Diplomatic scene between Thai FM, US Ambassador over human rights statement

The Thai Foreign Minister has been shamed by the US Ambassador publicly confirming that a statement expressing Washington’s “concerns” on Thailand’s human rights situation is real after the Minister recently claimed that the statement was not issued by the US Department of State. 
 
On Tuesday, 10 May 2016, AFP reported that a spokesperson of the US Department of the State “condemned” Thailand for the arrest on 6 May of an activist's mother. However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs rebutted that the statement expressed only ‘concern’, not ‘condemnation’, and the statement came from a low-ranking staff member of the Department, not a spokesperson.      
 
On Thursday, 12 May 2016, Glyn T. Davies, the US Ambassador to Thailand, confirmed to the media that the statement was indeed authorized by the Department of State, saying that the US was deeply concerned by the recent intimidation of opponents of the junta, just as Katina Adams, the State Department's spokeswoman for East Asia and the Pacific, had already said, Matichon Online reported.
 
Don Pramudwinai (left) and Glyn T. Davies (Right) (source: Thai TV 3)
 
According to Matichon Online, right after a one-and-a-half-hour long meeting between Davies and Don Pramudwinai, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Davies read the statement to the media word by word. 
 
The statement includes various concerns of the US government, including intimidation of junta opponents, suppression of freedom of expression, and the free and fair conduct of the August referendum.
 
“The United States was troubled by the recent arrests of individuals in connection with online postings, and the detention of Patnaree Charnkij,” Davies read from the statement. “These actions create a climate of intimidation and self-censorship.”
 
While he was reading, Don was apparently dissatisfied with Davies’ action because he sighed deeply several times and the papers in his hand shook a little.
 
When Davies finished reading the statement, Don briefly interrupted him and said “Pardon me. When we discussed upstairs, they might be too gracious to bring up all these points, the points that he just raised with you.” 
 
 
Don interrupting Davies' speech (source: Thai TV 3)
 
Don added that all the public needs to know is that the US never used a word or connotation which could be interpreted as “condemnation”. 
 
“Again, I don’t want to keep you too long here. But please, when you want to interpret it, whatever you had, there’s no word which signified condemnation. I want you to hear correctly. There was no single word which carries the connotation of condemnation,” Don said to the media.
 
Then Davies replied “I can confirm that. You did not hear me use the word condemnation in what I just spoke”.
 

 

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