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La imatge internacional negativa de Tailàndia provoca preocupació

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0013729e44601408d0a310A “significant minority” of people in Thailand are “worried or somewhat worried” about the country’s negative international scrutiny.

This is one of the main findings of a major survey of Thai people which also found that the economic downturn in the country is one of the “top three concerns” for Thai citizens. The survey sampled 1,252 respondents, cutting across every region in Thailand, education level and occupation.

L'enquesta va ser un esforç de col·laboració entre l'Institut Nacional d'Administració del Desenvolupament de Tailàndia i el Programa d'Estudis de Tailàndia de l'Institut Yusof Ishak i es va titular Enquestes de Tailàndia: sobre prioritats en qüestions domèstiques i sobre reaccions a la crítica internacional sobre els drets humans.

The authors point out that  Thailand “has recently come in for international criticism over a variety of human-rights related issues”. The EU has also threatened to impose an import ban on Thai fishing products unless the  Thai authorities comply with international fishing rules. The US, EU and international organizations such as Human Rights Watch have, they say, accused Thailand of violating human rights on various issues including human trafficking,the arrest of 14 college students and the extradition of illegal Uyghur immigrants back to China.

The United Nations called Thailand’s actions a “flagrant violation of international law” while the US also condemned the deportations and voiced deep concern about protection of asylum seekers in Thailand. Amnesty International said the Muslim Uighurs could face detention or torture in China.

“Nonetheless,” state the authors of the survey, “little has been known about what ordinary Thais think of the barrage of international criticism.” This is what the survey sought to rectify. When asked for a reaction to criticism from the US and  EU on human rights violations,  14% said they were “very worried” while 28% said they were “somewhat worried”. Some 13.6% of Thais said the criticisms by the West “are expressed with good intentions and are part of the West’s roles and responsibilities” while 10.9% believed that Thailand had “truly violated human rights”.

“From the findings you can see that a significant minority were worried,” said the Institute. “Conversely, the majority, about 58%, were not very worried. “In light of such figures, public support for the government’s stance on human rights will continue to be divided while the issues themselves remain contentious.”

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En qüestions internes, l'enquesta va trobar que la crisi econòmica del país, que ha empitjorat des del cop d'estat militar del maig de 2014, és el tema més urgent per al 33.2% dels tailandesos. No gaire enrere, amb un 29.9%, es trobaven els reptes de reg que s'enfronta el sector agrari, que es van traduir en cultius danyats i manca d'aigua potable per al bestiar.

The Institute says that since the coup which he led, the Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, has sought to “shore up” the government’s legitimacy with the Thai public. “Initially justified as a means to bring law and order to the country, the National Council for Peace and Order has had to make the transition from focusing on law and order concerns to addressing the multitude of long term challenges facing Thailand.

“Without the requisite experience in government, Prayut has found this transition difficult to make.” It goes on: “The PM’s weekly TV programmes serve to assure the nation that the NCPO is aware of its tasks. Nevertheless, if the sluggish economy refuses to pick up, public discontent may rise again.”

The Institute, based in Singapore, seeks to “inform decision-makers in the public and private sectors as well as scholars and interested members of the public about key issues and their significance” in Thailand.

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