Theresa May: Don't host Thai tyrant Prayuth Chan-Ocha
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Dear Prime Minister,
We are concerned to hear that British government has invited Thai junta leader Gen Prayuth Cha-O-Cha to visit the UK on Wednesday, 20 June. We would like to draw your attention to his long record of human rights violations. Thailand’s military junta has used dictatorial power to systematically repress human rights throughout the country. The regime has prosecuted critics of military rule, banned political activity, censored the media, and tried dissidents in unfair military courts.
General Prayuth came to power after a 2014 military coup, and Thai authorities have since detained hundreds of citizens for exercising their basic freedoms. Thai authorities have blocked public events focused on human rights and arrested journalists and others for expressing political views on social media. Defamation suits in Thailand have risen in recent years, and human rights defenders, journalists, and government critics face long prison sentences for engaging in legitimate activities.
There has been no justice for past human rights violations, such as the 2010 dispersal of street protests. More than 90 people were killed and nearly 1,900 were wounded in street clashes and a military crackdown on the opposition rallies. The Thai government has not prosecuted those responsible.
During that military crackdown, Gen Prayuth was army chief. Abuses by soldiers took place in full view of the Thai public and the world’s media. Not one soldier or official has been held accountable for the 2010 violence as criminal investigations have progressed very slowly.
We request you to express your concern and revoke the invitation for the Thai junta leader to visit Britain. Instead of inviting him, we urge you to press the junta to immediately end repression, respect fundamental rights, and return the country to democratic civilian rule.
Regarding arms exports to Thailand, we ask that the British government puts human rights and democracy first and stops selling arms to undemocratic and repressive regimes.
Under these circumstances, we regard any visit to the UK by this tyrant as insult to democratic values. We urge the government to withdraw it.
Thailand Human Rights Campaign UK
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