Last week, we pointed out an open letter sent by the Asian Human Rights Commission to the Foreign Minister of Argentina about Surakiart Sathirathai. The Bangkok Post has reported on the meeting and its follow up:
Argentina understands Thailand’s position on human rights and has no problem with Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai becoming UN secretary-general, said an aide for Mr Surakiart. Sorajak Kasemsuwan said yesterday that Mr Surakiart had met with Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana, who, he said, had expressed understanding for the human rights situation in Thailand.
We wonder if the Argentinian Foreign Ministry has a statement?
In response to this news story, AHRC issued a statement. Excerpts:
The reason is that like Thailand, Argentina has had a long and terrible history of forced disappearances, killing, torture and other gross abuses of human rights, of which the foreign minister was himself a victim. But unlike Thailand, Argentina has passed through the period of worst abuses and is now working to give redress to the victims and belatedly prosecute alleged perpetrators. While there is still much for the country to do, when compared to anywhere in Asia it is far advanced in addressing and accounting for human rights violations.
Human rights begin at home. Anybody holding a high government office that has done nothing to address rampant injustices and abuses in his own country cannot seriously be expected to do the same for anyone else. Anybody holding a high government office who responds to legitimate and studied criticism with evasion and denial cannot seriously be expected to consider and address the causes for that criticism. The Asian Human Rights Commission is sad to say that the deputy prime minister of Thailand has still done nothing to answer the question, “What are your qualifications to be UN secretary general?”