Thailand voices disappointment over EU's human rights criticism

Thailand voices disappointment over EU's human rights criticism
PHOTO: Reuters

Thailand has voiced disappointment over the European parliament's damning resolution on human rights in the Kingdom, saying it did not reflect the reality on the ground.

The resolution did not reflect a clear understanding of the situation and developments in Thailand and the government's efforts to protect and promote human rights, Foreign Ministry spokesman Sek Wannamethee said. "Thailand respects and is committed to its international obligations on human rights and it clings onto the road map towards an election," he said.

On Thursday the European parliament adopted a non-binding resolution by 581 votes to 35, with 35 abstentions, to express its concern over "deteriorating human rights situation in Thailand following the coup of May 2014".

It urged the government to lift repressive restrictions on the right to liberty and the peaceful exercise of other human rights. It also called on the authorities to overturn convictions and sentences, withdraw charges and release individuals and media operators who have been sentenced or charged for exercising their right to freedom of expression or assembly.

The European parliament also urged the government to abolish the death penalty and asked the European External Action Service and the EU Delegation to use all available instruments to ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law in Thailand, in particular by continuing to observe investigations and trials of opposition leaders.

Sek said Thailand was ready to listen to constructive recommendations based on accurate information and would co-operate with the EU in all aspects and levels. Thailand would fully work as a coordinator between ASEAN and the EU in order to have closer relations for the mutual benefit of the two regions.

The EU strongly criticised Thailand after the military coup in May last year and prohibited high-level engagement with the government until democracy is restored in the country.

The junta, or National Council for Peace and Order, imposed restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly over the past year.

Journalists, activists and politicians were arrested or summoned to "adjust their attitude" after criticising the junta and the government.

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