Govt pe­ti­tions UN over ‘dis­ap­pear­ances’

Bangkok Post - - NATIONAL - KING-OUA LAOHONG

The Rights and Lib­er­ties Pro­tec­tion De­part­ment is seek­ing to win the United Na­tions’ ap­proval to bring down the num­ber of peo­ple re­ported miss­ing in Thai­land af­ter at least four were found ei­ther alive or dead.

The UN has col­lected in­for­ma­tion about per­sons re­ported miss­ing in en­forced or in­vol­un­tary dis­ap­pear­ances since the 1992 Black May protests and recorded the num­ber of miss­ing peo­ple in Thai­land at 82, said de­part­ment di­rec­tor-gen­eral Pi­tikan Sithidej.

Of this num­ber, four have al­ready been lo­cated — two are still alive and the other two dead — so the de­part­ment had sub­mit­ted a re­quest to the UN ask­ing it to con­sider ad­just­ing the num­ber to 78.

She said the UN re­sponded to the re­quest cit­ing a rec­om­men­da­tion by its work­ing group on en­forced or in­vol­un­tary dis­ap­pear­ances not to cut the pub­lished fig­ure just yet, al­though the work­ing group would file the in­for­ma­tion for later use.

Ms Pi­tikan added that there is an­other op­tion to gain im­me­di­ate ex­clu­sion of these four names from the UN’s list.

If fam­i­lies or rel­a­tives of the four give a writ­ten state­ment in­di­cat­ing they no longer have any doubt as to their where­abouts, whether alive or dead, their names could pos­si­bly be re­moved from the UN’s list im­me­di­ately, she said.

The de­part­ment, there­fore, will visit the fam­i­lies and rel­a­tives of not only these four per­sons but also the other 78 peo­ple recorded on the same list.

The vast ma­jor­ity of the re­main­ing 78 cited were re­ported miss­ing dur­ing the Thaksin Shi­nawa­tra ad­min­is­tra­tion’s war on drugs in 2003 in the North.

Rel­a­tives of 38 of them have de­clared in court that they had no ques­tions re­gard­ing the dis­ap­pear­ances, she said.

Most of the oth­ers were re­ported miss­ing in sev­eral south­ern bor­der prov­inces, ac­cord­ing to the UN report.

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