NHRC does not understand human rights

7 05 2015

PPT has long posted on the sorry case of the National Human Rights Commission and its failure to defend human rights in Thailand. It has been poorly led, has been partisan and has exhibited a failure of understanding of even the most basic principles of human rights.

The exposure of the gruesome and reprehensible trafficking of persons in Southern Thailand, known for many years, and aided and abetted by powerful civil and military officials, provides one more sorry example of the failure of the NHRC.

In this latest human trafficking scandal, the involvement of officials is clearly recognized. For example, Reuters reports that:

Asked by reporters whether there had been official complicity in trafficking humans, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan told reporters in Bangkok: “There must be. This is not acceptable.”

It is reported that police claim to have “issued a total of 18 arrest warrants in connection with the detention camps and trafficking network. The suspects include police officers and local administrative officials. Six people have been arrested so far…”. It is further reported that “at least 50 police officers in southern Thailand, including high-ranking commanders, were transferred following the discovery of the suspected trafficking camps.”

More broadly, as Khaosod notes,

For years, successive Thai governments have failed to effectively dismantle trafficking networks in the country, in part because of the protection offered by some Thai officials involved in the lucrative trade.

Last year, the United States government cited the complicity of Thai officials as one the reasons for downgrading Thailand to the lowest rank in its annual assessment of how foreign governments combat human trafficking.

The NHRC seems to have been unable to vigorously pursue cases of human trafficking in previous years, including the reprehensible actions under previous governments. NHRC

In the present circumstances, where major crimes have been reported, including murder and human trafficking, with acknowledged official involvement and more, it might be considered important for the NHRC to be involved and making recommendations including about prosecutions, inquiries and more.

Unfortunately, it seems the best this failed agency can do is for Niran Pithakwatchara, usually considered one of the more reasonable commissioners at the NHRC, to suggest that the military dictatorship use it draconian powers under Article 44. He says:

If the government exercises its power under Article 44 to solve this problem, especially by using the administrative power to deal with bureaucrats or local politicians who are involved, and to root out the causes of the problem, then it may be a good solution.

Not that long ago, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights “expressed alarm at the Thai military Government’s announcement that it has invoked an article of the Interim Constitution that bestows unfettered authority on the head of the military government.” The Commissioner explained:

I am alarmed at the decision to replace martial law with something even more draconian, which bestows unlimited powers on the current Prime Minister without any judicial oversight at all. This clearly leaves the door wide open to serious violations of fundamental human rights.

Yet this is the Article the NHRC suggests be invoked. We can only despair for human rights in Thailand when even the official protectors of human rights seem unable or unwilling to comprehend the most basic principles.


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11 07 2015
An avalanche of lies | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] junta spokesman lying. A few days ago, the sub-committee on civil and political rights of the largely useless and incompetent National Human Rights Commission of Thailand called in “Col Nurat Kongkaew, the Director the […]

11 07 2015
An avalanche of lies | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] junta spokesman lying. A few days ago, the sub-committee on civil and political rights of the largely useless and incompetent National Human Rights Commission of Thailand called in “Col Nurat Kongkaew, the Director the […]