Kiat's letter to UN OHCHR Regional Office

opinion January 29, 2014 00:00

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Kiat Sittheeamorn, Chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee, Democrat Party, wrote and submitted a letter to Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights's Southeast Asian regional office.

OHCHR Regional Office for South-East Asia

Attention: Ms. Matilda Bogner, Regional Representative

Subject: A factual account on the current people's uprising in Thailand

Dear Ms. Bogner,

With regard to the ongoing people's uprising in Thailand and various occurrences of violent incidentsduring the past three months, the Democrat Party of Thailand deems it necessary to explain to the domestic and the international community the facts related to the violent incidents and the misconduct on the part of the government under the leadership of Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra over the past 2 years that triggered the popular protests of the people as follows:

1. The targets of violent attacks have been the members of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) and of the Student and People Network for Thailand's Reform (STR) as well as innocent protesters and volunteer guards. These violent attacks include:

1.1. Hand grenades thrown at the volunteer guards in front of the Ministry of Finance on 6December 2013.

1.2. The house of a PDRC leader, Mr. SatitWongnongtoey, was shot at.

1.3. The breaking of glass windows at the house of Miss Anchalee Paireerak, another key PDRC member.

1.4. The sniper attacks from a building close to the demonstration area near the Thai-Japanese Stadium on 26 December 2013, resulted in 2 deaths and several injuries.

1.5. On 17 January 2014, a hand grenade was thrown at the demonstrators marching along theBantadtong road behind the Supachalasai Sports Stadium and killed one demonstrator and injuredseveral innocent protestors.

1.6. Most recently, on 19 January 2014, a hand grenade was thrown at protesters gathering at the Victory Monument, causing injuries to 28 protesters including one journalist.

1.7. The Democrat Party and its key members have also been subject to the following attacks: 

 - random gunshots at the residence of Mr. Chuan Leekpai, the former Prime Minister and the Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Party on31 December 2013, 
 - gunshots at the Democrat Party's Headquarters on 13 January2014, shattering several glass panels. 
- a M26 hand grenade was thrown into the house of Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva, Leader of the Democrat Party, on 14 January 2014.

1.8 On 16 January 2014, a M26 hand grenade was thrown at the famed Suan Pakkad Palace on Si Ayutthaya Road, home of Bangkok GovernorSukhumbhand Paribatra.

1.9 On 26 January 2014, Suthin Thararin, a protest leader of the PDRC, was shot dead while giving a speech in front of Sri Eiam Temple, while other 9 innocent protestors wounded.

1.10 Most recently on 29 January 2014 at 03.50 hrs, a M79 grenade launcher was used againstthe protestors at Ladprao causing one casualty and damages to vehicles nearby.

It is important to stress that intimidations and violent acts were used against the Democrat Party even before the beginning of the demonstration led by the PDRC. At more than 60 public rallies and stage-talks held by the Democrat Party during the past 2 years, members of the Red Shirts linked to 1. Pheu Thai Party often obstructed access or surrounding areas, threatening attendees and supporters and using abusive verbal attacks. Sometimes, sling shots were used against attendantsand key DP members. 

It is clear that all of the above-mentionedintimidations and violent acts against the members of PDRC, the STR or the personnel and property of the Democrat Party were solely aimed at those opposing to the government. So far, the law enforcement authorities have not been able to arrest the culprits or prevent any recurrences of such violent acts. 

2. The Pheu Thai-led Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra isallegedly the most corrupted government in the country’s history, both in terms of the numbers of projects formulated to enable systemic corruption and the amount of money concerned. A classicexample is the infamous Rice Pledging Scheme, the Pheu Thai Party’s flagship election campaign project,which has incurred unprecedented losses of more than 400 billion baht while only a handful of farmers actually reaped benefit from it. In this regard, the National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) has already pressed charges against those involved in this corruption-prone scheme. The NCCC has also started an investigation on Ms. Yingluck herself based on her involvement as the chairperson of the National Rice Committee that approved the flawed implementation plan, despite warnings from all parties including the NCCC.

3. The Pheu Thai Government, under theleadership of Ms Yingluck Shinawatra, kept onrepeating and insisting on having the mandate from the majority voters following the election victory.However, it has time and again abused its legal power, not observing the rule of law, violated several articles of the constitution and deliberately ignored the spirit and basic principle of democracy. These acts are clearly not the mandate given by the people.

The government attempted on numerous occasions to force the draft amnesty bill through the parliament to exonerate their Red Shirt supporters from all criminal charges on their violent protests in 2010 and whitewash all corruption cases of her brother, Thaksin, which violated Thai Constitution and several UN Conventions, Charters and Agreements. They also tried to amend theConstitution (B.E. 2550) concerning the compositionand qualification of the Senate to allow political parties to assert their influence on them.

This draft amendment was later ruled by the Constitutional Court as unconstitutional. Moreover, the due process in considering the draft amendment in the Parliament was also found unlawful by the Court. There wereclear evidences of some unethical and illegalelectronic voting by members of Pheu Thai Partysuch as voting on behalf of absentee colleagues.

Furthermore, the Chairman of the Parliamentdenied the rights of the 51 MPs from the opposition parties to deliberate the draft, violating Article 68 of the Constitution. After the Court’s verdict, the PheuThai Party publicly denounced the Court’s judgment. By rejecting the jurisdiction and the verdict of the Court that was established to hold the executive and legislative branches accountable, the Pheu Thai party and the government have actually violated the constitution and therefore lost the legitimacy to govern this democratic nation.

It is equally important to note that the Constitution Court judges and their families have, on several occasions, been subject to pressures and intimidations by members of the Red-Shirts linked to the government and the Pheu Thai Party.

As a result, one judge resigned from his chairmanship position, not to mention the possible adverse effect on theother judges. Even so, Yingluck still publiclyendorsed these actions and implied that it was their rights under the constitution.

In summary, all the above account of factual records show that the Government and the ruling parties have clearly been involved in a number of misconducts, violations, abuses of power & minority rights and unprecedented corruption cases.

At the same time, all violent attacks and intimidations haveprimarily been targeted against those opposing to the government’s views or actions. These are the main reasons why the people have taken to the street to protest against this Government.

Since Prime Minister Yingluck and some Cabinet Ministers have frequently and intentionally given interviews that aredistorted and sometimes the complete opposite of the truth, the Democrat Party feels obliged to issue this statement to offer more accurate accounts and ensure better understanding of the situation.

Sincerely yours,

Democrat Party of Thailand
Kiat Sittheeamorn
Chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee