BANGKOK — Women should be leading efforts to amend the military-backed constitution, former PM Yingluck Shinawatra said in her International Women’s Day statement on Monday.
Yingluck, whose government was overthrown in a 2014 coup, also expressed her concerns over the deteriorating level of freedom in Thailand after the U.S.-based rights watchdog Freedom House downgraded the country to “Not Free” in its latest report published last week.
“I support women and everyone who are fighting for democracy, for their rights, freedom, and equality,” Yingluck said on her Facebook. “Thailand is facing many challenges as with other countries, but furthermore, we are being deprived of freedom.”
She went on, “Unfortunately after the coup, the freedom index fell to 30 because the current constitution has been written to keep the junta in power, while taking a toll on the freedom of Thai people. When I led the government, Thailand scored 53 and 54 in 2013 and 2014 respectively.”
Yingluck fled Thailand in 2017, shortly before she was found guilty in a lengthy corruption trial. The ex-premier has since living in exile overseas together with her brother and former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, whose government was also ousted in a 2006 coup.
Constitution amendment is one of the three core demands of pro-democracy demonstrators in ongoing protests that have raged since mid-2020.
The Freedom House cited a number of reasons for the demotion, including the dissolution of the opposition Future Forward Party and the crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.
Thailand scored 32 out of 100 last year, a slight improvement partly due to the first general election after five years of military rule in 2019.