NHRC partisan or just hopeless?

8 08 2010

The Nation has a report on “[d]ozens of impoverished red shirts detained since the May 19 dispersal of the red shirts’ protest…”.

The report states that Nitirat Sapsoomboon, a member of the National Human Rights Commission’s subcommittee on citizen and political rights says that these red shirts have been “virtually abandoned” with no visitors and some without defence lawyers…”.

PPT gets a little confused, however, when Nitirat seems to blame “red-shirt leaders and members,” saying these people “should visit them and afford them with legal assistance. Nitirat anticipates criticism, saying that “people may accuse him of slandering red shirts because he was formerly an active yellow-shirt member…”. Well, yes, but the lack of logic in what he is saying is even more difficult to fathom.

He claims that there is a “double standard as detained red-shirt leaders have received a lot of support but many ordinary red shirts do not.” Let’s see. Red shirt leaders should visit the other red shirts while detained themselves? Red shirt members, still struggling under the emergency decree should visit fellow red shirts? And with red shirt media blacked out, how do red shirts even know what has happened to their members? Even if they did know, would they then want to reveal political preferences to prison authorities and the government and then get nocturnal visits from ISOC and the military?

PPT thinks that Nitirat is indeed being partisan. Why isn’t the NHRC doing something substantial on these cases? Perhaps because it is politically biased? To say that detained red shirts “deserve due process of the law” is something the government needs to be held responsible for, not red shirts.

Nitirat notes “the case in Mukdahan, where 16 red shirts were badly beaten up and kept in a mobile detention vehicle for two days until their blood dried up and the local soldiers could bear the sight of these injured people no longer. In Bangkok, at least one person was believed to have been lynched by soldier. A construction worker was beaten up and arrested while sleeping in his construction compound near the protest site in Bangkok simply because he possessed a Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship (DAAD) ID card and some weapons.” As Nitirat says,  “This is too much!” Of course it is! Where are the protectors of human rights? Why hasn’t the NHRC chair shouted these abuses for all to hear?

Apparently Nitirat’s “subcommittee recently signed an memorandum of understanding with the Law Society of Thailand to provide legal assistance to poor red shirts who have no legal representative.” Isn’t it somewhat late? More than 2 months have passed.



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