Surakiart campaign attacked over human rights report

The Asian Human Rights Commission, an NGO monitoring human rights issues in Asia, has denounced the Thai government’s support for Dr. Surakiart’s campaign as “immoral and dishonest” following a UN report that the government’s granting of immunity for security forces engaged in “counter-insurgency” efforts in southern Thailand violates the government’s obligations under international human rights law.

“It is offensive to think that the Thai government is wasting its national budget promoting a man for the top UN job who has held a senior position throughout a time that it has consistently flouted international law and snubbed the best efforts of UN officials to improve human rights in its country,” Basil Fernando, executive director of the AHRC, said.

“It is an affront to the international community that such a person would even be put forward for the position,” Fernando said.  

The statement came after Philip Aston, the UN Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, said some of the emergency decree’s provisions violate the government’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, barring “any measures cutting back on the legal safeguards surrounding the right to life” even during emergencies.

Surakiart’s website describes his discussions in May with several Muslim students from the country’s southern, Muslim-majority provinces on his outreach to the Thai Muslim population.  

As Deputy Prime Minister overseeing foreign affairs, Dr. Surakiart conveyed to the students of their important role in reinforcing the work of the Foreign Ministry in intensifying cooperation with the Muslim community. He expounded his views on learning to live with differences in promoting a culture of peace and harmony. He gave an account of the various initiatives he had undertaken in reaching out to the Muslim community in Thailand and the world. Such initiatives include the establishment of the Islamic Bank, and linking the curriculum of Al-Azhar with universities in southern Thailand. 

Next week, Surakiart is scheduled to attend ASEAN’s meeting in Kuala Lumpur, during which he is expected to lobby for support from Chinese and Japanese officials.


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