Half-truths, no-truth information and the failure of the NHRC

8 04 2011

The Bangkok Post has a report based on People’s Information Centre reporting that makes interesting reading.

PIC claims there are still 133 red-shirt detainees imprisoned since the April-May 2010 crackdown on red shirt protesters by the military, acting to maintain the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime.

PIC “asked justice officials to ensure the same treatment for red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) members who remain behind bars and whose bail requests have been repeatedly denied.”

PIC chair Kritaya Archavanitkul of Mahidol University’s prestigious Institute for Population and Social Research, said PIC “has been asking since its launch in July last year that the government release all information on May 2010 crackdown, including the exact numbers of call summonses and arrest warrants issued, the gender and age of the detainees, the number of those being released and those remaining behind bars.” No such information has been made available.

Initially the government claimed some 2,100 arrests (with 700 in the provinces). However, “there were 639 arrest warrants in Ubon Ratchathani alone…”.

Kritaya stated that PIC’s “… main objective is to push for transparency and impunity in the process of acquiring truth…”.

PIC also note that over 9,000 red-shirt media outlets, “including the satellite People’s Channel television and the Prachatai website, were shut down vand had difficulty fully reopening after the emergency decree was lifted…”.

PIC says that there “had been half-truths and no-truth information released by the government” and some are mentioned in the report.

Interestingly, and in a point made by PPT repeatedly at the time, of “the total 92 deaths during the April-May crackdown, there were … a total of nine police and soldiers [killed].” The body count makes clear where the bullets came from.

PIC also confirmed “seven cases of disappearance, but people believed there were more cases. There were also reports about five extra-judicial killings, but the PIC had not received direct information about this matter…”. This refers to events post-crackdown.

PIC is rightly critical of the Truth for Reconciliation and Conciliation in Thailand (TRCT) commission, which it says “had been ineffective in acquiring information from all sides, especially the military.” It was also critical of the nearly silent and hopeless National Human Rights Commission, which is supposed to have a “mandate and legitimacy to protect the rights of the people.” In fact, as PPT has pointed out, the NHRC is now a sad joke.



One response

11 04 2011
State Department schizophrenic on human rights | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] were no confirmed reports of politically motivated disappearances. See here. In all of this, the emphasis is on […]

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