The Feb. 20 editorial “Thailand’s rule by force” grossly misrepresented the situation in the country.
Thailand has not wavered in its commitment to democracy. Progress is being made, and the new constitution’s drafting and consultation process must, by law, be completed by September. After its enactment, Thailand will hold multiparty elections early next year. To prejudge the constitution’s contents or even to presume a referendum will not be held is not appropriate. The talk of election delay was in anticipation of the time needed to organize a referendum.
As with every country, Thailand has to balance its national security with respect for civil liberty. Martial law is necessary to maintain public safety. Fed up with prolonged street protests and random violence, the Thai public is not affected by this deterrence. Martial law will, however, have to be lifted before elections to allow vibrant and participatory campaigning.
There are no political prisoners in Thailand, and former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra will be accorded due process in our Supreme Court.
Thailand’s goal is to achieve democratic rule, where key principles such as good governance, transparency and accountability are respected. Further, anti-human trafficking and anti-child pornography bills to further improve human rights protections are being pushed into law.
Pisan Manawapat, Washington
The writer is Thailand’s ambassador to the United States.