In response to the House Committee’s scrutiny of MP Worachai Hema’s Amnesty Bill decision to approve the draft legislation with blanket proposals that would absolve authorities who ordered the use of excessive force against civilians which resulted in more than a hundred deaths and more than a thousand injured, of all accountability, the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) would like to release this following statements:
1. The UDD is standing by its commitment to support the original format of MP Worachai Hema’s Amnesty Bill that would have, if passed, granted pardon to political prisoners of all colours only. This version does not include protest leaders and commanding officials who authorized the use of excessive forces on civilians.
2. It is common for differences of opinion to exist within democratic institutions due to varied interests and priorities but this is not a political conflict between enemies. There is a need to use logic and reasoning to appropriately explain these differences in a productive manner and not to destroy each other’s way of thinking. The key is to look into the principles and benefits of democracy for the people whilst considering the negative consequences that might rise from such a decision.
3. The differences in solutions to problems stem from dissimilarities of opinions. Some MPs believe that the Amnesty Bill should be the priority following the formation of the government. However, the UDD believes that constitutional amendments and the removal of coup consequences should be the foremost concern. However, since three years have passed and more than thousand still remain convicted, amnesty for political prisoners of all colours became the immediate policy of the UDD. This led to the organization’s proposal for the amnesty bill that was later transformed into the original version of MP Worachai Hema’s Bill.
4. One of the core problems is the group of people who are to receive amnesty. In the case of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra who was victimised by the consequences of the past coup d’état, he should be given justice by eliminating coup consequences, not by way of the amnesty bill. The amendment of article 309 is the right way to help Thaksin and it should be abolished.
The revision of Mr. Worachai’s Amnesty Bill which would grant amnesty to all parties is unacceptable for the UDD since the principles and original purpose of the bill is to help the people, not the authorities who ordered the crackdown.
The UDD maintained its organization’s support for MP Worachai Hema’s original bill that passed the first parliament reading. We do not want endless bloodshed on the streets of Thailand to happen again and again in the future.
23 October 2013