EU Won’t Normalize Thai Relations Until Democratic Government is Restored

The European Union is holding off normalizing Thai ties until the current military government relinquishes its power back to the people, a top human rights official said.

Pier Antonio Panzeri, chairman of the European Parliament’s Human Rights subcommittee, said the junta must ensure free and fair elections that meet international standards as well as restore “a democratically elected civilian government with functional democratic institutions.”

Panzeri and several other EU officials, on a recent visit to Thailand, also petitioned the ruling government to get rid of all restrictions on basic human rights in the Southeast Asian nation, especially the recent crackdowns on freedom of expression, association, and assembly.

The EU committee argued that for far too long, Thai security forces and authorities have gotten away with human rights abuses, that are oftentimes never seriously investigated.

The European delegates also made it clear that no free trade negotiations will continue between the two parties until capital punishment is outright banned in the country. Thailand recently executed its first prisoner in nine years.

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