New Democracy Movement members acknowledge the preliminary results in tear. They defied the junta's order to campaign against the draft charter.
New Democracy Movement members acknowledge the preliminary results in tear. They defied the junta's order to campaign against the draft charter.

EU, US urge end to restrictions on freedom of speech

national August 09, 2016 14:21

By The Nation

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The United States and the European Union urged the Thai junta to end restrictions on freedom of speech, to allow inclusive discussion on the new constitution after the historic referendum vote on Sunday.



Both countries acknowledged that the proposed charter was endorsed by Thais who cast their votes. 
Yet, in her statement, EU Spokesperson Federica Mogherini noted that during the campaign period, there were serious limitations to fundamental freedoms, including restrictions on debate and campaigning.
"It is essential that the current restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly are lifted to allow for an open, inclusive and accountable political process. The EU continues to call upon the Thai authorities to create the conditions for a genuine democratic transition leading to early general elections. All main stakeholders in Thailand need to engage in an inclusive dialogue and work together peacefully towards this aim," she said.
In her daily press briefing on August 8, US State Department Director Press Office Elizabeth Trudeau said the US remains concerned that the drafting process for the constitution was not inclusive, that open debate was not permitted in the run-up to its adoption. While the official results of the referendum votes are expected, the US urged Thai authorities to proceed with next steps to return Thailand to elected, civilian-led government as soon as possible. 
"As part of the process to return Thailand to democracy, we strongly urge the government to lift restrictions on civil liberties, including freedom of expression, the right to peaceful assembly, so the Thai people can engage in an open, unimpeded dialogue about the country’s political future," she said.
On the question on parliamentary seats reserved for military-chose lawmakers, she said: "So we – I think I’ve raised our concerns on the process leading up to the draft constitution. We raised concerns about it not being inclusive, not being open. And in terms of the reservation for the military seats, as I said, we continue to urge Thai authorities to return Thailand to an elected, civilian-led government as soon as possible."

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