UN chief condemns political violence in Thailand

‎The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday urged the political parties in Thailand to respect human rights and the rule of law, and to work together towards resolving the politically-motivated confrontations which are becoming more confrontational and deadly.

In a statement from his spokesperson, Mr. Ban said that he was “increasingly concerned” about the political struggle.

The “Bangkok Shutdown” is the brainchild of Mr. Suthep Thaugsuban, a former MP for the Democrat Party. But some have said Mr. Suthep has the support of ex-army officers who want to see the collapse of democracy in the country.

For the past four months the impact of the Bangkok Shutdown has crippled civil service, spread terror at rally sites and the country’s economy is on the decline. Mr. Suthep had also mobilised street riots to prevent eligible voters to cast their votes in the February polls. Over 700 people have been injured and 20 people killed as a result of the anarchy.

Children were reportedly among the casualties at the latest weekend demonstrations. Despite the unstable political atmosphere, parents continue to bring children to the PDRC rallies, in defiance to the advice given by UNICEF.

Mr. Ban and Caretaker Prime Minister Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra have both condemned the violence.

“The Secretary-General believes strongly that there should be no place for violence by any side in resolving political differences and disputes,” the UN spokesperson said, adding that the top UN official offered to assist the parties and the Thai people “in any way possible.”

PDRC has not explained their intention at “reform” and instead promised to install an unelected people’s council to replace the Government. Critics fear such action violates the Constitution, democratic process and civil liberty as there are no assurance of halting the problems faced by the country if democracy is removed.

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