive use of force by security forces, police and military, include harassing or abusing criminal suspects, detainees and prisoners.”

The annual US report also covers human rights practices in every country that is a United Nations member.

‘Arbitrary arrests and detentions’

On Thailand, the 2015 report said: “Other human rights problems included arbitrary arrests and detention; poor, overcrowded, and unsanitary prison and detention facilities; restrictions on freedom of expression, assembly and association. “Corruption; insufficient protection for vulnerable populations, including refugees; violence and discrimination against women; sex tourism; sexual exploitation of children; trafficking in persons. “Discrimination against persons with disabilities, minorities, hill tribe members and foreign migrant workers; child labour; and some limitations on worker rights.

“Authorities occasionally dismissed, arrested, prosecuted and convicted security force members who committed abuses. Official impunity, however, continued to be a serious problem, especially in provinces where the Emergency Decree on Public Administration in the State of Emergency and the 2008 Internal Security Act remained in effect.

“Insurgents in the southernmost provinces committed human rights abuses, including attacks on civilian targets.”

Regarding arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of life, the US report said: “Security forces at times used excessive and lethal force against criminal suspects and committed or were involved in extrajudicial, arbitrary and unlawful killings.”

“According to the Ministry of Interior’s Investigation and Legal Affairs Bureau, from October 2014 to September security forces – including police, military, and other agencies – killed 17 suspects during the arrest process, a significant decrease from the previous year.

“Several high-profile cases from 2014 remain unresolved. For example, in January 2014 unknown assailants shot and killed Suthin Thararin, a protest leader.”

In addition, there were no reports about politically motivated disappearances.

US calls again for return to democracy

Published April 1, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/US-calls-again-for-return-to-democracy-30282749.html

THAI-US RELATIONS

Sarah Sewall, the US State Department’s under-secretary for civilian security, democracy and human rights, watches as Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha shows her a diagram of the junta’s political road map during a meeting at Government House yesterday.

Sarah Sewall, the US State Department’s under-secretary for civilian security, democracy and human rights, watches as Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha shows her a diagram of the junta’s political road map during a meeting at Government House yesterday.

State department official discusses rights with Prayut.

THE UNITED STATES yesterday urged Thailand to restore democratic governance while stressing the importance of ensuring full respect is given to freedom of expression and other human rights such as fundamental liberties.

The principles are essential to securing stable and sustainable governance and institutions, said Sarah Sewall, the US under secretary for civilian security, democracy and human rights.

Sewall also highlighted the value of an inclusive peace process to finding a lasting solution to the conflict in the deep South during her visit to Songkhla province yesterday, according to a US Embassy statement.

Sewall arrived in Thailand on Friday.

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She met with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday to discuss issues of concern including human trafficking.

During that meeting, she praised the country for successfully combating human trafficking – a task which the United States and Thailand cooperate on.

Sewall based her assessment on what she observed at Songkhla’s Provincial Police Region 9 and the port in-port out control centre in Samut Sakhon province on Sunday, said deputy government spokesman Maj-General Werachon Sukondhapatipak.

Sewall was impressed by the hard work being performed by the two agencies to combat the issue sustainably, he said.

She also highlighted the Kingdom’s cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on regional irregular migration, he said, to which Prayut replied that his government had worked on the issue closely with the US and neighbouring countries.

The US Embassy said Sewall called on Thailand to continue providing protection to refugees, asylum seekers and other vulnerable people seeking a safe haven.

Werachon said Prayut reiterated that the government was following its roadmap to democracy, with a general election to be held next year.

The prime minister also told Sewall the government was working on anti-corruption campaigns, he said.

To counter concerns from human rights watchdogs, Prayut insisted that the government placed importance on protecting people’s rights and freedoms.

Prayut and Sewall also exchanged views on human rights protection, illegal fisheries, the Kingdom’s political stability and the new charter, Werachon said.

After the meeting, Sewall spoke at the US-Thai International Law Enforcement Academy, where she stressed the importance of regional cooperation in fighting crime, promoting respect for human rights and ensuring equal legal protection for everyone.

The US Embassy said the aim of Sewall’s trip was to engage senior government officials and representatives of civil society based on the 183-year-old partnership between the two countries.

 

Govt rebukes US for criticising arrests

Published January 28, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Govt-rebukes-US-for-criticising-arrests-30277535.html

THAI-US RELATIONS

Sirawit

Sirawit

THE GOVERNMENT yesterday hit back at the US State Department over its criticism of the controversial arrest of student activist Sirawit Serithiwat on Wednesday night.

Government Spokesman Maj-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the State Department should have carefully considered the facts of the matter. He said Sirawit had repeatedly violated the law and intentionally provoked the auth orities for political results.

As Sirawit had broken many laws, the authorities had no choice but to strictly enforce the law and arrest him, he explained.

“Arrest must be made whenever the suspect is found, regardless of the time. This is the standard practice,” he said.

The government spokesman warned that such a move by the US agency could adversely affect bilateral ties.

“What will your country do when security law offenders claim they have the freedom to violate the law?” Sansern said. “We don’t want this move, intentional or not, to affect the ties between the two countries that have existed for a long time.” Sirawit, better known as Ja (Sergeant) New, was apprehended by eight military officers late at night at Thammasat University’s Rangsit campus in Pathum Thani. He was charged with being involved in an illegal political gathering.

US State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner expressed concern over restrictions on human rights and fundamental freedoms in Thailand after Ja New’s arrest.

“I’ll just say we remain concerned by continued limitations on human rights and fundamental freedoms in Thailand, including undue restrictions on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. We would urge the Thai government to ensure full respect for freedom of expression and other human rights and fundamental freedoms,” he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan maintained that the arrest of Ja New was in accordance with international practice.

However, Angkhana Neelapaijit, a member of the National Human Rights Commission, said that it was improper for officials to arrive in an unmarked vehicle and make the arrest at night.

She noted that Ja New had shown no intention to escape and therefore he should not have been arrested in a way that looked like he was abducted.

Meanwhile, the Bangkok Military Court yesterday rejected a police request for the detention of a fifth student activist, Apisit Sapnapapan, who was also |wanted for the same charge as Ja New.

The court on Thursday had made the same judgement when police sought to detain Ja New and three other student activists who were also charged with being involved in an illegal political gathering.

In a related development, the United Nations called on Thai authorities yesterday to drop all charges against student activists arrested for violating a ban on political gatherings, DPA reported. “The right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression and opinion are fundamental rights and should never be regarded as a serious criminal offence,” the UN Office of the High Commission for Human Rights said.

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