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Europarlementariërs reageren boos op de weigering van Thailand om de voormalige premier Europa te laten bezoeken

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Yingluck-Shinawatra-012Twee EP-leden die de voormalige Thaise premier Yingluck Shinawatra hebben uitgenodigd (foto) om naar Europa te gaan om van gedachten te wisselen over de politieke situatie in Thailand, hebben boos gereageerd op een besluit om haar toestemming om het land te verlaten te weigeren.

Elmar Brok and Werner Langen, two senior German deputies, branded the move as “deeply disappointing.”

The two centre-right members also reaffirmed their determination to ensure that Shinawatra is able “to travel to Europe freely.”

They were responding to a decision on 1 December by Thailand’s Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders to reject the request to Shinawatra to travel to Europe.

In its order, the court said the invitation was “insufficient reason” for her to leave the country at the present time and, as such, the request was turned down.

Shinawatra is facing a legal case to be tried by the Supreme Court, possibly in January, in connection with her government’s rice-pledging scheme.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Brok, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, and Langen, the ASEAN delegation chairman, stressed the “importance” of having an exchange of views with Shinawatra.

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They said a meeting at the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs and the delegation for relations with the ASEAN should take place “at the earliest.”

The statement said they were “surprised and deeply disappointed” with the decision of the Thai authorities to “block her appearance in an open debate in the European Parliament.”

Both Brok and Langen called for the Thai military junta, which has run the country since a coup in May 2014, to “take appropriate and urgent action” to enable Shinawatra “to travel to Europe freely.

The statement added, “Both the Foreign Affairs Committee and ASEAN delegation are also ready to continue the meetings with the Thai authorities in Brussels.”

The two members also criticized Thai officials for “trying to give the wrong impression” that they had not sent their invitation to Shinawatra in the name of their respective committees.  The statement was issued in the name of the committees they chair.

They also underlined the “desire of the European Parliament” to visit Thailand in 2016 in order to meet the   Thai Parliament, government representatives, civil society and opposition leaders, including Shinawatra.

De verklaring is ook volledig gepubliceerd op de officiële website van de Commissie buitenlandse zaken, wat de duidelijke steun en steun van de AFET-commissie betekent.

“This pours cold water on the Thai junta’s attempt to cast doubt on the authority and authenticity of the original invitation,” said one EU insider.

De kans dat Shinawatra, momenteel op borgtocht van 30 miljoen baht in de rijstverpandingszaak, ingaat op de uitnodiging om met het parlement te praten, zal uiteindelijk afhangen van het Hooggerechtshof.

In their original 7 October invitation, sent via the Thai ambassador to the EU, Brok and Langen said they wanted an exchange views on the political situation in Thailand, which they considered “worrying” following the coup.

The letter recalled Shinawatra’s successful visit to the European Union in March 2013, when she was prime minister.

De staatsgreep van 2014 waarbij de regering van Shinawatra werd omvergeworpen, werd breed veroordeeld door de Verenigde Staten, de Europese Unie en Japan.

In januari ontmoette de Amerikaanse assistent-staatssecretaris voor Oost-Aziatische en Pacifische zaken, Daniel Russel, Shinawatra, maar niet juntaleider annex premier generaal Prayuth Chan-ocha – een gebaar dat de militaire regering diep irriteerde.

Shinawatra is de zus van Thaksin Shinawatra – een voormalige premier die tijdens een staatsgreep in 2006 werd afgezet en wiens populistische beleid nog steeds breed wordt gesteund door de plattelandsbevolking.

Sinds de staatsgreep in mei vorig jaar stond de NCPO Shinawatra toe om in juli Frankrijk te bezoeken, daarna Japan en China met haar zoon in oktober. Ze ontmoette haar broer, oud-premier Thaksin, in China.

Sek Wannamethee, the Thai foreign ministry spokesman, conceded that members of the European Parliament had the right to invite whoever they wished for a discussion and UK centre right MEP Charles Tannock is among those who say they would welcome the chance to speak to Shinawatra, saying, “Many of us interested in safeguarding democracy in Thailand would be very interested to meet her and hear what she has to say as a former Prime Minister if she visits us in Brussels or Strasbourg.”

De junta ligt de laatste tijd steeds meer onder vuur op verschillende fronten, waaronder vermeende schendingen van rechten, plus mensenhandel, onderdrukking van burgerrechten op vrijheid van meningsuiting, beweging en vergadering, evenals schendingen van internationale visserijregelgeving.

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