On 19 January, Thailand ratified the United Nation’s “International Convention for the Protection of All Person’s from Enforced Disappearance”. The convention will allegedly result in improved human rights protections in Thailand, as Thai law previously had no specific regulations for the treatment of missing persons. The term “Enforced disappearance” refers to government-supported arrest, detention, and abduction of an individual.
Article One of the Convention states:
1)No on shall be subjected to enforced disappearance
2) No exceptional circumstance whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification for enforced disappearance.
A major proponent for Thailand’s ratification of the convention has been Justice for Peace Foundation Chairwoman Aghkhana Neelaphaijit; Aghkhana’s husband was prominent Thai human rights lawyer specializing in human rights abuses in Southern Thailand. Somchai was last seen being arrested by Thai police in Bangkok in 2004. His body has never been recovered.
While Thailand has indeed made great steps forward in the world of Human Rights law by ratifying this convention, we’re wondering how the rules of the convention – specifically the regulations of Article 1, listed above – will apply to other nations. Can the rules of the “International Convention for the Protection of All Person’s from Enforced Disappearance” prevent the US military from detaining “terror suspects” and US citizens within Thailand under the recently approved “National Defense Authorization Act“? We suspect not.