Ms Hautala met with Noppadon Pattama, the former Foreign Minister of Thailand, on 1 July to discuss the situation in the country after the unrest and mass-demonstrations in this spring.[:]
Anti-government demonstrations led by the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) began on 12th of March. As of May 19, it is reported that, 89 demonstrators were killed, 5 soldiers died, and more than 1,800 people were injured.
Mr Pattama expressed deep sorrow over the loss of life and regretted that the state of emergency, declared in 7 April, is still in force. Of great concern to Ms Hautala is the situation of people imprisoned during the unrest and held without a trial. She underlined that their release should be a priority for the Thai government.
Moreover she regretted that the media outlets of the country remain under increased restrictions due to the state of emergency.
As a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council and its current Chair, Thailand should cooperate closely with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Opinion and Expression.
Ms Hautala noted that any measure of emergency has severe implications for democratic functioning of a state and that at all times these measures should be lifted and remedied at the very first opportunity.
Ms Hautala underlined that most important now is to look into ways to achieve political reconciliation in Thailand. In this regard, Ms Hautala welcomed the “road map” for national reconciliation by the Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. Mr Noppadon welcomed the principles outlined in the “road map” and underlined that all sides should now participate in comprehensive peace talks and commit to respect the outcome of a free and fair election.
Ms Hautala fully supports the independent investigation into the violence and use of force, announced by the Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva in his proposal for the “road map”. She underlined, however, that for any investigation to be effective and credible must not only look into the acts of UDD protesters but also into use of force by the state security. In this regard, Mr. Noppadon expressed hopes that the government appointed head of this Truth Committee would be also ratified by both parties.
The European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights will discuss the human rights situation in South East Asia – including Thailand – on the morning of the 15 July.