Thai human rights group presses PM to drop security decree

Thai human rights group presses PM to drop security decree

[JURIST] Thailand's National Human Rights Commission [official website] said Wednesday that a security decree passed by the Cabinet Tuesday giving Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [profile] new power to deal with an insurgency in the country's Muslim south should be abolished. The group argues that the law violates United Nations human rights covenants and infringes on rights and liberties secured by Thailand's constitution. Under the decree, three southern, primarily Muslim provinces – Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat – were declared "severe emergency zones," allowing the government to impose curfews, censor news, ban public gatherings, tap phones, and hold suspects without bringing charges. Former Prime Minister and current head of the National Reconciliation Commission [organization backgrounder], Anand Panyarachun [profile] cautioned that "giving the government broader power could lead to increased violence and eventually a real crisis." Reuters has more.