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Let's talk about this

Here's a call for an open dialogue on the referendum.

The Kingdom of Thailand has for generations occupied a special place in the hearts of many nations.

Fiercely independent and enterprising, Thailand has traditionally played an important role in strengthening regional cooperation, boosting international trade, and promoting shared global values.

That is why our governments aspire for Thailand to emerge quickly from the current period of political transition with a sustainable democracy, a thriving economy, and a united vision for the future.

The recent UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) offered a valuable opportunity to discuss the current human rights challenges facing Thailand.

We hope the Thai government values the inputs it received and will implement its international commitments under the UPR framework to address the concerns raised by the international community.

In the weeks following the UPR, the Thai government took several positive steps to open political space, including lifting travel bans on individuals, allowing peaceful demonstrations on the May 22 coup anniversary, and permitting academic discussions of the draft constitution.

However, more recently, we have seen several troubling actions, including the arrest of activists, the shutdown of opposition media, and restrictions on freedom of expression.

While we would condemn any efforts to use the referendum process to promote or provoke violence, we are concerned that prohibitions on the peaceful public expression of views inhibit debate and increase tensions.

Responsible and robust public discussion is not a threat to stability. The UN recently stated that "respect for human rights and the rule of law are important elements for sustainable development" and emphasised "the need for open and inclusive dialogue to promote democracy and support national reconciliation".

Our governments join the UN in stressing the importance of these principles in finding a consensus uniting all Thai people for the future.

As friends and partners of Thailand, we want the Kingdom to be free, strong, and united as it navigates the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

That is why we care deeply about the process of Thailand's current political transition.

We urge the government to allow the Thai people to engage in open dialogue, forge common links, and find the consensus needed to build a strong and sustainable future for all.

This statement is endorsed by the ambassadors of Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, also the head of the European Union Delegation, and the ambassadors of Canada and the United States.


Kudos to THAI

Heartiest congratulations to the Thai Airways International board, executives and staff, especially my former boss, Thai president Charamporn Chotikasathien, on THAI being named the Most Improved Airline over the past 12 months by Skytrax World Airline Awards.

The recognition is exceedingly well-earned, considering that many others had tried and failed.

PM Prayut and the junta also are to be congratulated on focusing on turning financially failing state enterprises around, including THAI, so that they no longer drag us down.

All state enterprises must improve their performance so that they earn their own keep, or be privatised.

THAI and the other state enterprises must keep up their efforts, benchmarking themselves against the best of their competitors, so that they may serve our nation.

Again, three cheers for THAI.

Burin Kantabutra

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