Growing calls for govt to revoke decree

national January 24, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

PDRC threatens to sue the authorities, saying reasons for imposing measure unfounded

The government is under rising pressure as calls from the public and human-rights groups grow louder for it to scrap the imposition of the state of emergency. 
People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) leader Issara Somchai said his group would file a lawsuit to get the government to revoke the emergency decree because the protesters had not caused any violence or riots as claimed. 
At least seven rights groups have issued statements against the imposition of the state of emergency, saying there were not enough grounds for the authorities to violate people’s rights and take away their right to take legal action against officials who are given extra power. 
The Assembly for the Defence of Democracy said imposing a state of emergency increases the risk of officials abusing their power and violates basic human rights, though the government has claimed that it needs to protect the rights of voters threatened by the PDRC protesters. The group also warned state officials to resort to the principle of proportionality in exercising their power.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) yesterday also issued a statement opposing the government’s imposition of the emergency decree, saying this was not a solution and would, in reality, increase the intensity of anti-government campaigns and rallies.
The NHRC said that though there have been some violent incidents, there was no urgency and the situation did not warrant a state of emergency that empowers security officials to arrest suspects whose constitutional rights risk being breached. 
Democrat Party spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut expressed concern over the prospect of violence on Sunday when voters go to advance polls. “The government has chosen to use a severe law to handle domestic issues. It is a wrong strategy,’’ he said.
He urged caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to immediately revoke the emergency decree, saying the protesters have been holding peaceful rallies and that there was no reason for the government to clamp down on them. 
Protest leader and PDRC secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban yesterday led thousands of protesters on a march from Asoke intersection in defiance of the emergency decree. 
This was his first march since the emergency decree was declared on Wednesday. 
Pheu Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit, meanwhile, urged rights groups and the NHRC to treat the government justly, insisting that the protesters were provoking violence, laying siege to state premises, cutting water and electricity supplies and destroying state assets. 
He cited the case of the protesters removing the sign at the Royal Thai Police headquarters. 
“If there is no law and order, the country will be seen as a failed state,’’ he said. 

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