Bangkok – Today (December 23, 2010) is the very day The Convention for Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance become effective, after Iraq has ratified this convention as 20th nation on November 23, 2010.
This convention was endorsed by United Nations in 2006, to recognize the extreme seriousness of Enforced Disappearance to be Crime against Humanity as Genocide, which deeply affects the victim, the family and the society. At the same time, it also leads to many other human rights violations.
Navy Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights says ‚An important legal gap in international human rights legislation has been filled in the fight against enforced disappearance, one of the most serious and distressing crimes on the international stage,”. “This ground-breaking Convention provides a solid international framework to put an end to impunity and pursue justice, and as a result will hopefully have a significant deterrent effect. It should provide the friends and relatives of victims a significant boost in their efforts to find out what happened to their loved ones. The pain of not knowing, sometimes for decades, whether someone is healthy or suffering, or even dead or alive, is excruciating – almost a form of torture in itself.” The 45-article Convention outlaws enforced disappearance without exception, stating unequivocally that “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of w ar, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification for enforced disappearance.”
In case of Thailand, there are 52 reported cases of Enforced Disappearance accepted at UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UN WGIED); however, none of the cases has any progress. The main obstacles of accessing to Justice of any disappeared person’s family, is that there is no legal mechanism to ensure that enforced disappearance is criminal offence. Furthermore, when the actor of the crime is agent of state, the family of the victim is often threatened or endangered and so incapable to demand justice. Solving this human rights violation, of enforced disappearance by the agent of the state, become a major
challenge to Thai government‘s immune to the actors in this continuous crime, and a question to Thai jurisdiction in ensuring justice to all persons, if Thai justice system is still justifiable to the people.
On occasion the convention become effective internationally, Justice for Peace Foundation therefore has demands to Thai government as following;
1. Thai government must ratify the International Convention for Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance of United Nations in due time, in order to protect all persons from enforced disappearance in public emergency, terrorist suppression, anti-narcotics policy or political conflicts.
2. The government must take the necessary measures to ensure that enforced disappearance constitutes an offence under its criminal law. The offence of enforced disappearance must be punishable by appropriate penalties, and effective witness protection program must be obtained.
3. The government must affirm right to reparation to victim’s family, as well as the right to know the truth about the circumstances of an enforced disappearance and the fate of the disappeared person, and the right to freedom to seek, receive and impart information to this end.
In order to save life of persons, in the present, future and justify that everyone is truly equal before the law.