Freedom House: Thailand “Not Free” for third year in a row

Thailand has again been ranked by Freedom House as 'Not Free' due to chronic human rights violations, suppressed freedom of expression and a military-sponsored draft constitution.
 
On 2 February 2017, Freedom House published its annual report titled Freedom in the World 2017: Populists and Autocrats: The Dual Threat to Global Democracy, an annual review of freedom worldwide. According to the report, 2016 marked the 11th consecutive year of decline in global freedom due to the threat of populist and nationalist policies in many countries. 
 
China and Russia continue to exert a significant influence on their neighbours, constantly reinforcing authoritarian ideas.
 
The report categorizes Thailand as ‘Not free’ mainly because of alleged human rights violations and a culture of impunity. It also points out that the ruling junta is responsible for this poor ranking since it rejects any form of criticism against itself and prosecutes critics.
 
“Thailand’s military junta, which seized power in a 2014 coup, maintained its grip on power by prosecuting even the slightest criticism under an array of restrictive laws. In this constrained atmosphere, voters approved a draft constitution that guaranteed the military outsized influence over civilian politics even after general elections scheduled for 2017,” reads the report. 
 
This year, Thailand scored six out of seven in the political rights index (one represents most free and seven least free) and five out of seven on the civil liberties index.    
 
Thailand has historically been classified as “Partly Free” by Freedom House. However, as soon as the military seizes power, Thailand is classified as ‘Not Free’. In 2007, Thailand was also ranked ‘Not Free’ following the 2006 coup d’état.    
 

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