Thailand: UN Human Rights Chief welcomes release of national report on 2010 political violence

GENEVA (18 September 2012)– UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Tuesday welcomed the release of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Thailand (TRCT) on the 2010 political violence as a positive step to advance accountability and reconciliation among different segments of Thai society.

During April and May 2010, demonstrations took place in Thailand, which led to violence in which 92 people died and thousands were injured. On 6 July 2010, the Government established the TRCT with the mandate to seek truth and reconciliation.

“In spite of its limited mandate and initial difficulties, the TRCT has conducted an important investigation into political violence and human rights violations in Thailand,” the High Commissioner said. “The Royal Thai Government now has the responsibility to act on the TRCT’s recommendations, both in holding state officials to account and addressing the institutional weaknesses identified in the report.”

While the final report fails to specify who was responsible for the deaths, it contains serious and substantive findings backed by forensic evidence and recommends urgent action to bring perpetrators to justice. It also contains a number of far-reaching recommendations that could help to advance reconciliation and respect for human rights in Thailand.

In particular, it stresses the importance of the army remaining neutral in political affairs, the need to strengthen the independence of the judiciary and a proposal to review article 112 of the criminal code in order to protect freedom of expression in Thailand.

“Making the legal and institutional reforms recommended in the report will strengthen Thai democracy,” the High Commissioner noted. “Bringing perpetrators to justice will not only set an important precedent for Thailand but for South East Asia as a whole.”

Concerns have been raised about the preservation of evidence gathered by the TRCT and Department of Special Investigations (DSI). “Safeguarding evidence is essential for the pursuit of accountability,” the High Commissioner said, urging the Government to take the necessary steps to protect the integrity of the information collected by these institutions.

Another report on the 2010 political violence by the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand (NHRCT) is expected shortly, which should provide a further detailed account of human rights violations.


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