UN rights chief urges Thais to negotiate end to violence

17th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

The UN's human rights chief called Monday on anti-government protesters and political leaders in Thailand to "set aside pride and politics" and negotiate an end to the violence in the country.

"Ultimately, this situation can only be resolved by negotiation. I urge leaders to set aside pride and politics for the sake of the people of Thailand," said Navi Pillay in a statement.

The political standoff in Thailand has left at least 37 people dead in violent street clashes between protestors and the army since Friday.

A leader of Thailand's anti-government "Red Shirt" protesters called a top aide to the prime minister Monday to propose a truce after several days of violent clashes in the capital, the aide said.

The Reds also called Sunday for UN-mediated talks to end the crisis.

However, the Thai government has rejected foreign involvement, saying it was an internal matter. Authorities had also set a deadline for protesters to clear out by 0800 GMT Monday.

"As the latest government deadline passes, there is a high risk that the situation could spiral out of control," the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said.

"To prevent further loss of life, I appeal to the protestors to step back from the brink, and the security forces to exercise maximum restraint in line with the instructions given by the government," she added.

© 2010 AFP

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