Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Reactions to Thailand's crisis

Reactions to the military coup in Bangkok last night are starting to come in. Freedom House, a pro-freedom and democracy group based in the United States, quickly condemned the coup, calling for "a speedy return to constitutional rule."

Here is the group's statement:

Freedom House Condemns Thai Coup; Country Briefing Information Available

Freedom House denounces today’s coup in Thailand, which overthrew the ruling prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra. Thailand has ipso facto ceased to be a democracy. No matter the rationale -- and the restoration of democracy and the end of corruption are frequently cited as justification for coups the world over -- no group that gains power through a coup can be accepted as legitimate by democratic governments.

Thailand has had a long history of military interruptions of civilian rule, although beginning in 1998, progress in political rights and civil liberties had merited it a Free rating in Freedom House’s annual survey of political rights and civil liberties, Freedom in the World. However, in the most recent survey, Thailand was downgraded to Partly Free, due to the growing restrictions on freedom under the rule of Prime Minister Thaksin.

Along with friends of Thailand everywhere, Freedom House hopes for a speedy return to constitutional rule. Freedom House urges the King of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej, to use his good offices to facilitate the quick return of a democratically elected government in Thailand.

Freedom House, an independent non-governmental organization that supports the expansion of freedom in the world, has monitored political rights and civil liberties in Thailand since 1972.

More information on political rights and civil liberties in Thailand can be found at:

Freedom in the World 2006

Countries at the Crossroads 2005

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