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HRW: Thailand 'reconciliation' proposals undermine human rights

Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Tuesday criticized the government of Thailand [press release] for granting legal immunity to officials who allegedly violated human rights during an outbreak of political violence in 2010. In the press release, HRW claimed that the Thai government's "political reconciliation" proposals advance the partisan aims of various Thai political parties at the expense of ensuring justice for the victims of government-motivated violence. HRW Asia advocacy director John Sifton [official profile] emphasized the need for the Thai government to deny immunity to alleged violators of human rights:

The violent clashes that rocked Thailand two years ago continue to affect the lives of many Thais. Those harmed in the upheavals and their families are still waiting for justice because successive governments haven't kept their promises to hold the abusers accountable. ...The reconciliation proposal is about enabling powerful people on all sides to get away with grievous crimes. Everyone wins, except the victims. ...To end Thailand's cycle of impunity, the [Thai] government should act now to bring charges against perpetrators of crimes committed during the 2010 violence, whatever their political affiliation or official position. No amnesty should be given for serious human rights abuses.
Chalerm Yubamrung, the Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, stated that the political reconciliation proposal will soon be submitted to the Thai parliament for approval.

Last year, HRW urged the Thai government to investigate crimes [JURIST report] allegedly committed by government officials during violent protests in spring 2010. HRW's report detailed the violence [press release] that resulted from the "red shirt" [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] pro-democracy movement and specifically from clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters acting under the direction of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) [party website]. According to investigations by HRW, the high death toll and injuries were the consequences of excessive and unnecessary lethal force by the government as well as deliberate attacks, aimed at inciting more violence, by armed forces of the UDD. Earlier in 2011, the "red shirt" movement petitioned [JURIST report] the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] to launch a preliminary investigation into whether the government committed crimes against humanity during the Bangkok protests.

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