Thailand Needs Major Reform, HRW Says

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TOKYO, Aug. 16 (UPI) — In a congratulatory message to Thailand’s new prime minister, Human Rights Watch laid out a laundry list of reforms it would like the government to implement.

Yingluck Shinawatra, the sister of the fugitive former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, became Thailand’s prime minister following a vote in Parliament in early August.

She becomes the first woman and 28th prime minister of Thailand after her Pheu Thai Party won in national elections.

Thaksin was ousted in a 2006 military coup.

More than 30,000 Red Shirts marched peacefully earlier this year in their largest demonstration since protests turned violent last May. Clashes between Red Shirt supporters and security forces left at least 89 people dead in 2010.

Human Rights Watch, in a lengthy appeal to the Thai prime minister, laid out a list of reforms ranging from accountability for political violence and support rights for migrant workers.

Brad Adams, Asia director for the rights group, in his letter urged the government to address what he said were “major” human rights issues in the country.

“We trust that you will give due consideration to giving priority to the promotion and protection of human rights in your new government,” he wrote.

Human rights officials with the United Nations recently visited Thailand to examine the flight against human trafficking. Reports from the U.S. State Department suggest women and children are trafficked to the United States, Asian and European countries for sexual and labor purposes.

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