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
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-- END --
Issue #310, 11/7/03
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