Updated: NHRC and double standards

7 12 2021

Over the years, PPT has been critical of the National Human Rights Commission for its political partisanship. While these days it seldom seems to do or say much of consequence, recent events highlight its problematic existence.

Recently, police arrested 37 protesters [some reports are that 36 were arrested], including 31 women, from the Chana Rakthin Network. The protesters gathered at the entrance of Government House to “demand that the government adhere to initial promises to delay an industrial project set to take place in the 16,700-rai Chana district in southeastern Songkhla.”

Clipped from the Bangkok Post

The locals were made these promises by then minister Thammanat Prompao, but the regime now appears to be reneging. So they traveled to Bangkok to “remind” the government. Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha demies there was ever an agreement.

A representative of the protesters stated:

They have been charged with the violation of the emergency decree and the police are looking to file more charges against them since the protesters are not willing to accept the proposal for them to stop protesting against the project if they were to be released….

When the police grabbed the protesters, they blocked the media.

Just another day in broken promises, lies, and policing for the regime. And, a background to the role of the NHRC.

According to the Bangkok Post:

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Tuesday issued a statement calling for the government to unconditionally release the 36 protesters of the Chana Rakthin Network detained on Monday night….

On Tuesday morning, NHRC commissioners Preeda Kongpaen and Sayamon Kaiyurawong paid a visit to the arrested protesters, who were detained at the Police Club on Vibhavadi Rangsit road.

The NHRC statement declared “the protesters had the right to expression of their views and to gather peacefully under the 2017 constitution…”, and “called for the unconditional release of the protesters.” And, it added, “[m]embers of the media and observers should be allowed to report on all developments surrounding the project without being obstructed…”.

Maybe we have just missed the NHRC being busily at work, but we do not recall such statements when monarchy reform protesters have been attacked, arrested, and held without bail. We do not recall much reporting of the NHRC demanding that police stop attacking and impeding journalists covering those demonstrations.

Just another day in the land of double standards.

Update: A reader asks if we are dismissing the seriousness of the Chana Rakthin Network. Certainly not. The regime’s treatment of the group, using police to threaten and arrest while reneging on an agreement, is reprehensible. Our question was why the NHRC chooses to take action on this state action but not on other egregious human rights abuses.


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