Global class reconciliation expert, Priscilla Haynes, says “Creativity” will help steer Thailand

Well, sadly to say, not too many in Thailand are very creative these days. The saying in Thailand is, the elite establishment willing to burn down the house, meaning Thailand, to catch the mouse, meaning Thaksin. Khao Sod reports; Ms. Priscilla Hayner, an expert in truth-finding commission and transitional justice, said she believes “creativity” will help steer Thailand toward a reconciliation, and criticised the Amnesty Bill for being too vague. Ms. Hayner was speaking in Bangkok at the government-sponsored event aimed at finding solutions to the long-running political conflicts that polarised Thailand. Also speaking at the event was the former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. She advised that both political factions in Thailand should prioritise the negotiation process, and make sure that everyone on the stake agrees on the same context and understanding of reconciliation. In Ms. Hayner’s opinion, reconciliation is discussed when a country wants to forget about the past and seeks to move quickly away from the tragedies. However, she noted, such process is usually rejected by the victims. She mentioned the discussions of the current Amnesty Bill backed by the government which promises to lift responsibility for political violence during the military crackdown in 2010 for everyone except the leaders of the protests and the authorities at the time. Relatives of those who were arrested argued that the bill should be processed quickly to dissolve the conviction of their loved ones, but on the other hand, some questions were raised by families of the victims killed in 2010 whether the bill would hold the military responsible for their atrocities.  Although Thailand can learn from the experiences of reconciliation elsewhere, Ms. Hayner said, there is no absolute international norm for the process, and it is ultimately up to the Thais to devise their own reconciliation with a local context. Ms. Hayner also voiced her concern that the current Amnesty Bill tabled by Pheu Thai Party is still “too vague”, as it does not specify which crimes or actions were covered by the bill. She stressed that the reconciliation process cannot be rushed. Meanwhile, the negotiation partners must treat and be treated with trust, so that both parties can openly discuss about their common interests. The reconciliation process will never work if any or both parties negotiate with any hidden agenda, Ms. Hayner warned. (Source)

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