Thai government’s alleged HR violations with Red Shirts

The Red Shirts next rallying point seems to be forming around alleged human rights violations that occurred when the March to May Red Shirt rally was finally disbursed. Conclusions have already been drawn and anger is mounting even before the independent investigation starts. So before the investigation starts, Connecting the Dots would like to point out some grounding facts.

The Red Shirt response and accusations on human rights violations was seen coming from the moment the Red Shirts first started their rally back in March. It has been seen before and no doubt will be seen again. It is part of the standard distortions that have been spewing from the Red Shirts as well as the Pheu Thai Party (PTP) every chance they get.

Connecting the Dots very simply wants to point out the hard facts that will quickly set the stage on how this can and should play out. First and most important is you can not apply rules for situation ‘A’ to situation ‘B’.

During the first attempted disbursement of the Red Shirt rally, the military used the same tactics applied during the April 2009 riots. That was the use of shields and batons, and that was found to be within the international guidelines. But during that first attempt it was discovered that the Red Shirts were now armed with military weapons and were using them on the riot disbursement forces. That prompted the military to retreat and regroup. This was the point that situation ‘A’ ended and situation ‘B’ began.

Situation ‘A’ is an unarmed mob with little more than sticks and stones as weapons. In that situation the alleged human rights violations are being weighed to. However it was situation ‘B’ that actually existed and the one factor that changed things to situation ‘B’ was the Red Shirts were using military weapons including Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG) of the M79 variety. The Red Shirts could no longer be classified as an unarmed mob. In this case they could be classified as any number of other things from an attacking army to whatever. In that situation the rules change and so do the human rights standards.

Putting aside the seemingly endless wait before the military finally moved on the Red Shirts, every effort was made including containment. When the Red Shirts went on the offensive and attacked the box they were put in, they used military weapons and tactics. This made it easier to classify the Red Shirts as an attacking army looking to overthrow the government. For lack of a better definition it could be seen as Thaksin’s private coup attempt.

Based on the later angry responses from Thaksin pointed at pro Thaksin elements in the military that failed to turn on the government, it provided another bit of proof that this was no group of passive protesters. Because of that, new standards could be applied and still remain within international standards as well as human rights standards. In short this was war as the Red Shirts had said it would be. So with the Red Shirts calling it war, and the actions of the Red Shirts matching war, an armed military response was justified to protect King and country.

The only point of true contention is what happened at Wat Pathum Wanaram. Seeing that the PTP already came up with photos saying one thing, and the autopsy reports say another, it is clear distortions were already being applied by the Pro Thaksin people to fuel more hatred. It is only this particular part of the events that are still situation ’A’ as the temple was declared to be a safe haven.  All other events clearly met situation ’B’ and should only be weighed under those standards. Seeing it was a war situation, human rights has little to say about the assault as long as torture was not used on prisoners.

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