Making up

9 01 2016

Yesterday PPT post on the ongoing kerfuffle over ThaiHealth. In that post we noted that the junta’s attacks on the organization had something to do with shifting funds to the military dictatorship’s own projects and that there was a decided political dimension to the attacks. On the latter, we noted that some of the NGOs and foundations involved were clearly on the side of the junta, had supported the coups of 2006 and 2014 and thus were unlikely “opponents.” We guessed that the junta might be needling them for potentially being too liberal.

It seems we were wrong, and that the military dictatorship and its junta have quickly rectified their mistake and are quickly restoring funds to tame and royalist NGOs.

The Dictator has reportedly “ordered Thai Health Promotion Foundation (ThaiHealth) to immediately release funds for projects based on the Pracha Rath or ‘state of the people’ concept, as funding-approval difficulties have caused many projects to be delayed.”

It seems that one of the key NGO bodies supporting the military junta’s Pracha Rath projects is the Local Development Institute, and General Prayuth Chan-ocha met with one of its yellow-hued leaders, medical doctor Poldej Pinprateeb to sort the matter out among political allies.

Poldej served the previous junta-appointed government led by palace flunkey and Privy Council member General Surayud  Chulanont.

LDI is an institute chock full of aging yellow shirts and military supporters, and is closely linked to royalist “liberal” Prawase Wasi and longtime academic and “development promoter” Saneh Chammarik. It has links to the Rural Doctor Foundation and ThaiPBS, which were also on the junta’s hit list at ThaiHealth. For more on this network, see the academic article here. (We can’t find a free copy.)

Poldej praised The Dictator: “I would like to applaud the PM for making swift decisions to tackle this problem and letting the Pracha Rath projects move forward again…”.

Debate on Human Rights Commission

26 04 2009

Over the past few years the National Human Rights Commission, led by Saneh Chammarik, had a checkered record.  It took up some very important cases and raised issues that no other group was willing to take on.

It also became hopelessly partisan in the most recent period and continued to operate, investigate and make recommendations even when its legal mandate had expired, damaging its reputation and the very idea of an independent human rights organisation.

Recently, the courts ruled that the Commission had to be reconstituted.

Now there is a debate over the nomination of new commissioners (Prachatai, 24 April 2009). The Commission’s standing needs to be resurrected and it needs to be staunchly independent. There is concern that the current nominees may not be able to demonstrate the independence necessary for this potentially important body.

Update: The AHRC has issued an important statement – as a letter to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva – on the National Human Rights Commission selection process (Prachatai, 26 April 2009: “Senate must give more time for debate on new NHRC”).

Amongst a range of sensible points, it says the: “selection process for a new National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of Thailand is being rushed through in a highly undemocratic manner, without any public consultation or accountability and contrary to the basic principles that the NHRC is supposed to represent. We urge you to delay the selection process to allow more time for discussion and debate, or risk violating international standards on National Human Rights Institutions, which may affect the NHRC’s official status in global forums not to mention undermine its credibility in the eyes of the general public of Thailand.”

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