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Chuck Hagel urges Thailand to 'return to democracy'

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has called on Thailand to "return to democracy" during an Asia-Pacific security forum after the military took over control of the government in a coup.

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UN raises human rights concerns over Thai army coup

The United Nations human rights office has voiced deep concern at the Thai army coup and said that martial law and military orders being imposed may infringe on fundamental freedoms.

The Thai army says armed forces are to take over Thailand's government. Credit: REUTERS/Kerek Wongsa

"We remind the authorities of Thailand's obligations under international human rights law, which strictly limit the application of emergency powers, said UN human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said.

"We urge the authorities to take all necessary measures to ensure the fundamental human rights are respected."

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