Tag Archives: Angkhana

Five years…

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Somchai Neelaphaijit. Still missing, still no one punished: March 12, 2004

We will not forget.

DOWNLOAD NEW BOOK: Reading between the lines, by Angkhana Neelaphaijit (Thai version available here)

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Thailand’s rights commission in limbo

Thailand’s human rights agency has been in limbo since September 2006 when the army took power for the umpteenth time.

The National Human Rights Commission was by no means the coup’s biggest casualty. After all, it wasn’t shut down completely, like the parliament and one of the upper courts. But the commission has not fared well since then, and its confused and contradictory response to the military takeover in some ways typified its deeper problems.

Commissioners took dramatically different stands on the coup, its chairman refusing to condemn it, one member joining protestors on the streets, ultimately to be forced out by the junta’s unelected legislature. Some others were gently critical, while a number were neither seen nor heard.

There was also disagreement about whether or not the commission even had a mandate to keep operating, given that it was a body expressly established under a constitution that no longer existed.

These sorts of inconsistencies have dogged the commission’s work for the last few years. Continue reading

Police to stand between themselves & their targets

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Under a visionary new scheme, victims of police torture and the families of persons killed and abducted by police in Thailand are also to get protection from… yes, other police! They include Angkhana Neelaphaijit (above), wife of abducted human rights lawyer Somchai Neelaphaijit, who has said that she would rather fend for herself. Continue reading

Pat prescriptions don’t correct abuse

A leading international human rights group released a report on Thailand a couple of weeks ago. The report was accurate, yet it said nothing new. The contents were unoriginal. The recommendations were predictable: that the government should join international treaties, make new domestic law, investigate and prosecute perpetrators of abuse, compensate victims, support human rights defenders and cooperate with the United Nations.

These are all good things to recommend. The problem is that they made no contribution to the debate on human rights in Thailand. They could have been written about any country by anybody sitting anywhere. What government shouldn’t comply with international law? Which perpetrators shouldn’t be prosecuted? What more can and must be said?

International organizations based in London, Geneva or New York have proved inadequate for the task of assessing and reporting on the increasingly complex human rights problems across Asia. Shallow diagnoses, spotty campaigns and oversimplified remedies have contributed little and sometimes caused harm.

Continue reading