Thailand needs to amend domestic laws to prepare for the ratification of the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Forced Disappearance.
The government under Abhisit Vejjajiva said that Thailand would ratify the convention to raise the standard of human rights protection and to end impunity on enforced disappearance. Last year, the country acceded to the UN Convention Against Torture.
But a prominent human rights defender, Angkana Neelapaijit, chairperson of Justice for Peace Foundation, said that Thailand does not have a good record on forced disappearance. She pointed out that there are reportedly over 90 cases of forced disappearance in the past two decades. “But about 54 cases were reported to the United Nations,” she said. There were no progress on these cases.
Angkana’s husband, Somchai, went missing six years ago after forced abduction by the police. Up until now, the fate of her husband is still unknown even though he was presumed death in March 2004.
She said that domestic laws need to be changed to facilitate the disclosure process between victims and the state as well as go after the perpetrators of forced disappearance. Thai criminal laws have no provisions to punish those who have committed these heinous crimes, especially when they are officials.
Thailand, currently the president of UN Human Rights Council, has pledged to promote and protect human rights and ratified the convention on disappearances. The country was elected a member of HRC from 2010 to 2012.
Prof Vitit Muntrabhorn, international law expert, said that Thailand should improve its human rights practices suing universal norms regardless whether Thailand ratified international conventions on bill of rights or not. He pointed out existing international legal frameworks provided sufficient grounds for the country to comply with all related human rights instruments.