Thailand Has Violated Human Rights

In a blog post at New Mandala, the human rights activist Kwanravee Wangudom has published a response to an op/ed in the Bangkok Post which asserted that the government of Thailand had not violated human rights in the violence against protesters in April and May.

Finally, the author criticizes the government rightly about its poor intelligence which made it unable to identify the “armed groups” among the demonstrators, but he nonetheless says the government is somehow justified by international human rights standards in ordering the troops to use firearms against demonstrators. This is such an oxymoron – using human rights norms to justify killing innocent people – the point is that the poor intelligence which made the government unable to identify alleged “armed groups” in the midst of the protestors, should not have been used to justify using firearms against a crowd of mainly unarmed protestors.  In other words, how would it be possible for the government to use firearms against the right targets, namely the “armed groups”? As a result, none of the slain and injured demonstrators and passersby, more than 2,000 of them, was found to have in possession any weapon. Can this justify the use of gunshots for “self-defense”? Worse, many of the victims are found to have been shot by “indiscriminate shootings” including foreign and local journalists and medic personnel who literally gave and risked their lives to save others. All of this is in serious violation of the most basic principles of humanitarian law, let alone the human rights obligations of the Thai government.