Newsbrief: Amnesty International Calls on Thai Government to Name Those Killed in Drug War 11/7/03

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The global human rights watchdog group Amnesty International has issued a report harshly critical of the Thai government's spring offensive against drug traffickers and users and calling on the Thai government to release the identities of some 2,245 people Amnesty said were killed in the crackdown.

The internationally respected human rights group called on the Thai government to take immediate action to investigate the deaths, which police generally blamed on feuding drug gangs but which are widely believed to be committed by police death squads. Amnesty derided two ongoing investigations as whitewashes and called for an independent investigation.

"The Thai authorities must take immediate action to investigate these deaths and to send a clear public message to the national police force, the military, and paramilitary groups, that extrajudicial executions by the security forces are not acceptable," said Amnesty International. "Serious human rights violations and abuses that have been taking place in Thailand require serious attention by the authorities," said Amnesty. "The authorities have an obligation to offer better protection to the vulnerable members of the society. They must also offer adequate redress for past human rights violations and abuses. The Thai authorities must take further measures to ensure that respect for human rights becomes a reality for all people in Thailand."

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra responded to the report as he has to previous criticisms of his personal crusade to make Thailand drug-free by December 4. Amnesty didn't know what it was talking about, he said. "Don't listen too much to them," he told the Bangkok Post. Interior Minister Wan Muhamad Nor Matha claimed that Amnesty was exaggerating; the official toll was only 1,766, he told the Post.

For the full text of the report, visit:
http://www.amnestyusa.org/countries/thailand/document.do?id=DE5ED82FB9893A7880256DC7005DAD14

For further information on related issues, visit:
http://www.amnestyusa.org/countries/thailand/document.do?id=80256AB9000584F680256CD300545845
http://www.amnestyusa.org/countries/thailand/document.do?id=80256AB9000584F680256CE1005AC276

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