Bangkok lashes out at US rights assessment
The Foreign Ministry yesterday lashed out at the US human-rights report, saying it was improper, unbalanced and incomplete.
In the recently released annual report on human rights around the world, the United States blasted Thailand for the excessive use of force by the police, deteriorating conditions in prisons, arbitrary arrests, intimidation of the press, violence against female trafficking victims, discrimination against minorities, including hill-tribes people, and ill-treatment of foreign migrant workers.
"We do not feel comfortable with the idea of compiling this report to begin with," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Sihasak Phuangketkeow. "It is not proper for a country to use its norms and standards to judge another country's human-rights situation," he said. "The situation in each country varies.
"The report is made according to Congress regulations. Since it is for internal purposes, it shouldn't be made available to the public," added Sihasak, who called the method "not constructive".
The US Department of State has been compiling the annual human rights report for the Congress for years. Last year the negative tone of the report prompted the Foreign Ministry to invite American Ambassador to Thailand Ralph Boyce to discuss the matter. They later agreed to have Thailand submit information for the report.
Despite the agreement, Sihasak said the Thai government was disappointed with the report, as it did not include much of the information the government submitted.
Neither was the information presented in the report complete, Sihasak said. He said the section of the report on violence in the South emphasised the government's response rather than violence by individuals, and also neglected the government's assistance to victims.
He said the Foreign Ministry would study the report in detail and might come up with further clarification. He also expected to discuss the matter with the American ambassador.