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Appeal against repression in Thailand; จดหมายประท้วงการปราบปรามในประเทศไทย

Introduction by Danielle Sabai and Pierre Rousset

June 20, 2010 -- The crackdown on the opposition in Thailand and the abuses of the regime have not been met with the solidarity response and the international condemnation that the situation requires. The regime can thus freely operate and stifle the democratic movement.

News from Thailand is alarming: hundreds of people detained for violations of the emergency decree, including children; injured people chained to their hospital beds; several assassinations of local  leaders of the Red Shirts have taken place. The country is moving deeper into an authoritarian and military regime. The elite are even considering postponing the elections for six years, thus giving Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva the possibility of leading the country for ten years against the will of the majority of Thai citizens.

Thai society is deeply unequal in every respect. The Red Shirts have expressed loud and clear their determination to fight the injustices they suffer: they express a class movement as well as one defending regional diversity, against the establishment in Bangkok.

The Red Shirt movement is not without divisions and problems. Some support the return of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, a corrupt politician. But overwhelmingly, the movement expresses the revolt of the downtrodden of society whose demands are democracy and social justice.

By demonstrating in the streets of Bangkok, the Red Shirts have only been exercising a basic right: the right to express one's political views and demands. Abhisit Vejjajiva bears full responsibility for the repression and the casualties because, rather than holding meaningful negotiations, he gambled, in vain, on the disintegration of the movement. He then used the repressive legal arsenal (accusations of conspiracy against the monarchy and of terrorism) and finally organised a bloodbath.

This appeal has two simple aims: kick-starting solidarity on the international level, and calling for the Thai regime to stop the repression against the Red Shirts and to respect fundamental freedoms.
More than a hundred university lecturers, researchers, writers, journalists, trade union and political activists and elected representatives from all regions of the world have already signed the appeal. New signatures are expected.

To sign this appeal, please email solidaritythailand@gmail.com.

* * * 

For more than two months, the Red Shirts have mobilised with decisiveness and purpose in the streets of Bangkok to support their demands of democracy and social justice.

The government led by Abhisit Vejjajiva chose to respond to these demands with violence and repression. It committed a serious violation against human rights when it authorised the use of military hardware to dissolve the demonstrations. The result was extremely serious: there were at least 89 dead and nearly 2000 wounded.

Today, democratic rights are not respected: there are 99 arrest warrants against opponents. The places where most of the detainees are held are kept secret. The government has imposed censorship on the alternative media. The penalties incurred are especially severe: from 3 to 15 years for “lese majesty” to the death penalty for “terrorism”.

The Red Shirts are being treated by the government as if they were “terrorists”. It is a complex movement, but its members are mainly ordinary poor people whose most elementary political rights –like the respect due to the result of an election—have been ignored.

The Thai government can continue to repress the Thai people freely, because its constant violations against human rights have not been confronted by international solidarity and condemnation. We make a call to all progressive and democratic organizations to demand the end of the repression and the respect of fundamental rights in Thailand; to start an international campaign to obtain the freedom of political prisoners and the end of intimidation and inculpation of the Red Shirts.

We demand from the Thai government that it raises the State of Urgency and immediately re-establishes democratic freedoms in the country; that it ends the repression against the Red Shirts and that all prisoners are freed without any delay.

To sign this appeal, email solidaritythailand@gmail.com. For additional signatures, please visit http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article17803

* * *

เป็นเวลากว่าสองเดือนที่กลุ่มคนเสื้อแดงได้รวมตัวกันประท้วงตามท้องถนน ที่กรุงเทพฯ ด้วยความมุ่งมั่นและมีเป้าหมายชัดเจน เพื่อสนับสนุนข้อเรียกร้องต่อประชาธิปไตยและความยุติธรรมด้านสังคม

รัฐบาลที่นำโดยนายอภิสิทธิ์ เวชชาชีวะเลือกที่จะตอบสนองต่อข้อเรียกร้องของพวกเขาด้วยการใช้ความรุนแรง และการปราบปราม มีการละเมิดสิทธิมนุษยชนอย่างรุนแรง โดยรัฐบาลสั่งการให้ใช้อาวุธยุทธภัณฑ์ของทหารเพื่อสลายการชุมนุม ทำให้เกิดผลลัพธ์ที่เลวร้ายอย่างยิ่ง กล่าวคือมีผู้เสียชีวิตอย่างน้อย 89 คน และเกือบ 2,000 คนบาดเจ็บ

ถึงทุกวันนี้ ยังคงไม่มีการเคารพสิทธิตามระบอบประชาธิปไตย มีการออกหมายจับกุมต่อฝ่ายตรงข้ามทางการเมือง 99 ราย มีการปกปิดที่คุมขังของผู้ถูกควบคุมตัวเป็นส่วนใหญ่ รัฐบาลได้เซ็นเซอร์การเผยแพร่สื่อทางเลือก โดยกำหนดบทลงโทษที่รุนแรงสำหรับผู้ถูกกล่าวหาว่าหมิ่นพระบรมเดชานุภาพ ที่ต้องติดคุกเป็นเวลา 3-15 ปี หรือการลงโทษฐานความผิดก่อการร้าย ซึ่งมีโทษถึงขั้นประหารชีวิต

รัฐบาลปฏิบัติกับกลุ่มเสื้อแดงราวกับเป็น “ผู้ก่อการร้าย” แม้จะเป็นขบวนการที่จัดตั้งอย่างซับซ้อน แต่สมาชิกส่วนใหญ่เป็นคนยากจนทั่วไป ในช่วงที่ผ่านมาสิทธิทางการเมืองขั้นพื้นฐานของพวกเขาถูกเพิกเฉย อย่างเช่น ผลของการเลือกตั้งที่พวกเขาไปลงคะแนนเสียง

รัฐบาลไทยสามารถกดขี่ปราบปรามเสรีภาพของคนไทยต่อไป ทั้งนี้เพราะที่ผ่านมายังไม่มีเสียงประณามจากนานาชาติต่อการละเมิดสิทธิ มนุษยชนอย่างต่อเนื่อง เราจึงขอเรียกร้องให้บรรดาองค์กรที่ก้าวหน้าและเป็นประชาธิปไตยทั้งหลาย กระตุ้นรัฐบาลไทยให้ยุติการกดขี่ปราบปรามและให้เคารพสิทธิขั้นพื้นฐานใน ประเทศไทย ควรมีการรณรงค์ระดับนานาชาติ เพื่อให้นักโทษการเมืองได้รับเสรีภาพ และยุติการข่มขู่คุกคามต่อกลุ่มคนเสื้อแดง

เราขอเรียกร้องให้รัฐบาลไทยยกเลิกพระราชกำหนดที่ประกาศสถานการณ์ฉุกเฉิน โดยทันที ให้ฟื้นฟูเสรีภาพตามระบอบประชาธิปไตยขึ้นมาใหม่ ให้ยุติการปราบปรามกลุ่มคนเสื้อแดง และให้ปล่อยตัวผู้ต้องขังทันทีโดยไม่ชักช้า

First signatures:

1. Samir ABI, General Secretary, Attac (Togo)

2. Gilbert ACHCAR, SOAS, Professor of the University of London (UK)

3. Christophe AGUITON, Researcher (France)

4. Osman AKINHAY, Writer and editor of Mesele Revue (Turkey)

5. Greg ALBO, Professor at the York University, Toronto (Canada)

6. Josep Maria ANTENTAS, Professor of sociology, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (Catalonia)

7. Daniel ANTONINI, International Secretary of PRCF (France)

8. Zely ARIANE, Spokesperson of KPRM-PRD (Indonesia)

9. Salvador LOPEZ ARNAL, Writer and Professor-tutor of Mathematics , UNED (Spain)

10. AU Loongyu, Editorial board member of China Labor Net (Hong Kong)

11. Walter BAIER, Coordinator of the European network Transform ! Editor of the magazine Transform !, Vienne (Austria)

12. Jean BATOU, Professor at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland)

13. Pierre BEAUDET, Professor at the University of Ottawa (Canada)

14. Walden BELLO, Member of the Congress, Akbayan representative (Philippines)

15. Paul BENEDEK, Thai Red Australia (Australia)

16. Olivier BESANCENOT, Spokesperson of NPA (France)

17. Hugo BLANCO, Director of « Lucha Indígena »¨, (Peru)

18. Saumen BOSE, Radical Socialist (India)

19. Tapan BOSE, Radical Socialist (India)

20. Peter Boyle, National Convener, Socialist Alliance (Australia)

21. Alex Callinicos, Professor, chair of European Studies at King’s College London (UK)

22. Porferia CARPINA, KASAMMAKA (Philippines)

23. Mabel CARUMBA, Mindanao Peoples’ Peace Movement (Philippines)

24. Kunal CHATTOPADHYAY, Professor of Comparative Literature, Jadavpur University, Radical Socialist (India)

25. Kamal MITRA CHENOY, Chair, Centre for Comparative Politics & Political Theory, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi (India)

26. Ashok CHOUDHARY, National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers (India)

27. Annick COUPÉ, Spokesperson of Union Syndicale Solidaires (France)

28. Cyc CUABO, ERDAC, Inc. (Philippines)

29. Lucile DAUMAS, Attac (Marocco)

30. Sushovan DHAR, Radical Socialist (India)

31. Jean-Michel DOLIVO, Lawyer and MP, Lausanne (Switzerland)

32. Jacques Fath, international head, PCF (France)

33. Paulina FERNANDEZ CHRISTLIEB, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Mexico)

34. Carlos FERNANDEZ LIRIA, Professor of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain)

35. Mano GANESAN, Convener of Civil Monitoring Commission (Sri Lanka)

36. George GASTAUD, Philosopher, National Secretary of PRCF (France)

37. Franck GAUDICHAUD – University of Grenoble (France)

38. Elisabeth GAUTHIER, Managing Director of Espaces Marx, co-Editor of the European revue Transform ! (France)

39. P.T. GEORGE, Intercultural Resources, Delhi (India)

40. Susan GEORGE, Writer (France)

41. Jocelyne HALLER, Member of the Constitutional Assembly of Geneva county (Switzerland)

42. Adolfo GILLY, Historian, Professor at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Mexico)

43. Sam GINDIN, Packer Visitor in Social Justice, York University (Canada)

44. Rufino GONZAGA, Ranao Tri-People Movement for Genuine Peace and Development (Philippines)

45. Karl GRÜNBERG, Trade-Union Secretary, SSP, Geneva (Switzerland)

46. Sébastien GUEX, Professor at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland)

47. Priyani GUNARATNA, Rural Services of SLBC (Sri Lanka)

48. Shubhra GURURANI, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, York University, Toronto (Canada)

49. Jean-Marie HARRIBEY, Economist, Professor at the Université Bordeaux IV (France)

50. Nasir HASHIM, State Assemblyman (Malaysia)

51. Mazher HUSSAIN, COVA (India)

52. Linus JAYATILAKE, President of the United Federation of Labor (Sri Lanka)

53. Andrée JELK-PEILA, President of the Public Service Trade-Union Cartel, Geneva (Switzerland)

54. Dr. JEYAKUMAR, Member of Parliament (Malaysia)

55. Abdul KHALID, Focal Person, CADTM-Pakistan (Pakistan)

56. Alain KRIVINE, Former European MP (France)

57. Hayri KOZANOGLU, Professor at the İstanbul University of Marmara, former President of the ÖDP (Turkey)

58. Zbigniew Marcin KOWALEWSKI, Researcher and editor (Poland)

59. Herman KUMARA, National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (Sri Lanka)

60. Kenji KUNITOMI, JCRL (Japan)

61. Max LANE, Asian Studies, University of Sydney (Australia)

62. Bernard LANGLOIS, researcher North/South relations (France)

63. Ronald LARA, IIRE-Manila (Philippines)

64. Cha N. LAVANDER, Mindanao Tri-People Youth Center (Philippines)

65. Doug LORIMER, Editor of Direct Action (Australia)

66. Francisco LOUCA, MP, Bloc de Gauche representative (Portugal)

67. Javier MAESTRO, Professor at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, (Spain)

68. Michael Löwy, Professor, Emerited research director, CNRS (France)

69. Acmad MACATIMBOL, Lanao Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (Philippines)

70. Lisa MACDONALD, International Relations Convener, Socialist Alliance (Australia)

71. Ign MAHENDRA K, Chairperson, Working People Association (PRP) (Indonesia)

72. Claire MARTENOT, member of the Constitutional Assembly of the Geneva county (Switzerland)

73. Soma MARIK, Associate Professor of History, RKSM Vivekananda Vidyabhavan, member, Nari Nirjatan Pratirodh Mancha (Forum Against Women’s Oppression, Calcutta) (India)

74. Emre ÖNGUN, Assistant Professor of the European University of Lefke, Head of Applied Sciences School (Northern Cyprus)

75. Gustave MASSIAH, Founding member of CEDETIM /IPAM (France)

76. Roberto MONTOYA, Writer, Madrid (Spain)

77. Braulio MORO, Journalist, Radio France Internationale, Latin America Section (France)

78. Aldjia MOULAÏ, ACOR SOS Racisme (Switzerland)

79. P.K. MURTHY, Citu (India)

80. Saïd NAJIHI, Attac (Marocco)

81. Alessandro PELIZZARI, Trade-union secretary, Unia, Geneva (Switzerland)

82. William A. PELZ, Doctor at the Institute of Working Class History, Chicago (USA)

83. John PERCY, RSP National Secretary (Australia)

84. Manuel PEREZ ROCHA, Associate Fellow, Global Economy Project. Institut for Policy Studies, Washington (USA)

85. Philippe PIGNARRE, Editor (France)

86. Tommy ARDIAN PRATAMA, Institute for Crisis and Alternative Development Strategy (Indonesia)

87. Mimoun RAHMANI, Economist, ATTAC and CADTM Maroc (Marocco)

88. Pierre ROUSSET, Europe solidaire sans frontières (France)

89. Danielle SABAI, Journalist (France)

90. Enis RIZA SAKIZLI, Film Director (Turkey)

91. Ma. Gittel SAQUILABON, Sumpay Mindanao (Philippines)

92. Mehmet SOGANCI, President of the Chamber of Engineers and Architects (Turkey)

93. Tanie SUANO, CONZARRD (Philippines)

94. Aparna SUNDAR, Assistant Professor, Department of Politics and Public Administration, Ryerson University, Toronto (Canada)

95. Hakan TAHMEZ, Spokesperson of the Peace Assembly (Turkey)

96. Farooq TARIQ, Spokesperson of the LPP (Pakistan)

97. Alper TAS, President of ÖDP (Turkey)

98. Eric TOUSSAINT, CADTM (Belgique)

99. Terry TOWNSEND, Editor, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal (Australia)

100. Enzo TRAVERSO, Assistant Professor at the University of Picardie (France) 101. Charles-André UDRY, Editor (Switzerland)

102. Ahmet ÜMIT, Writer (Turkey)

103. Murat UYURKULAK, Writer (Turkey)

104. Achin VANAIK, Professor of International Relations and Global Politics, Head of the Department of Political Science, University of Delhi (India)

105. Pierre VANEK, Secretary of solidaritéS and former MP of the Federal Parliament (Switzerland)

106. Vikramabahu KARUNARATNE, University of Peradeniya (Sri Lanka)

107. Esther VIVAS, member of the Centro de Estudios sobre Movimientos Sociales de la Universidad Pompeu Fabra (Catalonia)

108. Peter WATERMAN, Reinventing Labour (Netherlands)

Additional signatures

(For the latest signatures, please visit http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article17803.)

109. Yigit BENER, Writer, (Turkey)

110. Wilfred DCOSTA, Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF) (India)

111. Sonny MELENCIO, Chairperson Partido Lakas ng Masa, (Party of the Laboring Masses) (Philippines)

112. Reihana MOHIDEEN, Transform Asia (Philippines)

113. Kevin HEWISON, Director, Carolina Asia Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (USA)

114. Molo ROMOLO, lawyer, Genève (Switzerland)

115. Charles BARBEY, physicist, Genève (Switzerland)

116 Nicola CLANFERONI, researcher, Genève (Switzerland)

117. Béatrice BARBEY, Public Services Trade-Union (SSP), Genève (Switzerland)

118. Alain GONTHIER, District Counsellor, Vevey (Switzerland)

119. Matteo PRONZINI, national representative of UNIA trade-union, Bellinzona (Switzerland)

120. Dr. Peter STRECKEISEN, sociologist, University of Bâle, Bâle (Switzerland)

121. Sarah SCHILLIGER, senior lecturer University of Bâle, Bâle (Switzerland)

122. Lopreno DARIO, teacher, SSP trade-union, Genève (Switzerland)

123. Krauer ROLF, UNIA trade-union, Zurich (Switzerland)

124. Marie-Christine BERNA, SSP trade-union, Lausanne (Switzerland)

125. Zuppinger URS, urbaniste, Lausanne (Switzerland)

126. David BROWN, Wanneroo, Western (Australia)

127. Alain CASTAN, NPA (France)

128. Carlos Sardiña Galache, Journalist (Spain)

129. Adam Whiteley, artist, (formally Bangkok) New York (USA)

130. Giles Ji Ungpakorn

131. Monique Crinon Cedetim/Ipam (France)

(...)

244. Alan Maass, SocialistWorker.org (USA)

245. Tanatat Haruetaisodsai (Thailand)

246. Alan Wald, H. Chandler Davis Collegiate Professor, University of Michigan (USA)

(...)

273. Data Brainanta, People’s Democratic Party (PRD) (Indonesia)

274. Nadège EDWARDS (France)

275. Emma Murphy, co-editor, Green Left Weekly (Australia)

276. Stuart Munckton, co-editor, Green Left Weekly (Australia)

277. Simon Butler, journalist, Green Left Weekly (Australia)

278. Peter Robson, journalist, Green Left Weekly (Australia)

279. Tony Iltis, journalist, Green Left Weekly (Australia)

280. Gustavo Buster, revista Sin Permiso (Spain)

(For the latest signatures, please visit http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article17803.)

Comments

Sign the Appeal

It's a disgrace what is happening in Thailand. Authoritative military, strict regimes seizing more and more control. It's power greed which needs to be stopped. I hope everyone who reads this is signing the appeal. Help make a difference.

Support real democracy

I completely agree that the crackdown on the opposition in Thailand and the abuses of the regime have not been met with the solidarity response and the international condemnation that the situation requires.

It is completely ridicules. It is representative of the international communities complete disregard for actual human rights violations an real focus on international political alliances and pacts. There is absolutely no reason there should not be significant international pressure on the current government, and yet there is virtually none from any international body or any major power.

The injustice in Thailand has to stop!

building a movement

Most progressives in Thailand can agree with Danielle that "overwhelmingly, the movement expresses the revolt of the downtrodden of society whose demands are democracy and social justice." But to say "The Red Shirt movement is not without divisions and problems. Some support the return of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, a corrupt politician" is a bit misleading. "Some" might more accurately be "most" among the Red Shirt movement a month ago. How much is that changing? Concrete evidence remains hard to come by.
A restoration of bourgeois democracy through elections will solve very little. Especially given the power and Capital of Thaksin's political machine. And the Peronista-like populism associated with it. Restoration of civil rights and release of temporary political prisoners is a basic demand that ultimately calls for a return to the status quo ante.
Thailand needs an Indymedia group, not Thaksin's 'alternative media.' Maybe some outside the country could help initiate that. Because too much reporting is non-authentic, not from the ground. There needs to be a real trade union movement, encompassing underpaid government workers as well. That can build a real counter-force to the plutocracy controlling the country. This takes guts.
If a movement uses Direct Action, it has to know it should be 100% non-violent. Despite all provocations. If you are facing armed troops you don't fight back. Nor do you burn down major buildings in the capital, whatever their ties with the corporate oppressors. Of course such violence spurs repression by the State.
A strong anti-authoritarian movement for social justice might carry Thai workers forward. Both in terms of solidarity with oppressed Muslims in the far south (not mentioned much in reporting on the Red Shirt insurgency) and in building ties with students, most of whom are absolutely working-class, from Loei to Yala. And recruiting workers in the Thai military to refuse to obey.
Thai workers could probably learn a lot from what is happening in the only revolution on the planet today, in Nepal, and among Maobadis in India. But many signatories to this call would, for sectarian reasons, be reluctant to point in that direction.

Stop the killings in Thailand

It is sad that because of greed and bad political decisions, this had to happen to Thailand. Electoral Reform seems a bit far but is it really a revolutionary type of government that will solve all their problems? So many lives have been taken and so many innocent people have suffered.International community have been condemning this occurence but is it really stoping the havoc in Thailand?

People should make a stand and stop this craziness.

it's time

Thailand has been under the control of the coup for too long. People have been killed because they fight for their right. It's time to stop this kind of government.

Giles Ji Ungpakorn: Seven steps to Sufficiency Democracy

Abhisit decrees that the opposition cannot criticise the Government during 25th July by-election.

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

1. September 2006: Military stage a royalist coup against an elected government “to protect Democracy” in the face of increased political participation by the poor. The poor are obviously too stupid to be trusted with the vote. Birth of the concept: “Democracy by Military Coup”.

2.2007: Military Constitution brings back military appointed senators, enshrines legitimacy of military coups. Also enshrines the King’s “Sufficiency Economy” (economic growth without development for the poor, the King has his billions and the poor have nothing, what could be better than that?)

3. 2008: New concept: “Democracy without Cooking”. Courts dissolve political party which won the election because the Prime Minister appeared on a TV cooking programme. Abhisit then appointed Prime Minister after military intervention.

4.Late 2008: New concept: Democrat Party without Democracy”. Abhisit’s so-called Democrat Party Government instigates draconian censorship and increases lese majeste cases “to protect Democracy” from too much Democracy.

5. April-May 2010: New concept: “Democracy without Human Rights”. Government and military gun down 90 unarmed pro-democracy demonstrators in order to avoid “too much Democracy” by being forced to call immediate democratic elections.

6. June 2010: New concept: “Democratic Reforms without Democracy”. Abhisit’s military junta announces “reform process” under martial law, involving the usual anti-democratic conservatives. Over 400 political prisoners now in jail. Government uses death squads to assassinate red shirt activists.

7. June 2010: New concept of “Elections without the Right to Criticise the Government”. By-election to be held in Bangkok’s number 6 constituency. But political prisoner and Red Shirt leader Kokaew, standing for opposition Puea Thai Party, told by Abhisit that it would be “illegal” to accuse the Government of murdering civilians during the election campaign. Government to be given full media coverage while opposition will be ignored in the mainstream media.

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