The Asia-Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC), strongly condemns the military coup d’etat declared late last week that supplanted Thailand’s civilian government with military rule. In less than a week’s time we witnessed the decisive and unabashed willingness of Thailand’s military to forcibly quick march its civilian government through its own interpretation of democracy, consultation, due processes and freedoms granted by its own constitution. In less than a week’s time, General Prayuth Chan-Ocha’s forces instituted martial law, disenfranchised the caretaker government selected by the judiciary, shut down public broadcast and gatherings, enforced dialogues between conflicting parties, detained leading opposition figures, and when developments proved unsatisfactory, ultimately declared a coup d’etat and arrogated upon itself the power to govern.

APSOC vigorously calls for the return of power to Thailand’s civilian government. We find the coup d’etat as unjustifiable and an iron-handed response to popular and democratic expressions, and a threat to human rights and freedoms. Whereas violence may have erupted and deaths may have resulted during public protests, these were matters that the police forces were constitutionally mandated to address, the judiciary to process and ultimately, the people to cast judgment upon. Despite the protracted debates and expressions of dissent, there was no overt evidence that conditions had so deteriorated that military intervention, if at all, was ever warranted. APSOC thus feels that the coup d’etat pre-empts the Thai peoples’ right to self-determination and should be corrected immediately.

In the wake of Thailand’s crisis, APSOC reiterates its call for continuing the process of diplomacy and dialogue, for exploring proven as well as new processes towards peacefully resolving conflict whether within or outside national borders, for nations to ensure that human rights and human security are always guaranteed. APSOC continues to encourage the setting-up of mechanisms that ensure sustainable avenues to conflict resolution and peace building.

APSOC also sees the situation in Thailand as a timely opportunity for the ASEAN nations to be consulted, and even involved in resolving Thailand’s crisis. This would show the maturation and true coming together of the ten-nation association, coming together to aid a partner nation in crisis. The ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR) may perhaps now convene towards aiding in resolving Thailand’s crisis.

In closing, APSOC reiterates that Thailand’s own history has disproven coup d’etats as a viable measure towards establishing a true democracy. Thus, APSOC believes that the sooner the country returns to its democratic framework and principles, the sooner the country shall be restored onto the path of true democracy. Perhaps it is also hight time for Thailand to study the lessons of its history together with that of its neighbors and from there, move forward in building a true democracy its people have long been clamoring for.

Please address clarifications and/or inquiries to Gus Miclat, IID Executive Director or Raul Torralba, KMCU-IID – for the APSOC Secretariat