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Rights groups fret over Trump 

Rights groups fret over Trump 

FRIDAY, November 11, 2016

PM says it’s too early to judge the impact of us election; environmental concerns rise

THAILAND HAS nothing to fear from the protectionist policies of US President-elect Donald Trump, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha said yesterday.
“Why be afraid? We are not trading with the US only,” Prayut said. “We’ve made alliances with countries of all sizes. 
“We have to see if he [Trump] can practice what he has said. It’s necessary, yet we shouldn’t … judge domestic affairs. We have to figure our position [with the US] to handle negotiations.”
Human rights defenders and environment conservationists have expressed concerns over Trump’s political platform, which might be more lenient to the military government in Thailand. 
Trump’s policies might enforce more protection of the American market, which could have a detrimental affect on Thai exporters, and his ambiguous foreign policy is also causing uncertainty around the world, analysts said. 
Trump’s presidency would not tamper with worldwide mechanisms to counter human rights abuses, said Sunai Phasuk, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch (HRW), Thailand. 
“It would rather highlight the active role of human rights organisations, including Human Rights Watch, to nonpartisanly combat human-rights abuses around the world, including the US, if the president-elect’s policies infringe on the basic rights of the people,” he said. 
Sunai’s remark was in response to mounting concerns over the worsening human rights situation across the world following Trump’s election campaign, seen by some as exacerbating the problem.
The researcher said Trump’s team was likely to roll out divisive policies as a challenge to international human rights bodies. 
“Actually, it is the nature of Republican Party, the right-wing party, that does not place priority on human rights issues. Unfortunately, Trump also individually tends to severely infringe people’s rights,” he said. 
In addition, the relatively decreasing role of the US as a human rights and moral leader would underscore the duty of human rights organisations, he said.
In the wake of Trump’s victory, such a challenge would be met with multilateral opposition, he said.
Thai environmentalists were also concernedaboutt the new US administration, as the president-elect was a climate-change sceptic and opposed to policies aimed at mitigating climate change.
Trump has said the US would stay away from the Paris Agreement, which aims to keep the world temperature from rising more than 2 degree Celsius. He also said he would cut all federal climate budgets and would restart the coal and fossil-fuel industry in the US again.
Ecological Alert and Recovery Thailand (EARTH) director Penchom Saetang worried that the overall climate change mitigation effort would be damaged if Trump proceeds with his election promises.
Penchorm said: “The US is one of the biggest greenhouse gas producers and always had a bad reputation for disagreeing with the global climate-change mitigation effort. The US did not participate in the Kyoto Protocal, but under the Obama administration, Washington participated more in climate-change prevention and also joined the Paris Agreement.
“However under Trump’s presidency, I am afraid that the US will go back to its own standpoint and jeopardise overall efforts to rescue the world from climate change.”
She said that Trump’s intention to quit the Paris Agreement would send the wrong message to other nations.
Srisuwan Janya, president of the Stop Global Warming Association, said if the US has a negative policy towards climate-change prevention, other countries might follow the same course.
“Trump should not consider only his country’s economy. The US is a member of the world and thus it has to care about others who share the same planet,” Srisuwan said.
Meanwhile, Tara Buakhamsri, Greenpeace Thailand director, had a more optimistic view. He said environmental groups in the US were strong and Trump would find it difficult to implement his harmful policies.
“From his stance, Trump fully supports the fossil-fuel industry and aims to cut support for the environmental fund. However, I think he cannot implement his policies easily, because there are political procedures to be made by Congress and more importantly there is quite strong US environmental activism,” Tara said.