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A file photo of the APEC 2022 event launch.(Source: Thaigov.go.th)

Prayut should not use APEC to justify his own cause, says CSOs

APEC 2022’s unlawful chairman General Prayut should stop using APEC to push apocalyptic policies against the will and benefit of the people, says a network of civil society organisations.

Following the 2014 coup d’état, General Prayut Chan-o-cha led the military junta to enact the 2017 Constitution which widely restricted the fundamental rights and liberties of the people. In the 2019 General Election, the junta government whitewashed its illegitimacy, using distorted electoral rules and legal procedures to remain in power.

Up to this moment, the legacy of General Prayut’s exercise of absolute power under Section 44 of the 2014 Interim Constitution includes a number of initiatives that affect the vast majority of the people living in the country: the forest repatriation policy; forced mine closures; the creation of special economic zones; the promotion of large-scale infrastructure projects; the amendment of national land policy; the amendment of forest policy; the introduction of carbon credit initiatives; a plant variety protection law – and recently, legislation that allows foreign land ownership in Thailand.

However, General Prayut refuses to use his power to check the activities of big corporations such the alcohol industry, commercial monopolies, and unsustainable fishing practices.

We, Ratsadon #StopAPEC2022, contend that General Prayut’s political transition from 2014 military junta leader to present day prime minister is grounded on collaboration with monopoly conglomerates and favourable practices towards foreign investors. The Prayut Administration frequently silences dissenting voices, using disproportionate force again peaceful protests, unlawful physical and online intimidations, strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP ), while enacting legislation that restricts civic liberties, demolishes rule of law, and twists the country’s legal system.

General Prayut’s policy directives are a blatant attack on ordinary people, the poor, vulnerable, and marginalised.  There is no legitimacy to his leadership at APEC 2022. In the past, General Prayut, while shamelessly expressing confidence in his role as prime minister, revealed his incompetence on international stage by failing to represent Thailand’s national interest and protect the nation’s sovereignty. By hosting APEC 2022, the Prayut Administration opportunistically takes to the global stage to reinforce neoliberal economy policies under the Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) Economy Model. While the BCG model may benefit big businesses, it will have drastic social and economic consequences  for farmers, workers, and other members of society as follows:

  1. Bio Economy Policy will open the gate for genetic thievery, facilitating corporate monopolisation of seed markets and related biodiversity technology;
  2. Circular Economy Policy will encourage the production of fuel-oil crops and power plant construction on agricultural land, reducing food production and undermining food security while causing environmental damage and pollution;
  3. Green Economy Policy will give the state a false climate solution in the form of the Carbon Credit Initiative without holding corporates responsible for their emissions.  It will also take land from farmers, workers, and the poor to operate a carbon credit market, deepening climate injustice. We believe that food, energy, land, the forest, and the climate crisis - matters of critical importance to fundamental rights - should not be profit-making opportunities for corporations. Local food production, for example, is a form of social welfare where small-scale farmers produce and provide for the society based on access to land, forest, and natural resources.

We, Ratsadon #StopAPEC2022, contend that APEC2022 should not be a platform to rubber stamp illegitimate government and corporate profits.  General Prayut’s authoritarian administration has used raw power to control and suppress peasants, workers, and ordinary people. We do not acknowledge partnerships with authoritarian states that deny basic rights and freedoms to people.

Ratsadon #StopAPEC2022, a grassroots network of peasants, workers, the poor and the marginalised ordinary people defending our right to advance democracy, demand the following:

  1. That the Prayut Administration renounce the BCG Economy Model proposal, including relevant laws and regulations supporting its recognition at APEC 2022. The BCG Economy Model is designed to facilitate economic advantage for a handful of big corporates, burdening Thailand and global community with greater impacts from climate injustice;
  2. That General Prayut Chan-o-Cha stand down from his chairmanship, as he has no legitimacy to represent Thailand during APEC negotiations;
  3. That the Prayut Administration announce the House of Representatives’ dissolution; facilitating a free and fair general election; and the drafting of a new constitution to guarantee inclusive participation and genuine democracy – to stand alongside other democratic countries in the international arena.

We, Ratsadon #StopAPEC2022, announce our mobilisation during 16-18 November 2022, paralleling the APEC 2022 Summit, to pursue the above demands. We also call for the public to monitor the APEC negotiation process and its results.

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