Human rights violation and (non)prospect for democracy in Thailand
Sae Chua, Bencharat
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The international community (in particular, the European Union and the United States) suspended political relations with Thailand after the military coup in 2014. This relationship has been gradually normalized since the December 2017 announcement, in response to the Thai Military Government’s proposal for an election to be held in the end of 2018, that the EU would “pursue gradual political re-engagement” including political contacts at all levels and resume talks on a free trade agreement. This policy brief, however, suggests that the Thai government’s claim to hold an election is neither a promise of return to genuine democracy, nor does it ensure respect of rights and liberties; rather, this policy brief recommends the international community to continue monitoring and pressuring the Thai military junta to respect human rights, freedom of expression and public participation. It is also recommended that any future talks between the EU and Thailand include the issue of human rights defenders and civil society. Political and trade relationships cannot exist in an environment where HRDs and civil society are unable to participate in the discussion, especially if they are not able to make either their own communities or EU governments aware of potential impacts of these relationships.