FOLLOWING recent international pressure to amend, or even abolish, Thailand’s lèse majesté law, its Justice Minister has hit back at critics, saying other countries did not understand the law’s necessity as they lacked “civilization, sensitivity, and gentleness.”
Gen. Paiboon Koomchaya said that in having a monarchy, Thailand was “unique and civilized”, making it necessary to have Article 112, or the lèse majesté law, reported Prachatai English.
“They don’t have 70 years [of the King’s reign] like us. They don’t. They don’t have civilization, sensitivity, and the gentleness that we have received; tell them this,” said Paiboon, in an interview with Bluesky Channel on Wednesday.
In Geneva, Switzerland, the United Nations held its Universal Periodic Review (UPR). During the review, leaders from many countries expressed their concerns with the government’s use of the lèse majesté law.
— UN Human Rights Asia (@OHCHRAsia) May 11, 2016
Paiboon told members of the media at the Government Complex that Thailand needed to compromise human rights principles for the sake of peace and order, claiming that it is just a temporary situation.
“To reform the country into peace and order, we have to do this. This might not comply with international principles, but we all know what the country looked like before May 22, 2014. It is thus necessary for us to have some unique regulations for a while, but not permanently,” he added.
The Southeast Asian country is known for cracking down on those who contravene the law, most recently a dissident’s mother for failing to rebut a Facebook message that allegedly defamed the country’s royal family.
Human rights organizations have condemned the alleged abuse of the law by the military junta since it came into power in 2014.
Several netizens expressed their incredulity at Paiboon’s comments:
— Saksith Saiyasombut (@Saksith) May 12, 2016
— Jerome Taylor (@JeromeTaylor) May 12, 2016
@BangkokWatchdog The minister should do his homework, many countries have a
Lèse-majesté law, but they don't abuse it same like thailand
— Asia-News-De (@base_thai) May 12, 2016