Following the resignation of two human rights commissioners, Angkhana Neelapaijit and Tuenjai Deetes, from the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand (NHRCT), Human Rights Watch has called for a “total revamp of the flawed and scandal-ridden agency”.
In their reporting, Human Rights Watch, notes that Thailand’s commission for human rights had once been a model throughout Southeast Asia, however, in 2015 the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions and United Nations Human Rights Council downgraded the commission’s international ranking. This was due to government manipulation of the selection process for commissioners, they wanted to ensure a pro-government political bias.
In 2017, Thailand passed the NHRCT Act which removed the agency’s independence and effectively made it a “de-facto government mouthpiece”.
Human right commissioners Angkhana Neelapaijit and Tuenjai Deetes tried to oppose these moves but faced reprisals for their actions.
In May 2019, Neelapaijit faced a disciplinary inquiry and was threatened with impeachment for her observing legal proceedings and documenting human rights violations against opposition politicians and critics.
Human Rights Watch urges;
“[that the] selection of commissioners should be more inclusive and transparent than the current process, which has resulted in the appointment of inexperienced and unqualified candidates from a pool of government officials instead of human rights advocates”.
They further state:
“Only with significant reforms will the human rights commission be able to fulfill its duty to serve as an independent bulwark against human rights violations in Thailand”.
Read more here.