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Thailand's Capital Still Under Emergency Rule




Red shirt protestors use a sling shot to launch a firecracker at Thai security forces from inside their encampment on May 13, 2010 in Bangkok. (Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)

Red shirt protestors use a sling shot to launch a firecracker at Thai security forces from inside their encampment on May 13, 2010 in Bangkok. (Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)

Thailand has had more than its fair share of political unrest this year. Not only has the government had to deal with an insurgency on its southern border, but the violent political clashes in Bangkok between protestors and government troops resulted in over 80 deaths and left 1,500 people wounded.

As of yesterday, July 29, the Thai government has put an end to the emergency rule in six provinces that gave the military power to take charge of security. The nation's capital, however, remains under emergency rule. Critics say that parameters are too broad and could allow for serious human rights violations.

Amnesty International was quoted as saying that the emergency rule, "essentially codifies immunity from prosecution for officials who committed human rights violations so long as they can claim to have done so within the section's broad terms."

Asia Society's Bernard Schwartz Book Award winner, Duncan McCargo, believes that Thailand's recent political problems point to a long-standing underlying cause and reflect, "the unraveling of Siam's 19th-century form of rule."

According to McCargo, "empty" talk of reconciliation isn't going to fix Thailand's political problems. 

"Thailand's violent conflicts both testify to a seismic shift in the country's political landscape...Major changes in those structures, such as genuine decentralization to the regions, are long overdue."

Read McCargo's op-ed, "Thailand's Two Conflicts."

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