Isan activists denounce junta’s legitimacy, saying vicious cycle is back

Human rights groups and NGOs based in Thailand’s North East denounced the legitimacy of the coup makers and the authoritarian regime of the military government, arguing that reform cannot be carried out without public participation.

Many human rights groups and environmental activists based in the North East region, such as the Human Rights and Peace Information Centre and Isan human rights media groups on Sunday, denounced the legitimacy of the junta’s cabinet led by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the appointed National Legislative Assembly (NLA) and National Reform Council (NRC), and other public agencies initiated by the coup makers, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

“The direct effect on the people is that there is no political mechanism appointed by the NCPO which is connected to the people. Thai politics, finally, has returned to the same vicious cycle as before. . . The head of the NCPO uses authoritarian power or military dictatorship to govern without allowing the people to express opinions or question,” announced the group in a statement titled ‘No Reform under the Boot of the Military’.

“At the same time, local civil servants and soldiers are arresting and evicting people from their farm lands and liberalizing procedures to allow industries to attract investment, preparing to issue a Mining Bill and a Public Assembly Bill to control rallies, while fostering deals to give petroleum concessions, selling off natural resources, and pushing a coal-powered electricity generating plant in Krabi. The environmental impacts of these projects are invisible to the leader [PM Prayut] and unfriendly opposition will be handled by martial law, which will not be suspended any time soon,” added the statement.

According to the official statement, the stance of the group is:

1. Rejection of the legitimacy of the coup makers and the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)

2. Condemnation of the junta’s cabinet and the apparatus of the junta government such as the National Legislative Assembly and National Reform Council, and refusal to take any part in the junta’s governance

In the statement confronting the junta, the group also urged people to question whether the top-down reform of the junta will really benefit all people or only themselves and the Thai elite and to ask if the reform is legitimate while basic human rights are still ignored by the junta.

The signatory organizations in the joint statement include the Human Rights and Peace Information Centre (Isan), Legal Centre for Human Rights, etc.