UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website; JURIST news archive] on Sunday condemned [press release] the recent escalating violence in Thailand and called for a cessation of violence, asking the government to bring all responsible parties to justice. Additionally, the Secretary-General urged all parties involved to respect human rights, and to communicate openly in order to advance reform. He offered his readiness to assist in any way possible to prevent future attacks.
Thailand has been embroiled in severe political turmoil since November when protesters took to the street to contest the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra [BBC profile]. Earlier this month Thailand's Constitutional Court [official website] rejected petitions [JURIST report] filed by both the ruling and opposition parties accusing each other of attempting to overthrow the country's government during recent elections. In January Suthin Thararin, a protest leader for the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) [Facebook page], was shot to death [JURIST report] in front of the Sri Eiam Temple in Bangkok while demonstrators blocked a voting station. The shooting came just five days after the Thai government declared [JURIST report] a 60-day state of emergency, granting it broad powers to curtail the political unrest, including the ability to censor media, impose a curfew and detain suspects without charges. These powers are in addition to those granted in November when the prime minister invoked [JURIST report] a special security law known as the Internal Security Act, which conferred broader powers on police forces attempting to contain the protests.