On 30 August, the ICJ co-hosted an event in Bangkok, Thailand, named “International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance: Human Rights Defenders & the Disappeared Justice”.
The event began with opening remarks by South-East Asia’s Regional Representative of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Cynthia Veliko.
Thereafter, Kingsley Abbott, ICJ Senior International Legal Adviser, spoke in a panel discussion about enforced disappearances in Thailand, highlighting the need for Thailand to comply with its human rights obligations under international law.
This panel discussion also included Ms. Oranuch Phonpinyo, Community Representative, forensics expert Dr. Pornthip Rojanasunan and former National Human Rights Commissioner Dr. Niran Pitakwatchara.
In a second panel discussion held during the event, speakers included Ms. Phinnapha Phrueksaphan, Victim Representative, Ms. Angkhana Neelapaijit, National Human Rights Commissioner and Victim Representative, Ms. Nareeluc Pairchaiyapoom from Thailand’s Ministry of Justice and prominent human rights lawyer Mr. Somchai Homlaor.
The event focused on the lack of progress in Thailand with regard to investigating cases of apparent enforced disappearance and called for the Royal Thai government to amend and pass legislation criminalizing torture, ill-treatment and enforced disappearance without further delay.
Thailand is a State party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) and has signed, but not yet ratified, the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED).
The other organizers of the event were OHCHR’s South-East Asia Regional Office, the Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF), Human Rights Lawyers Association (HRLA), the Esaan Land Reform Network, Amnesty International Thailand, Thailand’s Ministry of Justice and the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT).
Copies of an open letter sent by the ICJ and other human rights groups to the Royal Thai government on 30 August were distributed to the event’s participants.
Kingsley Abbott, ICJ Senior International Legal Adviser for Southeast Asia, kingsley.abbott(a)icj.org