WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) today led a group of seven of their Senate colleagues in introducing a Senate Resolution to underscore the United States’ commitment to human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Thailand. The senators’ resolution follows recent demonstrations by Thailand’s pro-democracy movement, which have been met with violence and repression by the country’s government.
Joining Menendez and Durbin in introducing the resolution were Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.) Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) andChris Murphy (D-Conn.)
“At a time when democracy is under assault from so many quarters it is critical that the United States Senate stand with the democracy movement in Thailand,” said Menendez. “Thailand’s reformers are not seeking a revolution. They are simply yearning for democratic changes to their country’s political system, for freedom of speech and assembly, and for Thailand to be a part of the community of democratic nations. With this resolution, we are sending a clear message of solidarity and support for freedom of speech and freedom of assembly in Thailand, and urge all parties not to engage in needless violence or harassment. The United States need to make clear to the Thai people and the international community that our alliance and long-term partnership with Thailand will continue to be based on shared interests and values, and mutual respect for democracy, basic human rights and the rule of law.”
“Thailand has been an important American ally – one that stepped up to help its Burmese neighbors in their struggle for democracy. Today the world is watching as the Thai people raise their voices to reassert the same democratic aspirations that we Americans hold so dear,” Durbin said. “As the people of Thailand debate changes to their constitution, their political future should be defined through peaceful dialogue, not violence, harassment, or persecution. In particular, the voices of the many brave Thai students and youth deserve attention and respect.”
“As a Thai-American who fought to protect the right to peacefully protest here at home, I know that both the long-standing, strong relationship between the U.S. and Thailand as well as every individual’s inalienable democratic rights are critically important to uphold and defend,” said Duckworth. “Thailand is a strong partner with the U.S.—both in terms of our shared national security priorities and economic relations—and the Thai people have a proud history of democratic reform. I urge Thai leadership to listen to the people and respect the democratic principles at the heart of the government they’ve worked so hard to form.”
A copy of the Senators’ resolution can be found HERE.