Ultra-royalist misses seat on National Human Rights Commission

Thai lawmakers have decided not to appoint an ultra-royalist to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) due to his tainted financial records.

On Thursday, 20 August 2015, the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) voted to approve five of the seven candidates to the NHRC. The five approved candidates are Angkana Neelapaijit, Chatsuda Chandeeying, Surachet Sathitniramai, Wat Tingsamit, and Prakairat Tontheerawong.

The NLA have turned down the candidacy of Boworn Yasintorn, an ultra-royalist who is a leader of a group calling themselves Citizens Volunteer For Defence Of Three Institutes Network, and Supachai Thanomsap, a part-time lecturer at the Medical Faculty of Ramathibodi Hospital.

According to Matichon, the NLA decided not to approve Boworn’s candidacy because there have been legal complaints against him in financial cases. The medical lecturer was not selected because there have been reports about his immoral behaviour.

118 NLA members voted against Boworn’s candidacy to the NHRC while 37 voted in favour and 21 abstained.

In late July, many eyebrows were raised over the nomination of Boworn to the NHRC candidacies by the screening committee.

For many human rights defenders and researchers, however, the choice of a prominent ultra-royalist, who has pressed charges against others under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, or the lèse majesté law, was hardly surprising since two thirds of the committee responsible for screening NHRC candidates are high-ranking military officers.

According to the leaked document, Gen Oud Buangbon is chair of the NHRC screening committee while three other four-star military officers, namely Gen Sophon Silpipat, Air Chief Marshal Siwakiat Chayema, and Admiral Taratorn Kajitsuwan serve as first, second, and the third deputy chairs.

The chief advisor of the committee is Gen Lertrit Wechsawarn. As a Senator and chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Studying and Monitoring Problems Concerning Law Enforcement and Measures for the Protection of the Royal Institution, Gen Lertrit last year was reported by the Bangkok Post to have agreed with a group of ultra-royalist senators to build up a strong network of pro-monarchists using social networking to protect the monarchy.

The list of approved candidates to the NHRC will be sent back to the selection committee and two new candidates will be chosen to replace Boworn and Supachai.