EDITORIAL: A bad omen for human rights

EDITORIAL: A bad omen for human rights - The Nation, December 10, 2004
[The Nation laments another four years of Thaksin...]
...Extra-judicial killings are all right as long as the government says they are necessary, like they were in the “war against drugs”. It is okay to violate the human rights of drug suspects because they are not part of mainstream society. Not surprisingly, this methodology spread fast to the southern provinces...
The continuing crisis in the South inspired the government to try to introduce new decrees to increase state power, notably for the police to arrest, detain and question anyone suspected of involvement with terrorism. Given the government’s dismal history of abuse of power, only the insane would continue to accept this kind of behaviour.
On the occasion of Constitution Day and Human Rights Day, it is important to recall the lawyer Somchai Neelaphaijit, who was kidnapped in March and is still unaccounted for. It is widely believed that he was killed shortly after being kidnapped by men in uniform. His case serves as a barometer of the sorrowful state of human rights and the rule of law in Thailand. Somchai was courageous and outspoken when it came to publicising allegations of police violations made by his clients, who had been arrested on charges of having links to the regional terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah...


Corruption now 'worst in century' - Bangkok Post, December 10, 2004
[While corruption is prevalent and has taken on new forms under Thaksin's tenure, it is certainly political hyperbole to claim it is the worst or most serious in a century.]
Corruption is now the "most serious in a century" under the Thaksin Shinawatra administration, with complex policy-related graft and equal benefit sharing among business groups owned by 10 families, a local anti-corruption network alleged yesterday.
The allegations were made at a seminar organised by the network yesterday at Thammasat University to mark International Anti-Corruption Day.
Network members claimed there were irregularities in the granting of a 270-billion-baht Laem Chabang port concession to a private firm, the Board of Investment's tax exemption for a satellite operator partially owned by the Shinawatra family's Shin Corp, and the Export-Import Bank's granting of a 600-million-baht soft loan to Burma's telephone and internet projects which later went to a supplier from Shin Corp...
It all began with the monopolisation of political, financial and state powers by the "Thaksin regime", which allowed business groups owned by 10 families to win all state bids and projects, he alleged...


Cold public response to India-ASEAN rallyists in Thailand - PTI news, December 9, 2004
The exotic locations and a party atmosphere may have made Thailand the first choice of many Indian tourists, but the participants of the first India-ASEAN car rally were surely disappointed by the "cold" response given by the people here.
The rallyist, who received vociforous applause wherever they traveled in their endeavour to build poeple-to-people contact, could hardly find anyone acknowledging their second arrival in this fast-paced country...


Thai senators and exiles discuss Burma - The Irrawaddy, December 9, 2004
Several Thai senators and Burmese dissidents in exile discussed political developments in Burma and the plight of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi at a meeting in Bangkok on Wednesday.
The meeting was intended to send a message to Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on the eve of his visit to Rangoon on Thursday to attend the World Buddhist Summit...