Thailand’s representatives to the United Nations still cling to the outdated idea that if they turn up at a big get-together and make nice comments about how they cherish human rights, then everyone will think things are fine in the land of smiles.
Not surprisingly, they are unhappy when other people tell a different story. So last March, when the Asian Legal Resource Centre addressed the U.N. Human Rights Council concerning Thailand, they weren’t at all pleased.
The Hong Kong-based group told the council that the police are the top abusers of human rights in Thailand, for which they enjoy impunity. The center did not make this statement frivolously. It has for years worked closely with people in the country on dozens of cases that speak to this fact, and it is aware of and has documented hundreds more. Many cases it cannot publicize because to do so would put lives at risk.
Notwithstanding, the government representative, Sihasak Phuangketkeow, claimed that the center’s remarks were “unsubstantiated.” Although his defense of his country’s record was not in itself surprising, the vehemence of his response was remarkable given the piles of evidence to the contrary which groups have accumulated and presented to international bodies over the last decade.
This week the center had a chance to rebut his claim. Continue reading
Posted in human rights, human rights groups, police, Thailand, UN, UPI
Tagged ALRC, ASEAN, Asian Legal Resource Centre, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Ayutthaya, Human Rights Committee, Human Rights Council, Kalasin, Neelaphaichit, Neelaphaijit, Phuangketkeow, Shinawatra, Sihasak, Somchai, Thaksin, war on drugs
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)
Posted in courts, crime, disappearance, extrajudicial killing, human rights, police, rule of law, Thailand
Tagged Angkhana, Neelaphaijit, Reading between the lines, Somchai
The authorities in Khon Kaen probably did not like Kamol Laosophaphant. His campaign to expose corrupt council dealings over state railway land, among other things, reportedly had a group of police ready to beat him up just last year.
The 49-year-old delivery contractor told his family that he was worried for his safety. In January he took out a life insurance policy but did not let up his fight against the neighborhood “people with influence.”
Kamol, as it happened, had cause for concern. On Feb. 7 he went to the Baan Phai station to lodge one of a dozen criminal complaints that he was preparing against local officials. He never came back to his house only a few hundred meters away.
Kamol’s wife (pictured above holding his photo) and brothers say that the family had contact with him until around 11pm. His wife missed a call from his phone shortly after. Then the line went dead.
They lodged a complaint with the station the next morning, but it was not taken seriously. The day after that, they made another to the Crime Suppression Division. Yet although his car mysteriously turned up outside a hospital some 20 kilometers to the north a few weeks later, four months on they still don’t know where he went. Continue reading
Posted in crime, disappearance, human rights, police, rule of law, Thailand, UPI
Tagged Baan Phai, Ban Phai, Bangkok, Crime Suppression Division, CSD, Kamol, Kamon, Khon Kaen, Laosophaphan, Laosophaphant, Neelaphaijit, Pornthip, Porntip, Rojanasunand, Rojanasunant, Somchai, Somchai Neelaphaijit
Extracts from a new report: Human Rights under Attack, by the Working Group on Justice for Peace, Thailand
One policy that has been consistently counter-productive is the government’s reliance on poorly trained, ill-disciplined para-military forces and civilian militias. Although they have a long-standing history in Thailand, since 2004 their strength in the South has been increased massively. There is a confusing multiplicity of groups – the paramilitary rangers, an interior ministry force known as the Volunteer Defence Corps, several loosely supervised village volunteer forces and an unknown number of smaller sectarian militias – added to the regular army, police and border patrol police. The largest armed force in the South is a civilian militia consisting of Village Defence Volunteers recruited under the Internal Security Operations Command and the Village Protection Force recruited under Queen Sirikit’s direction tasked with protecting Buddhist communities. Continue reading
Posted in army, courts, crime, disappearance, extrajudicial killing, human rights, human rights groups, military, police, rule of law, Thailand, torture, UN
Tagged Abasa Mae-ae, Accra, Accra Thiproch, Angkhana Neelaphaijit, AP, Associated Press, Bannang Sata, Buacharoon, Central Institute of Forensic Science, child soldiers, CIFS, Dusong Tawa, Emergency Decree, Iedkaew, Ingkayutthabhoriharn, Internal Security Operations Command, ISOC, Kolomudo, Krasae Sin, Krong Pinang, Martial Law, Monthrasak, Narathiwat, National Human Rights Commission, National Legislative Assembly, Neelaphaijit, NHRC, NLA, Pattani, Pithak, Pithak Iedkaew, Queen Sirikit, Raman, Rangers, Ruam Thai, Sirikit, Somchai, Somchai Neelaphaijit, Songkhla, Southern Thailand, Theera, Theera Monthrasak, Thiproch, Village Defence Volunteers, Village Protection Force, Viroj, Viroj Buacharoon, Volunteer Defence Corps, WGEID, WGJP, Wiroj, Wiroj Buacharoon, Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearance, Working Group on Justice For Peace, Yala
It has been four years since Somchai Neelaphaijit disappeared; four long years of heartbreak for his family, four years of unanswered questions.
Somchai did not disappear by accident, but by force. Yet despite wide publicity and persistent efforts to hold the culprits to account, Thailand’s criminal justice system has utterly failed a person who in life had not failed it.
Somchai was a lawyer with a keen sense of justice, and a good one at that. He took on cases that others wouldn’t touch, cases that didn’t earn him any friends in high places. He successfully defended accused terrorists and separatists. He set up a free legal aid service and received a national award in acknowledgement of his work.
Prior to disappearing, Somchai met with five young men in police custody who said that they had been tortured. According to letters that he prepared on their behalf, they had been kicked, electrocuted and urinated upon. One had been hanged from the hook of a toilet door and hit on the head with a lump of wood.
On March 11, 2004 Somchai publicly accused the police of torture and said that he would take the case to the highest levels. Coming from him, this was no idle warning. Someone took it seriously. Continue reading
Posted in courts, crime, disappearance, human rights, police, rule of law, Thailand, torture, UPI
Tagged Amornvivat, Amornwiwat, Crime Suppression Division, CSD, Department of Special Investigation, DSI, Neelaphaijit, Shinawatra, Sombat, Sombat Amornvivat, Sombat Amornwiwat, Somchai, Somchai Neelaphaijit, Thaksin, Thaksin Shinawatra, Tourist Police
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
Posted in crime, disappearance, human rights, police, Thailand, torture
Tagged Angkhana, Angkhana Neelaphaijit, Neelaphaijit, Somchai, Somchai Neelaphaijit, witness protection
In recent weeks Thailand’s media has attentively reported on the arrest of some paramilitary police who are alleged to have abducted and framed tens, perhaps hundreds, of people.
The Border Patrol Police officers set up most of their victims on charges under which the accused could not get bail. Some they released after receiving ransom. One of these, a middle-aged woman, in January set off the alarm after she, her son and two others had been freed. Since then, over 60 more have complained to the Rights and Liberties Protection Department. At least 180 inmates have reportedly sought for their files to be reopened.
Victims have described how they were held in groups and tortured. According to one, she and her partner [above] were taken to a bungalow where they saw at least twenty more people tied up, some hooded; a few with smashed teeth and bruised faces. Another has claimed that she was electrocuted while pregnant, despite pleading for her baby. She gave birth in remand, awaiting a trial in which she was acquitted of any crime.
A few years ago, a case like this would have been accompanied by loud calls for it to be moved outside of the police force and into the hands of the Department of Special Investigation. But such calls have been noticeably absent this time around. Continue reading
Posted in constitution, crime, disappearance, extrajudicial killing, human rights, police, rule of law, Thailand, torture, UPI
Tagged 1997 Constitution, Amornvivat, Amornwiwat, Ayutthaya, Border Patrol Police, BPP, Charoen, Charoen Wat-aksorn, Department of Special Investigation, DRLP, DSI, Justice Ministry, Kalasin, Lamphun, Neelaphaijit, Rights & Liberties Protection, Saraburi, Sombat, Sombat Amornvivat, Sombat Amornwiwat, Somchai, Somchai Neelaphaijit, Songkhla, Supoj, Supoj Suwajo, Suwajo, Wat-aksorn