On 11 Feb 16, the spokesperson of the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC), Maj. Gen. Banpot Poonpien, revealed that regarding the torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in the Deep South, the security agencies have been well aware of it and have taken precaution to prevent such practice and to avoid any act that would become a problem from a human rights perspective. But even though the environment in the Deep South has changed, some civil society organizations continue to resort to the same old tactic to mobilize their cause without adjusting their roles. He also shared four observations regarding the torture report.
It has been reported that the Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) and alliances have launched the report on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in the Deep South for 2014-2015 on 10 Feb 16 claiming the invocation of special laws has created obstacles to review from independent and outside organizations. Also, the report only contains one-sided information from the accounts of those making the complaints from 2004 until now, 54 cases altogether, including the description of the infliction of psychological and physical torture and the definition based on international law which is confined to simply the act of the officers or a person acting in behalf of the state.
Regarding this, ISOC would like to explain that there has been constant progress as to the attempt to address problems in the Deep South over the past 12 years based on the policies and strategies developed by the government. It has helped transform the unrest in the Deep South paving the way toward a resolution of the conflicts based on peaceful means and based on good cooperation from all concerned parties. This is attested to by the fact that the number of violent incidences has markedly deceased. It could be said that the environment has changed. All sectors have started to realize the signal of the changes. Even most of the civil society organizations have started to organize brainstorming in response to the changing situation. Still, some civil society organizations continue to employ the same old tactics to mobilize their cause without heeding to the will of local people. Even the names of the organizations are in conflict with their own objectives.
From my understanding, the report has been written because the organizations want to solicit funding support from abroad. So even though the number of violence incidence has deceased, they need to evoke old information using it as a pretext in order to make themselves worth receiving funding support. It is also worrying that once this report gets distributed abroad, it would have created misunderstanding.
Previously, there has been an instruction by the Prime Minister/Director of ISOC on 10 Feb 16 referring to the fact that international organizations have received misinformation deviated from what really happens in the Deep South and ISOC has been urged to address the situation. What is particularly concerning is the ranking of countries under terrorist threat and statistics of insurgencies in the Deep South have been interpreted as a risk from terrorism.
Until now, security agencies have conducted training every year for raise the awareness among security forces and all attempts have been made to prevent any act that would become a problem from a human rights perspective. We rely on cooperation from religious leaders, community leaders, kinships, and credible outside organizations to bear witness all the processes concerning the enforcement of the law. And after any operation, should there be any doubt, the local agencies would be more than happy to help with an inquiry into the actions.
There are four observations ISOC wants to make.
First, all the organizations involved with writing the report, are they independent organizations with the mandate to review the performance of state officers or not. If so, from which laws they invoke their power?
Second, during the documentation in 2014 and 2015, have they stumbled on any government officer involved in the act of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or not.
Third, the information presented is based on old information and one-sided accounts. Has not this information been verified independently?
And fourth, why invoking just the international laws while forsaking the methods of inquiry provided for by domestic law since such an act could possibly amount to a defamatory offence.