Human Rights in Asia

Human Rights in Asia

Edited by Thomas W.D. Davis and Brian Galligan

Does the increasing prominence of Asia also mark a new era for human rights in the region? This timely book uncovers the political drivers behind both recent regional and country-based changes to the recognition, promotion and protection of rights.

Chapter 7: Ambivalent About Human Rights: Thai Democracy

Michael K. Connors

Subjects: law - academic, human rights, politics and public policy, human rights, public policy

Extract

Michael K. Connors1 Human rights politics are typically marked by predictable scripts of violators and promoters, of observance and neglect, and of action and policy. But to speak of human rights in Thailand after the coup d’état of 2006 that overthrew the Thaksin government (2001–06) is to step into an unpredictable political minefield of local conflict and discourse, exemplified by the political competition between ‘red shirt’ (pro-Thaksin) and ‘yellow shirt’ (anti-Thaksin) movements and the rival elite networks that have mapped on to them. The conflicting sides proclaim support for ‘rights’ and democracy while playing a part in the violation of both, conceived liberally. The predictable transcript isn’t very helpful for Thailand. Rather than offer a comprehensive account of Thailand’s human rights situation, this chapter discusses human rights in relation to state form, democracy and the contest between liberal and authoritarian currents. The ‘war on drugs’ (WOD), during the tenure of the elected Thaksin government, is used as a case study to examine forces that combined to abuse human rights. To bring those events into the present post-coup discussion helps to identify uncertainties surrounding Thailand’s future capacity for human rights protection, assuming the country will return to some form of stable electoral democracy (though this is by no means certain). The case study might have been the 2006–07 coup regime’s suppression of free association, speech and movement, but then there is nothing profoundly difficult in understanding that military juntas, founded on repression, by definition and in practice violate...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information