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US, other nations express concerns over Thai coup

May 23, 2014

The military coup in Thailand has drawn criticism from many world leaders, with the U.S. saying there was “no justification” for the coup and France also condemning it. A summary of reactions:


Washington, which froze U.S. military assistance after Thailand’s last coup in 2006 for 1½ years until democracy was restored, said it was reviewing military ties and preparing to suspend up to $10 million in aid to Thailand. It also called for the release of any detained political leaders and voiced concern about media restrictions under the coup.

“There is no justification for this military coup,” Secretary of State John Kerry said. “I urge the restoration of civilian government immediately, a return to democracy, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, such as press freedoms.”


U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urged rule of law to be restored promptly. “I am very concerned by the restrictions on fundamental freedoms imposed by the (military leaders),” Pillay said, adding that freedom of expression and freedom of assembly are particularly important in resolving political differences.

Pillay also said detained political leaders should be released and that the emergency powers the military invoked should be temporary and limited. “I remind the authorities that the implementation of any emergency measures must comply with international human rights standards. The right to life and the prohibition against torture cannot be breached, regardless of the circumstances.”


Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said the coup was a setback to the democracy that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has tried to engender. Thailand is one of the founders of the 10-nation security and political bloc.

“Having this situation certainly would be inconsistent with ASEAN’s collective support for democratic principles and constitutional government,” Natalegawa told The Associated Press on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on East Asia in Manila.


Foreign Secretary William Hague said he was “extremely concerned” by the coup.

“The U.K. urges the restoration of a civilian government that has been democratically elected, serves the interests of its people and fulfills its human rights obligations,” he said in a statement, adding that “only by openly discussing the full range of issues can Thailand move forward and reach a more stable position.”


President Francois Hollande condemned the coup. In a statement issued by his office, he called for an immediate return to constitutional order and electoral process. He also called for the respect of the Thai people’s fundamental rights and freedoms.


Foreign Minister Murray McCully expressed concern over the coup and the suspension of the constitution. “It is difficult to see how military rule will ease Thailand’s current political crisis. The detention of political leaders is unacceptable,” he said in a statement issued by his office.


Tokyo said the coup was “deeply regrettable.”

“Japan strongly urges those concerned that democracy in Thailand be quickly restored,” Foreign Affairs Minister Fumio Kishida said.

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