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Thailand called out by Human Rights Watch over amnesty bill

Aug. 5, 2013 at 2:32 PM   |   Comments

BANGKOK, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Human Rights Watch urged Thailand's government Monday to revise an amnesty bill to exclude people who ordered or carried out human rights abuses.

Thailand's Parliament is scheduled to give the bill, proposed by Worachai Hema, a lawmaker from the ruling Pheu Thai party, a first read Wednesday, Human Rights Watch said in a release.

The bill gives full amnesty to all protesters who have been charged, prosecuted and convicted for their actions who were involved in the coup that ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, on Sept. 19, 2006, to May 10, 2011.

"The ruling party's amnesty bill lets both soldiers and militants responsible for deaths during the 2010 upheaval off the hook," said Brad Adams, Asia director at HRW. "To ensure justice for the victims of violence and to end Thailand's longstanding culture of impunity, the amnesty bill should exclude perpetrators of abuses and instead make them accountable for their crimes."

An HRW report found that members of the military caused many deaths and injuries during political confrontations in 2010.

Worachai told Human Rights Watch Friday the bill will not be applied to members of the military because so far, no soldiers have been charged or prosecuted for political violence during the coup.

Meanwhile, the families of victims have proposed another bill that specifies which actions will be granted an amnesty. Anyone who used violence or committed rights abuses would not be covered in the families' proposed law.

"Worachai's amnesty bill is an insult to the victims and families of the 2010 violence," Adams said. "It is totally unacceptable that those who committed serious abuses, including soldiers who pulled the triggers and commanders who gave the orders, would remain untouchable through an amnesty."

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