The emergency decree and the failure of the NHRC

11 11 2010

The Nation’s Pravit Rojanaphruk reports on yet another call for the emergency decree to be lifted. This coincides with Amnesty International’s apparently cordial meeting with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, and his apparent lecturing of AI on the decree’s usefulness. The rights group Social Move has a different view.

It says the “military should withdraw armed soldiers from BTS Skytrain and MRT subway stations and lift immediately the emergency decree which has been imposed for nearly six months. The prolonged decree and soldiers’ presence is militarising Thai society and creating fear among those who oppose the government…”.

NHRC: Independent?

Social Move states that they are making this call due to the failure of “most local human rights groups and the National Human Rights Commission” to condemn the now “nearly seven months after the state of emergency was imposed in Bangkok and beyond.” Social Move “concluded that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had no clear policy on the matter, including the issue of detained [red-shirt] political prisoners. They do not stand alongside a majority of the people. They do not defend the rights of political expression of red shirts and appear to be more concerned about the government’s stability. The same can be said of many local human rights NGOs…”.

National human rights commissioner Niran Pithakwatchara disagreed, saying: “We reiterate that the government should lift the emergency so it would lead to a climate of reconciliation. The CRES should also be dissolved and a government body tasked to look into CRES conduct as to whether it did things right or not…”. But, he also added: “It must be admitted that we have not followed up [on the issue]. We must follow the development of the government.”

So the NHRC has a “crystal clear” position but does nothing. Why? Niran says “it was up to the government to decide whether the decree should be lifted.” What is the point of being “independent” if all the NHRC does is wait for government?



One response

11 11 2010
Abhisit and red shirt photo opportunities « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] In an earlier post, PPT had details of a Social Move call for the end to the state of emergency. Now Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva seems to be responding, but in his usual vainglorious manner. […]

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