VI. Recommendations

The Thai government must take all necessary steps to end, prevent, and deter the practice of enforced disappearances.

The Royal Thai Government should:

  1. Promptly sign and ratify the Disappearances Convention and adopt all necessary legislation and other measures to comply with its terms.  Act in accordance with the convention prior to ratification and prior to its coming into force.
  2. Make an enforced disappearance a criminal offense. The law should be amended so that it is not necessary to produce a body to proceed with a murder prosecution.
  3. Ensure that all persons detained by the police and security forces are held at recognized places of detention, and are not subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Their whereabouts must be made known to family and legal counsel. They must be allowed contact with family and unhindered access to legal counsel of the detainee’s choice. All procedural rights guaranteed under the constitution and the code of criminal procedure must be respected. In cases where a “disappearance” has been reported, the relevant security forces should immediately make known the whereabouts or circumstances of the detainee.
  4. Ensure that the police, prosecutors, and the National Human Rights Commission conduct prompt, independent, and impartial investigations into allegations of “disappearances.” Strengthen the independence and capacity of the Ministry of Justice, state prosecutors, and the National Human Rights Commission to ensure stronger investigations and public reporting of allegations of “disappearances” and other human rights abuses. It is vital that each is able to act independently and have the resources and security to perform their respective functions.
  5. Prosecute officials regardless of rank responsible for “disappearances” and other abuses, including officials ordering “disappearances” or who knew or should have known about the pattern of abuses but took no action.
  6. Provide prompt, fair, and adequate compensation for the victims and family members of those who have “disappeared” or were otherwise arbitrarily detained.
  7. Support measures during the drafting of the new constitution to empower the National Human Rights Commission to present the findings of its investigations to the Office of the Public Attorney as the basis for prosecutions. In this regard, the Office of the Public Attorney should be required to reply promptly in writing to the National Human Rights Commission about its decision to pursue or not to pursue criminal prosecutions in each case.
  8. Stop undermining and discrediting the work of persons working to protect and report on human rights abuses, such as the National Human Rights Commission, human rights lawyers, journalists, and others who have played a crucial role in reporting allegations of “disappearances” and other human rights abuses.
  9. Invite the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, and the United Nations Working Groups on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances, and Arbitrary Detentions to Thailand to investigate and report on the situation. These agencies’ recommendations should be implemented in a timely manner.

Foreign governments and international agencies should:

  1. Continue to press the Thai government to act on its stated human rights commitments under international human rights law, and publicly condemn specific violations and urge the Thai government to address them.
  2. Actively monitor the end use of any weapons and material provided to Thailand to determine whether they have been used by security forces to commit violations of human rights. The United States has the closest relationship to the Thai military, while the United Kingdom has the closest relationship to the Thai police.
  3. Urge the Thai government to ensure that security forces at all levels are receiving suitable training to improve compliance with international human rights law. This training should be woven into the training and operational instructions received by all security personnel.
  4. Support the National Human Rights Commission and the human rights community in Thailand to be able to safely monitor, investigate, and report on allegations of abuses. Insist that the government, army, and police do not interfere with, threaten, or intimidate human rights workers.