The situation in Thailand has become so dire that an urgency debate on the floor of the European Parliament was called. The Parliament denounced the coup in Thailand as being ‘illegal’ and called for multiple changes if the EU is to see the country’s leadership favourably.
“(The European) Parliament expresses its concerns at the “deteriorating human rights situation in Thailand following the illegal coup of May 2014″ and urges the Thai authorities to lift repressive restrictions on the right to liberty and the peaceful exercise of other human rights,” the European Parliament’s press statement reads.
Another area of concern was the detaining of journalists and protestors in Thailand, which multiple speakers on the floor deemed to be unacceptable. However, it was Ryszard Czarnecki, speaking first, who stated his belief that cooperation with Thailand economically was not something that the European Union should continue unless a return to democracy is imminent:
“Thailand which used to be one of the East Asian economic ‘tigers.’ Thailand must hear very clearly a strong demand on part of the European Parliament that democracy must be reinstated there which the country deserves…We should not only monitor the situation in Thailand up close, we should indicate that our economic cooperation may actually be hinged on Thailand’s cooperation with human rights,” Czarnecki said.
Whether the European Union does level economic sanctions or take other diplomatic action against Thailand remains to be seen. However, as Thailand’s situation continues to worsen, it may become a matter of when as opposed to if.
“(The European Parliament) calls on the Thai authorities to overturn convictions and sentences, to withdraw charges and to release individuals and media operators who have been sentenced or charged for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression or assembly.
Parliament also calls for the abolition of the death penalty and asks the European External Action Service and the EU Delegation to use all available instruments to ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law in Thailand, in particular by continuing to observe investigations and trial hearings of opposition leaders,” the Press statement of the European Parliament concluded.