Earlier this year the Thai junta rejected a new constitution and forestalled a return to democracy until mid 2017 and as a result Europe and much of the world expressed a strong concern for the future of Thailand’s democracy. The European Parliament has also expressed concern, and as such extended an invitation to former Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, to address the European Parliament on the political situation in the country. The invitation, dated Oct 7, was co-signed by Elmar Brok, chairman of the EP Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Werner Langen, chair of the panel for relations with Southeast Asia and Asean. The invitation led to a strong reaction from the Thai government, who did not even stop short of: (1) suggesting the invitation was fake, (2) suggesting that it was being set up, (3) slamming the Parliamentarians for not communicating only through the official channel of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and (4) expressing their dislike of the fact that the government had not been invited.
Now the Thai Supreme Court has denied this request to Shinawatra, and is set to remain in country until the end of her trial, a move which .
Not the first time
This is not the first time that Shinawatra has been denied the right to leave Thailand, as she had lodged a request February of this year that was also denied. Shinawatra’s attorney stated in February that this was a politically motivated decision, and it seems likely that this most recent decision was also for political purposes.
Brok, Langen respond with letter to Thai Ambassador to EU
Furthermore, New Europe has seen and can verify the authenticity of an additional letter sent by MPs Brock and Langen to the Thai ambassador days prior to the rejection of Shinawatra’s request to address the Parliament.
The letter extends an additional request to allow the Thai government to tell its side of the story, and explains that the original letter they sent to Shinawatra is in fact authentic. Given that this letter was sent prior to Shinawatra’s travel denial, combined with its content lends credit to the belief that denying Shinawatra the right to speak to the European Parliament is a political decision set to further strain the country’s relationship with the EU.
See the letter below:
Relations with EU strained
The lack of a return to democracy in Thailand has been highly disturbing to EU policymakers, and the decision by MEPs Elmar Brok and Werner Langen to send a letter to former PM Shinawatra has been echoed by official statements from the European Parliament going as far as declaring the coup illegal:
“(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,”
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