Thailand urged to honor pledge to outlaw enforced disappearances

Since 1980, there have been 82 recorded cases of enforced disappearance in the Southeast Asian nation

August 30, 2016
Thailand's government has failed to live up to its pledge to make enforced disappearance a crime, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Aug. 30, the UN's International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.

The Thai government announced May 24 it would submit a bill that would outlaw torture and enforced disappearances. The government further stated that it would ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

However, the government provided no timeframe for realizing these initiatives, said HRW.

"Another year has passed with the Thai government failing to address the grave problem of enforced disappearances in the country," said Brad Adams, HRW's Asia director. "As a result abusive officials continue to evade the punishment they deserve because Thai laws still don't criminalize these cruel practices."

Since 1980, the UN has recorded 82 cases of enforced disappearance in the Southeast Asian nation. Many of these cases have implicated local officials — including the disappearances of prominent Muslim lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit in 2004, and ethnic Karen activist Por Cha Lee "Billy" Rakchongcharoen in 2014 — but none have been successfully resolved.

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