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Mr. Salil Shetty, Secretary General of AI paid a call on Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on the occasion of his visit to Thailand, at Thai Koo Fah Building, the Government House.

The Secretary General of Amnesty International asked the Prime Minister on issues interested by the public and media, such as the political situation, situation in the southern border provinces, situation of displaced persons fleeing from fightings in Myanmar, and lèse majesté law.

The Prime Minister elaborated that the enforcement of lèse majesté law is based on basic principles and takes into account intentions of violators. It is not used to limit academic debates. Thailand is an open society, and respects and adheres to freedom of expression. This can be seen clearly from present political situation. Both the opposition and government have access to the media and newspapers, public television, and cable television – an event which is different from the past.

On the decree of Public Administration in Emergency Situation, it is currently enforced only in a few provinces. In the case of Bangkok, the government has the responsibility to protect public safety. The incident at the Nonthaburi apartment building reflects that that there is also a need to monitor the situation, as there are still some movements. Personally, if feasible, I would want to cancel the decree in all provinces as soon as possible. When there is no emergency decree, I do not desire to see any chaos or another big protest.

On the situation in the south, the government continues to resolve the ongoing violence and we believe that we are on the right track. However, the Prime Minister admitted that many cases have occurred before the present government came into power, and are still in the judicial process. When this government took the office, it attempts to closely monitor those cases, but we must respect the judicial process undertaken by independent agencies.

On the issue of displaced persons from Myanmar, the government has taken actions on the basis of humanitarian principles. During the latest visit to Myanmar, the Prime Minister also registered this concern with the Myanmar leaders.

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