Human Rights Watch calls on protesters to cease obstruction of voting


BANGKOK, 29 January 2014  Human Rights Watch has called for protest leaders in Thailand to cease their obstruction of the election process, as it is a violation of a basic human right under democratic principles. 

Sunai Phasuk, advisor to Human Rights Watch, spoke of the holding of the general election by the Election Commission of Thailand, on a radio program on Tuesday. He said he was saddened by the performance of the EC, which had allowed citizens with voting rights to have their rights diminished. According to Sunai, the recent developments were the most severe impediments to an election process that ever occurred in Thailand. He added that the right to vote reflected an equality of rights among people, and the entire population of the country was being punished by the acts of the groups obstructing the election.

A statement on the Human Rights Watch website also called on anti-government protest leaders to cease their obstruction of the voting process in Bangkok and other provinces, although it also called on state officials to allow peaceful protests.

Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch, noted, “The protesters claim they are fighting corruption and seeking reforms, but this doesn’t justify their use of force and intimidation to block voting”. “Preventing people from casting ballots shows serious contempt for basic rights of voters and democratic principles”.