What is your main concern for Thailand?
The broad definition of terrorism is a matter of my concern. The Thai terrorism-related law in 2003 has a definition that goes too far, in my view, by classifying attacks against public and private property and infrastructure such as communications facilities as terrorism, while I take the view that it must be deadly or otherwise serious violence against members of the general population or segments of it.
You means the Thai law is not in line with the international principle?
There is no internationally agreed definition of terrorism. I’m in favour of narrowing [the definition] to only when it results in a huge loss of human life, terrorising or creating fear or compelling a government to do something.
Violence in the far South of Thailand has contained those elements you have mentioned. So are those incidents acts of terrorists?
Yes, if they are deadly attacks against civilians. But I’m not calling anybody terrorists. I am speaking about criteria.
But the Thai government did not call them terrorists. They were called insurgents, while those involved in anti-government protests in Bangkok were labelled terrorists. Shouldn’t this discrimination be a concern for human rights defenders?
Yes, it’s a concern for me that the definition of terrorism is used in a selective, political or abusive way as a tool for government to stigmatise whoever they don’t like, such as minorities, trade unions, religious movements, etc.
Thailand’s too broad definition [of terrorist acts] allows a selective, political application. I have information about the treatment of the red shirts and yellow shirts [People’s Alliance for Democracy] that gives rise to concern that there may be selective and politically motivated different treatment. I want to come to the country to look into it before making a conclusion.
Filed under: Thailand