Friday, September 22, 2006

A Power Grab is a Step Backward!

We, the member-organization of the regional network Young Progressives Southeast Asia [YPSEA] express our collective concern on teh very recent damage to the already fragile democracy in Thailand. Alarmed by the military takeover and the subsequent declaration of Martial Law, we express our solidarity with our Thai comrades in this crucial time.
As young progressives, we are committed to the advancement of democracy in our own countries and in the region. Together, we have vowed to uphold the spirit of genuine democracy where there is none and to protect it when it is threatened. We have hoined together to be sentinels of our own democracies.
While we are one with other progressive groups in Thailand calling for a thorough accounting and resolution of very serious corruption issues under the Thaksin government and we deplore the high-handed methods of Thaksin himself, we are convinced that genuine reforms cannot be set into motion by a power grab. The history of our countries and the region is replete with examples attesting that a lack of respect to civilian supremacy and shortcuts in democratic processlead to the escalation of human rights violation and grest abuse of power.
While we hold Mr. Thaksin accountable and urge him to face squarely the cases filed against him by the Thai people and to completely keep out of Thai politics, we reiterate that we do not condone the use of military might to declare Martila Law once again in Thailand. Countries in the region that have gone through Martial Law can well describe the chilling effects of military rule. This recent action taken by Thai military is a major setback to the democratic gains that the people of Thailand have worked so hard for.
The military takeover in Thailand is clearly a step backward, especially at time when many patriotic civilian groups in the region are taking steps to achieve genuine democracy in their own countries. It is unfortunate that the political crisis brought about by corruption issues of the Thaksin government seems to be resulting in a greater bind: the violation of the basic right of the people to resolve their own issues and determine the shape of their politics via democratic means.
We sternly warn against any force in Thailand, the Military Junta in particular, against using the situation to instigate a violaent crackdown against any group that will continue to exercise their right to peaceful means of dissents and actions.
Our solidarity in the defense of the fundamental rights of the people of Thailand will remain steadfast. Never must we allow small groups of armed men take over our democratic space, no matter how small, under the guise of benevolent stewardship. Our solidarity extends to genuine collective action that will be led by the people of Thailand towards a peaceful, democratic and just resolution of any and all political conflict.
We call for more democracy in Thailand, not less. The key democratic institutions like the media and press freedom must be immedaitely restored and safeguarded.
We urge the so-called "Administrative Reform Group under the Democratic System" to restore civilian order and call for elections!
We appeal to young people in the region to make a people-centered democracy a reality in Southeast Asia!
Student Federation of Thailand [SFT], Young People for Democracy [YPD], Khmer Youth Association [KYA], People Center for Democracy and Peace [PDP Center], Pergerakan Indonesia [PI], Senjarta Kartini [SEKAR], Malaysia Youth and Student Democratic Movement [DEMA], Democratic Action Party - Socialist Youth [DAPSY], Progressive and Democratic Youth Movement [PRODEM], Student Council Alliance of the Philippines [SCAP], Movement for the Advancement of Student Power [MASP], AKBAYAN! Citizen's Action Party - Youth Wing [AKBAYAN! Youth], Alyansa ng Nagkakaisang Lakas ng Kabataan [ALYANSA], Bukluran sa Ika-uunlad ng Sosyalistang Isip at Gawa [BISIG Youth], First Time Voter's Network [FTV Network]

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