Washington (March 20, 2023) – On the anniversary of the 1833 signing of the Siamese-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce treaty, which first established relations between the United States and Thailand, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) today introduced their resolution urging the Government of Thailand to protect and uphold democracy, human rights, the rule of law, the right to assemble peacefully, and the right to free expression. In 2014, the Royal Thai military abolished the country’s constitution and replaced its civilian government with the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). The Thai military later enacted a new constitution granting themselves excessive power at the expense of civil society. Independent monitoring groups have since raised the alarm on the country’s electoral process for heavily favoring its military, while other foreign governments and the United Nations have called on the NCPO to allow the people of Thailand, news organizations, and journalists to voice their opinions freely without censorship or fear of persecution.
“The people of Thailand deserve fair and free elections,” said Senator Markey. “Our resolution will make that clear to the Government of Thailand. The United States must show its support for human rights and democracy so that the political power is back in the hands of Thailand’s people – not military leaders.”
“Thailand has been an important American ally – one that stepped up to help its Burmese neighbors in their struggle for democracy,” said Senate Majority Whip Durbin. “The Thai military’s unfortunate intervention in the country’s politics and constitution and ensuing years of political unrest have been of concern to its democratic allies. By introducing this resolution, we reaffirm U.S. support for human rights, free elections, and democratic aspirations shared by the American and Thai people.”
A copy of the resolution can be found HERE.
In March, Senator Markey, then-Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia and the Pacific, and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) sent a letter requesting that the governments of Thailand and the U.S. address concerns raised over a proposed Thai Non-Government Organization law, which human rights group said would undermine Thailand’s rule of law.