Thailand: Consolidating internal security state, complaisant judiciary
In its 2010 annual report, the Asian Human Rights Commission focused on the consolidation of the revived internal-security state in Thailand. Emergent after the 19 September 2006 coup, the revived internal-security state has been characterized by the persistent violation of human rights, using strategies both legal and extralegal. It has been accompanied by the use of a constellation of repressive mechanisms to prevent redress of rights violations, including the constriction of speech, the stifling of protest and blocking of access to justice. At the close of 2010, the human rights situation in Thailand was precarious, with the violent state crackdown on red-shirt protestors by the government of PM Abhisit Vejjajiva still reverberating amidst other long-standing injustices.
The first half of 2011 saw the start of the trial of independent news site webmaster Ms. Chiranuch Premchaiporn, a devastating appeal outcome foreclosing justice in the case of the disappearance of human rights lawyer Mr. Somchai Neelaphaijit, and difficulties faced by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Thailand (TRCT) in their attempt to investigate the political violence of April and May 2010. Politically, for many the central event of the year was the overwhelming victory of Yingluck Shinawatra and the Pheu Thai Party in the 3 July 2011 elections. While it is too early to definitively assess the Pheu Thai Party’s progress on human rights, early signs are not positive, with continued arrests and prosecutions for alleged lèse majesté, slow progress towards accountability for the violence of April-May 2010, and a continued failure to protect the rights of victims and survivors of torture and other forms of state violence.
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