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Democracy Update 3/4/13

IMG_2149During Wednesday’s press conference, UDD co-leaders discussed obstacles to the ongoing efforts to amend the post-coup Constitution of 2007 as well as a recent ruling by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) regarding Jatuporn Prompan’s disqualification from parliament in 2011. They also announced a commemorative rally that is being held in Bangkok on April 10th in honor of those who died during the brutal and illegal military crackdown of Red Shirt protests in 2010.

The UDD supports the Pheu Thai government’s efforts to amend the post-coup Constitution, but pro-coup forces have continuously tried, and often succeeded, to thwart the amendment process. In one such recent effort, opposition Senator Somchai Sawaengkarn has petitioned the Constitutional Court to issue an injunction against the parliamentary proceedings and dissolve the Pheu Thai party.

While the Court rejected Senator Somchai’s appeal for an injunction, it has accepted his petition to consider the constitutionality of the proposed constitutional amendments, in particular alterations to Sections 68 and 237. The UDD co-leaders expressed frustration that the amendment process is facing obstacles every step of the way.

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UDD Responds to Democrat Delusion

At a press conference on Friday, the UDD leaders called on the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to reopen their investigation into the death of Boonmee Rermsuk, one of the 98 victims of the 2010 military crackdown, after the Criminal Court failed to establish his killer.

In a unsurprising distortion of logic, the Democrat Party has argued that the Court’s failure to find the authorities guilty is sufficient proof that the protesters were armed and violent. UDD leader Tida Tawornseth maintained that the Red Shirts were not armed in 2010 and the Court has found the Democrat-led authorities guilty in the 4 other cases from 2010 already dealt with by the Thai judicial system. Tida asked the DSI to further investigate the death of Boonmee, also known as “Uncle Boonmee”.

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UDD Submits Draft Amnesty Decree

On Tuesday, 500 Red Shirts and UDD leaders gathered outside Laksi Prison in Bangkok to announce a draft executive decree which, if signed by prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, would grant amnesty to all political prisoners, excluding decision-makers.

The concise draft decree states that all persons, Red, Yellow, or other, charged or convicted of a criminal offense should be granted amnesty if said offense stemmed from Thailand’s post-coup political conflict (2007-2012). However, people in leadership and decision-making positions would not be let off the hook, the draft decree stipulated.

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Red Shirts Ask “Where is the Rule of Law?”

At a press conference on Friday, UDD co-leaders expressed their outrage over former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s ability to circumvent the rule of law by walking out of the Department of Special Investigations (DSI) without signing and agreeing to the terms of his release after hearing his charges yesterday. The Red Shirt leaders were equally appalled by his continuing lack of respect for the victims of the military crackdown in 2010.

Abhisit and his former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban presented themselves at DSI offices on Thursday to deny the murder charges against them in regards to the death of taxi driver Pan Kamkong who was killed by CRES soldiers on May 15th 2010. However, they refused to sign a document accepting the conditions for their bail, which prohibit them from: leaving the country without the approval of the DSI; tampering with evidence; and obstructing the investigation. Despite this outright rejection of the legal process, they were free to go.

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Jatuporn’s MP Disqualification violates human rights and constitution- IPU

The International Parliamentary Union (IPU), one of the world’s oldest international organizations committed to the promotion of democracy, has unanimously passed a resolution condemning the Constitutional Court’s disqualification of Jatuporn’s MP status in May, 2012. The IPU argued that the rationale for the disqualification was at odds with Thailand’s international human rights obligations, enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), as well as Article 102(4) of the Thai Constitution.

See below the full text of the resolution, and click here for the link to the IPU’s website. (more…)

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The Time is Now for a People’s Constitution in Thailand- UDD

A combined total of 10,000 Red Shirts gathered to learn and discuss the movement’s goals and progress during two political schools that were held in the Northeastern region of Isaan on Sunday and Monday. The seminars focused on the approaching opportunity for a people’s constitution which would spell a major victory, not only for the Red Shirt movement, but for the democratic future of Thailand.

UDD chairwoman Tida opened the political school in Ubon Ratchathani on Monday, Thailand’s Constitution Day, by highlighting the need for a constitution that is approved by the people.

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