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ЕУ вети дека „внимателно ќе ги следи“ прекршувањата на човековите права во Тајланд




2014-10-15T095117Z_1_LYNXNPEA9E0E2_RTROPTP_4_THAILAND-POLITICSThe EU has pledged to “closely monitor” the current political and social situation in Thailand, including abuses of human rights and a curtailment of freedom of speech. Speaking in Strasbourg on Thursday (8 October), Commissioner Christos Stylianides said: “Respect for human rights is essential and failure to abide by it is an offence and a major obstacle to establishing a long term democracy.”

Stylianides, the commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management, was addressing MEPs during an “urgency debate” in the European Parliament on the current political situation in Thailand.The packed debate during the parliamentary plenary comes at a time of rising tension and political unrest in the country.

Stylianides told MEPs: “I completely agree that Thailand is an important partner for the EU, including our relations with whole south east Asia region.It is an ancient and proud nation. But our main concern is about the lack of progress in resolving the cycle of political, sometimes violent, conflict and military takeovers.

“There needs to be bridges in society as in politics and in Thailand these bridges are not being built yet. “This includes adherence to the rule of law and not having civilians appearing before military courts. All are essential for a peaceful and inclusive process,” the Greek official said.Welcoming the debate, he said the EU had called for “full return” to democratic governance in Thailand “without delay.

“In terms of critical engagement with Thailand the EU has done much and will continue to do so.”

“For Thailand, the approach should be an urgent restoration of the democratic process. The EU is not a fair-weather friend and for that reason we will continue to encourage this.”

MEPs had earlier spoken of the need to link human rights issues to economic and trade agreements between the EU and other countries.Deputies also called for a return to democratic governance in Thailand, including the drafting of a new constitution and early elections, plus the removal of “restrictions” on the freedom of expression and assembly.With a decision imminent on a possible EU ban on Thai fishing exports, concern was also voiced about “slave like” conditions for workers in the Thai seafood industry.


A strongly-worded resolution overwhelmingly adopted on Thursday by Parliament backs the EU’s decision to put on hold fledgling negotiations with Thailand for a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) and its refusal to sign the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) finalised in November 2013 “until a democratic government is in place.

“The wide-ranging resolution goes on to condemn the “repressive restrictions” on the right to liberty and exercise of human rights imposed by Thailand’s ruling junta which came to power following a military coup in 2014.The joint motion speaks of “deep concern” at the “deteriorating” human rights situation, criticises the “growing severity” of “anti defamation” laws and raises concern at the plight of migrant workers “who enjoy little protection.”The cross-party resolution, adopted by 581 votes to just 35 against, with 35 abstentions, also calls on the Thai authorities to “commence as soon as possible” a return from military to civil power and outline a “clear plan” for “free and fair” elections.Crucially, it states that “no progress should be expected” on the FTA and PCA “as long as the military junta remains in power.”

During a 30 minute debate, ECR Polish member Ryszard Czarnecki said: “Thailand is a country we Europeans know well, mostly as a holiday destination and as formerly one of the Asian economic tigers. Politically, though, it evokes a much less nice picture,particularly following events of the last three years,including the imposition of martial law.

“Democracy deserves is reinstated. The EU should not only closely monitor this but also ensure that future economic cooperation with Thailand is directly linked to whether the Thai authorities are complying with human rights.”Cecilia Wikstrom, a Swedish ALDE member, agreed, saying: “Developments in Thailand in the field of freedom and human rights are very worrying. Thai people deserve the right to choose their path in life, including the right to elect political representatives and the chance to live in a democracy. That is why I appeal to the Thai authorities to respect the right to freedom of expression and human rights.”

Further comment came from Italian EFDD deputy Ignazio Corrao, who said: “Whenever we think of Thailand we think of a tourist destination but no one seems to know what is really going on there at present. What is clear is that there’s been an escalation of violence and repression since the coup last year and that anyone who opposes the junta now finds themselves persecuted and imprisoned.

“The EU is still in a position to exert pressure on the junta, to use our economic might and political skills to push the it towards restoring democracy.”

Italian Socialist MEP Pier Panzeri declared: “Thailand is experiencing a political crisis and is a country where human rights are not fully safeguarded. The UN has defined conditions in the fishing industry there as like modern day slavery. These issues must be faced up to and resolved. There’s also the need for a new democratic constitution and a date for new elections.”

Further contribution came from German Greens MEP Barbara Lochbihler who said: “Thailand is an important partner for the EU and the EU can be a friend in encouraging the Thai authorities to deal with human rights abuses, return to democratic governance as soon as possible and set a timeframe for holding elections. Restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly and arbitrary detention has to end.

“The UN says there have been 1,200 arbitrary detentions in the past year with many kept in isolation in an effort to change their behaviour. There also needs to be an effort to combat illegal fishing activities and labour conditions which sees many workers kept on ships without wages for years.”

In Thailand, changing behaviour is otherwise known as the “attitude readjustment” policy. Elsewhere, Dutch EPP deputy Jeroen Lenaers said the priority for the EU should be to “push the junta to return to a democratic society and present a timeframe for this. There are worrying reports on a deteriorating human rights situation in Thailand and this is something we should be concerned about”.

Spanish GUE member Tania Penas Gonzalez made it clear that Parliament “cannot tolerate flouting of human rights by the Thai military government because it endangers any moves to promote democracy across the whole region. The conditions of migrant workers in Thailand and the abuses they face is also of great concern.”She said that negotiations on an FTA with Thailand should remain suspended along with arms exports from the EU.

She also called for “all those detained on political grounds” to be released with immediate effect.Christian Preda, a Romanian MEP with the EPP, said: “The social crisis in Thailand has led to a hardening in the position of the powers that be. We in Europe have strong political links to Thailand and need to push the junta to accept a timetable for new elections. Reform of the constitution within 20 months and elections in 2017 is not acceptable for citizens. They want a return to democracy as soon as possible so, clearly, a lot remains to be done by the Thais to regain the confidence of the international community.”

Another speaker, Czech EPP deputy Stanislav Polcak, said: “Recent developments in Thailand cannot be termed as positive in anyway but there is light at the end of the tunnel, for example, the decision in Spring to abolish martial law. Sadly, the junta has kept many repressive laws. The situation is complex and that is why we should continue to monitor rights abuses.”

MEPs also urged the EU to press for the “immediate release” of Briton Andy Hall, a human-rights activist who goes on trial on 19 October and faces seven years’ imprisonment and a €10 million fine for exposing “slave-like” conditions for workers in the country. Hall did an investigation for Finnwatch in 2012 into the conditions of Burmese migrant workers at a processing plant in southern Thailand run by Natural Fruit, a Thai pineapple processing company. Natural Fruit then brought civil and criminal defamation cases against Hall.His case was highlighted by several deputies, including British Socialist MEP Anneliese Dodds, who said he had “merely had the temerity to compile a report on labour rights abuses in Thailand”.

She added: “The charges are utterly unfounded and, today, I am calling on the Thai authorities to drop all charges against him.” Her comments were endorsed by Heidi Hautala, a Finnish Greens, deputy, who said: “I totally support my colleague – human rights defenders like Andy Hall must have freedom and right to expose such violations. A UN report in 2013 report said that slave-like practices are a reality in Thailand. People like Hall should be applauded, not imprisoned. The judicial harassment against him should end and the EU must launch an investigation against Natural Fruit.”

EPP Romanian member Csaba Sogor said: “Political groups here are demanding normalization of the situation in Thailand and a constitution be adopted immediately.The EU is Thailand’s 2nd biggest trade partner, a strategic partner and the EU can and must support this process. But we are seeing more and more breaches of human rights, including labour rights and the case of Andy Hall is symptomatic of the current situation there.”

Winding up the debate Stylianides said he shared the “concerns” of MEPs about conditions in some industries, such as fisheries, in Thailand, saying: “We are very aware of this problem. We will take it up with the Thai authorities and step up our work in monitoring the position of those, like Andy Hall, fight against human rights abuses.

“The EU has closely followed Andy Hall’s situation for some time. Our delegation in Thailand has arranged to observe his trial this month and we will continue to closely monitor the case and raise any concerns with the Thai authorities.”

Човекови права: Саудиска Арабија, Нигерија, Централноафриканска Република и Тајланд

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