Asian Centre for Human Rights

Dedicated to promotion and protection of human rights in Asia

ACHR Press Release
ACHR Index: PR/THAI/04/05
29 July 2005

RFDC of Thailand is illegal:
UN and APF urged to boycott

Asian Centre for Human Rights in a press release today stated that the decision of the government of Thailand to set up the Rights and Freedom Development Commission (RFDC) is another regressive step taken by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to undermine the democratic and human rights institutions in Thailand.

"The establishment of the RFDC violates Human Rights Commission Act of 1999 of Thailand. Although Article 30 authorises the NHRC to approach the Prime Minister to order implementation of the remedial measures within sixty days of reporting in case any violator or abuser of human rights fails to implement the remedial measures as directed by the Commission, it does not provide for establishment of such a supervisory body. This is nothing but creating procedural obstacles to take any action on human rights violations including fixing the criminal responsibility for the Tak Bai mass killings of 25 October 2004 as recommend by the NHRC" stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of New Delhi based Asian Centre for Human Rights.

Empowering the RFDC to screen the complaints before sending them to the Prime Minister for further action tantamounts to setting up an illegal supervisory body on the NHRC. Similarly, empowering the RFDC to accept complaints directly from the people is a conspiracy to undermine the NHRC which has sought to maintain its independence.

If indeed the NHRC is ineffective to address human rights violations, the government of Thailand should give it more powers and not undermine it. The solution does not lie in creating more commissions with overlapping mandates but strengthening the existing NHRC. If Thailand government is committed to address all cases related to southern unrest, it should allow the NHRC to set up field offices in Southern Thailand, and not create RFDC.

The Asian Centre for Human Rights requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour to urge the government of Thailand not to create the Rights and Freedom Development Commission. The ACHR also urged the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions to boycott RFDC.

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