PPT missed this about a week ago in the Bangkok Post. As is well-known, Thailand is currently undeserving chair of the U.N.’s 47-member Human Rights Council, and holds that position until June. According to the story, though, this doesn’t necessarily grant Thailand a free run.
The Post says this year will “be the first time Thailand comes under UNHRC peer pressure, with the country’s ‘Universal Periodical Review’ to be debated in October.” As part of this process, the Thai government “will present a 20-page human rights landscape while civil society including the National Human Rights Commission will present 10-page situation report.”
That might sound reasonable except for the important fact that the NHRC was appointed by the government and has been virtually silent on almost every serious abuse of human rights in Thailand under the Abhisit regime.
Hence, it is clear that civil society organizations working with the NHRC are either going to be tainted by association with this discredited agency or are going to be in conflict with it. Given that the Post lists several significant issues being taken up by NGOs – “the impunity of authorities in the far South and Bangkok violence, the plight of migrant workers and human rights defenders and freedom of expression as well as use of impeding laws such as the Internal Security Act, lese majeste legislation (Article 112) and the Computer Crimes Act,” PPT wonders how the NHRC can even have dialogue with NGOs unless they are handpicked to have a yellow hue.