UNITED NATIONS (TRNS) – The UN has voiced their opinion on the current events in Thailand, in a statement by the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) in Thailand. They urged both parties to refrain from violence, and resolve the situation democratically. In a statement by UNICEF, concern was expressed for the the children whose education is at a disadvantage, as the country’s Ministry of Education has reported “934 educational facilities have been closed” “affecting nearly 317,000 students”. While the report urges both parties to respect the rights of students, many facilities would still remain closed until safety is guaranteed for their children and employees. Unfortunately this may not occur until a resolution is reached in this conflict.
Amidst the growing tensions in Thailand over the recent elections, the government faces problems amongst its rice farming community. Rice in Thailand is subsidized tremendously by the government to beat all other prices, just as cotton is in the US. This system has become a problem now, in the worst time, because a major Chinese company just backed out of a deal to buy 1.2 million tons of rice. A bad business deal involving the government could not have come at a worse time. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her government continue to be touted throughout the country as being corrupt.
This rice subsidizing program is becoming worse, as it is one step closer to knocking down the economy, after draining $6 Billion from taxpayers each year since the beginning of the program. The banks in Thailand have announced that they will not bail out the program as they lacked of faith in it from its inception. Protest leader, Suthep Thaugsuban, agrees that the banks are doing the right thing, as most of the money for this program went straight to the corrupt.
While the Prime Minister believes the rice program to be doing well, very little of the benchmarked money actually went to the farmers, who now have no rice and have yet to be paid. Those that have been paid have received far less than market value as the program cannot afford itself. With situations for the farmers getting desperate, the government is still caught up in its populist mindset, while completely ignoring the people the program is designed for.
Thailand, in somewhat of a state of emergency, has begun to start blaming those leading the protests which have been happening all over the country. They have been issuing warrants for the arrests of the leaders of the protests, including the protest organizer Suthep, who has been leading them since the beginning. The warrants were issued on the grounds that these individuals have led the country to be plunged into this state of emergency as a result of their knowing actions.
This state of emergency the warrants are being issued under, calls for a ban on any political gathering of more than five people. However, the fact that not all the thousands of protesters have warrants for them, and only the few in charge do, make it apparent that this is just a scheme in targeting the protesting opposition leadership.
Just days after the protesters appealed for an annulment of the national election, the opposition Democrat Party filed a complaint to the nations Constitutional Court on the grounds that the elections violated many of the nations constitutional laws. The main law they are claiming was broken is one that requires national elections to be held on a single day, which this one was not.
Many are questioning whether the Democrat Party should have any say in this matter as they did not participate in the election they are protesting the outcome and process of. The Democrat Party didn’t like the fact they were going to lose and decided that the best way to get some support was to rile the people up and get the other party removed on the grounds that the election its supporters disrupted was not able to take place on a single day.
These conflicts don’t look like they are coming to an end, as Polling officials had an unproductive two hour meeting over the issue. The only result from this meeting was that they have decided that only those who were unable to vote because of protests will still have the opportunity to vote.
As economic confidence is at a 26 month low in Thailand, meetings to come over the election need to produce actual results. Otherwise the democracy of the nation could be threatened severely.