A group of relatives and survivors from the April-May 2010 crackdown has made a last-ditch effort to prevent the "wholesale amnesty" being rushed through the second parliamentary reading.
The "Network of No-Wholesale Amnesty" said it was dismayed about the changes to the draft of Worachai Hema's initial bill to amnesty the protesters involved in the April-May 2010 demonstrations against the Abhisit administration.
The government should review any amnesty draft reading and seek exclusive and more consensual deals from the various coloured groups, the network said.
"The majority-led House sub-committee considering the amnesty bill has clearly changed Worachai's article 3 to favour ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in exchange for impunity for the military, former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and for deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban. They should stop this," said Payao Akkahad, before leading dozens of relatives, survivors, students and activists to appeal to the United Nations and the parliament Thursday morning.
The Pheu Thai administration should instead be making an effort to help political prisoners to get bail so that they are not held hostage to the attempt to exchange a whitewash of Abhisit and his military commanders under the orders of Thaksin, said Ms Payao, mother of the volunteer nurse who was killed on the last day of the crackdown inside Wat Pathum Wanaram.
Phusadee Ngamkham, the last red-shirt protester to defy the dispersal order on May 19, 2010 at Ratchaprasong intersection, said she had been thinking hard about whether she should sacrifice her life to send a message to Thai society that it could not allow further impunity.
"How many times has Thailand seen murderers in the capital's streets get away with the crimes they committed? We voted for the Pheu Thai Party in the hope it would not embrace the rotting system of impunity, but they are now staggering towards a whitewash bent for their own benefit," said Ms Phusadee, while carrying a banner saying "Have you asked me if I need the wholesale amnesty?"
Dozens of activists walked from Democracy Monument to send an appeal to Laurent Meillan, representative of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and were then whisked on a shuttle bus to parliament.
Mr Meillan reportedly mentioned to the network a technical note on international law and the UN Policy Regulating Amnesties and said the OHCHR was informed by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra during her visit last month to Geneva that her government had no hand in the on-going amnesty bill attempt.
International law and UN policy do not oppose the granting of amnesties per se, but they both prescribe limits on the lawful and permissible scope of an amnesty, said Punsak Srithep, father of 17-year-old Samapun who was killed at Ratchaprarop on May 15, 2010.
In light of these obligations, it was generally accepted as unlawful any amnesty that prevents the prosecution of gross human rights violations, including international crimes, or prevents victims from seeking an effective remedy, Mr Punsak said after reading the OHCHR technical note.
The OHCHR has previously cautioned that the draft amnesty bill might not comply with the international standards in a number of respects.
"The proposed amnesty should fully and clearly exclude all categories of conduct that, under international law and UN policy, should be subject to investigation and, where the evidence warrants, prosecution. In particular, it should explicitly exclude gross human rights violations, including extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, including gender-specific instances of these offences," according to the technical note issued on Aug 22.
At the parliament, representatives of the network were received by Vicharn Meenchainan, a member of the House sub-committee considering the second reading of the amnesty bill.
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