The National Human Rights Commission has been pretty hopeless for a long time. This makes the latest report on it at the Bangkok Post no surprise at all.
Earlier this month, Surachet Satitniramai “resigned from his NHRC position in the hope of bringing about change inside the organisation. He said he wanted to use his resignation to point to governance problems in the NHRC.”
Surachet, a medical doctor with lots of experience in rural areas, referred to an “an unpleasant working environment” when he resigned. He told of “obstructions,” saying it was “hard to progress anything…”.
Meanwhile, one of the few members of the NHRC with a real background in human rights, commissioner Angkhana Neelapaijit “told the Bangkok Post she would not hesitate to follow Mr Surachet’s footsteps, saying she has had to exercise much patience in the position as the working atmosphere among commissioners turned unpleasant.”
She said: “All I can tell you is that each commissioner’s opinion isn’t respected equally in meetings. Some commissioners can work easily, but others may face some obstacles in progressing their work…”.
While she continues “to fight for improvements in human rights,” she expressed her exasperation with hierarchy, poor governance and what we’d interpret as “unprincipled” actions at the NHRC.
Some background is needed here. When the U.N. Human Rights Committee met recently, its report included this on the NHRC:
While acknowledging the important work of the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand, the Committee regrets that it was downgraded to “B” status by the accreditation committee of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions. The Committee is concerned about the transparency of the process for selecting of members of the Commission (art. 2).
… The State party should ensure that the Commission is able to carry out its mandate effectively and independently, and in full conformity with the principles relating to the status of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (the Paris Principles).
In other words, at present, the NHRC has little independence of the military dictatorship and is not considered to operates as an appropriate human rights commission.
None of this seems to bother the troglodyte running the NHRC, What Tingsamitr, a judge and junta minion. He’s been on the warpath, declaring that “if somebody [s commissioner] tried to serve foreign interests and destroy their own country, they will be loathed by the public and unable to work in such an important role in the end.”
We think the person who deserves to be loathed is the chairman himself. He is a disgrace with no knowledge of human rights. Of course, that’s why he was chosen for the position. The junta has a preference for posterior polishing royalists who are both unable and unwilling to do their job. They want obedient servants, and What is certainly that.
To comprehend the failure of the NHRC, just scroll though our posts and look at torture, murder, extrajudicial murder and more and see that the NHRC achieves nothing. It is toothless and useless.