Following the publishing of the Act on Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance 2022 in the Government Gazette for it to come into force on 23 February 2023, however, the Royal Thai Police (RTP) has vehemently pushed for the deferment of the Act’s enforcement. Since 6 January 2023, the Royal Thai Police by Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittipraphat, Commissioner General of the Royal Thai Police has sent a letter to Minister of Justice Somsak Thepsuthin indicating problems and obstacles regarding the execution of the Act and other impediment regarding the enforcement of the law. Moreover, CrCF has received information from credible sources that individuals in the government led by Gen Prayut Chan-O-Cha including the Minister of Justice Somsak Thepsuthin have already responded to the request from the Royal Thai Police and the Minister of Justice is about to propose to the cabinet to approve the deferment of the enforcement of the Act.
Meanwhile various civil society organizations and state agencies have expressed their opposition to the postponement of the Act. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights, Rights and Liberties and Consumer Protection have sent a letter to the Ministry of Justice and the Prime Minister reiterating the importance of the enforcement of the Act as scheduled. Recommendations concerning its enforcement have also been offered to concerned agencies. Moreover, key agencies in the judicial process including the Office of Attorney General has developed detailed guidelines for the enforcement of the law on prevention and suppression of torture and enforced disappearance. 1
Based on the information, CrCF is extremely concerned by the effort of the RTP and others to defer the enforcement of the Act on Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance which is a key legislation to protect people from serious human rights violation perpetrated by government officials and to enhance human rights standards, particularly regarding Thailand’s obligations to the UN Convention against Torture (CAT) signed and ratified by Thailand since 2007 and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance 2006 signed by Thailand and whose ratification is pending the enforcement of the Act on Prevention and Suppression of Torture.
CrCF finds the excuses made by the RTP unfounded and unreasonable since the Royal Thai Police has had time to prepare its personnel and equipment since 2021. Then, the RTP has issued the Order no. 178/2564 on audio and visual recording during the search, arrest and interrogation in criminal cases. The enforcement of the Act on Prevention and Suppression of Torture will unintentionally lead to more budget being channeled to make possible the effective execution of duties pursuant to the internal command of the RTP. It is also obvious that the excuses made by the Royal Thai Police are far from urgent to justify the deferment of the enforcement of the Act since they are not at all inevitably urgent and do not constitute any ground commensurate to Section 172 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand B.E. 2560 (2017).
CrCF has also brought to the attention of the Prime Minister that a lack of reasons and necessities to justify the deferment of the Act’s enforcement asides, such effort is only a testament of the government’s unwillingness to act in compliance with its international obligations and stands contrary to the intention of the Thai public who demand that a law be put in place to eliminate the act torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and the enforced disappearance which have often occurred. It is also reflected from the unanimous votes to approve the Draft Act by the House of Representatives. Therefore, as the administrative power, the government has no justification to defer the enforcement of the legislation.
The Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) has sent an urgent letter on 13 February 2023 to Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha to inquire if the effort, particularly from the Ministry of Justice and the Royal Thai Police to defer the enforcement of the Act on Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance 2022 has been made based on political impartiality or because of the weaponization of the law or not. The PM has been urged to promise to the public that the enforcement of the law shall commence as scheduled on 23 February 2023.
On this occasion, CrCF would like to invite civil society organizations, the public and the press to join us to submit this letter to Gen Prayut Chan-O-Cha at the Government House on Tuesday 14 February 2023 at 8.30am to ensure that no effort can be made by the power that be to betray the intention of the Thai public.
For more information, please contact:
Prakaidao Phurksakasemsuk, Project Manager, 091 698 1185