UN event: Torture and Enforced Disappearance in Thailand, the State Response

A side event to the UN Human Rights Council, Tuesday 14 March, 16.00 – 17.00, Palais des Nations room XXI.



Tuesday 14 March/16.00-17.00

room XXI



Angkhana Neelapaijit, National Human Rights Commissioner and family victim of enforced disappearance

Yuval Ginbar, Amnesty International legal advisor

Moderated by Matt Pollard, ICJ Senior Legal advisor

The event follows the Human Rights Committee’s examination of Thailand’s second periodic report on its implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on 13 and 14 March 2017.

The event will focus on the measures Thailand has taken to implement its international human rights obligations with respect to the prohibition of enforced disappearance, torture and ill-treatment – with a particular focus on the draft Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance Act (Draft Law).


Eighty-two cases of enforced or involuntary disappearance in Thailand were reported to the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances between 1980 and 2016. Civil society has also issued several reports containing allegations of torture by security forces, particularly in the restive deep South. These allegations were made against a culture of impunity which pervades Thailand.

In October 2016, after 11 years and three months of investigation, the Department of Special Investigation (‘DSI’) declared the emblematic enforced disappearance case of Somchai Neelapaijit closed, saying no culprits had been found. In January 2017, the DSI further announced it would not investigate the apparent enforced disappearance of Pholachi “Billy” Rakchongcharoen, a Karen minority human rights defender. These cases underscore the difficulties victims face in obtaining justice under the current legal framework in Thailand.

For several years, Thailand has pledged its commitment to ratifying the International Convention on Enforced Disappearance (ICCPED) and passing domestic legislation criminalizing torture and enforced disappearance. In May 2016, the Cabinet approved a Draft Law, which was subsequently transmitted to Thailand’s legislature, the National Legislative Assembly (NLA). However, last month, the NLA announced it would send the Draft Law back to the Cabinet for further consultation, effectively ending the possibility of it being enacted in the foreseeable future.

For further information on recent developments concerning this piece of legislation, please see: https://www.icj.org/thailand-prioritize-the-amendment-and-passage-of-legislation-on-torture-and-enforced-disappearances/.

A flyer for the event may be downloaded here.