Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
09BANGKOK1948
2009-08-07 10:52:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Bangkok
Cable title:  

INITIATIVES TO COUNTER TORTURE IN THAILAND

Tags:  PGOV PHUM DRL TH 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO7293
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHBK #1948 2191052
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 071052Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7824
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 9839
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1788
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7306
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 5658
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0040
RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI 6845
RHEFDHS/DIA DHS WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
UNCLAS BANGKOK 001948 

SIPDIS

FOR DRL/MLGA KRISTEN MCGEENY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM DRL TH
SUBJECT: INITIATIVES TO COUNTER TORTURE IN THAILAND

REF: STATE 070129

UNCLAS BANGKOK 001948

SIPDIS

FOR DRL/MLGA KRISTEN MCGEENY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM DRL TH
SUBJECT: INITIATIVES TO COUNTER TORTURE IN THAILAND

REF: STATE 070129


1. (SBU) Summary: In the wake of Thailand's accession to the
United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) in October
2007, the RTG has launched a number of initiatives to improve
awareness of and implementation of UNCAT. Most focus
domestically is on the situation in the Deep South, which is
afflicted by am ethno-nationalist separatist insurgency. The
U.S. supports several programs to strengthen the rule of law
with an eye towards the situation in the Deep South,
indirectly touching on UNCAT through education and outreach.
End Summary.


2. (U) In the wake of Thailand's accession to the United
Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) in October 2007,
the Rights and Liberties Protection Department (RLPD) within
the Ministry of Justice has been tasked with administering
Thailand's anti-torture campaign. The RLPD organized four
regional seminars in mid-2009 to educate government personnel
and NGO civil rights activists about UNCAT. In addition to
these outreach efforts, the RLPD is revising the
Thai-language translation of UNCAT for greater accuracy.
Finally, they plan to organize a conference for relevant RTG
agencies to clarify their respective roles in the development
of anti-torture laws and initiatives and to determine the
status and progress of these efforts.


3. (U) The RLPD is also in the process of creating an
exploratory committee charged with implementing an
Anti-Torture Law in Thailand. It will be chaired by the
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, who is
currently considering a proposed list of committee members.


4. (U) Thailand's National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)
also has a subcommittee on the anti-torture campaign.
Although the NHRC is currently in a transitional period
between commissioners, it conducted a seminar in January for
civil rights lawyers working in the Deep South. The seminar
focused on UNCAT, and NHRC sought feedback from the
participants on how to improve the implementation of UNCAT in
Thailand. A former judge chairs this subcommittee within the
NHRC.


5. (U) Meanwhile, both international and local NGOs actively
engage the Thai legal community on these issues. For
example, the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT)
launched a three-year campaign in Thailand supporting the
implementation of UNCAT. While their long-term plan calls
for capacity building for the defense bar and the judiciary,
they have also published two significant torture prevention
manuals that were subsequently translated into Thai. In May
they conducted a three-day workshop in Bangkok focusing on
the role of lawyers in preventing torture, with a particular
emphasis on lawyers practicing in the Deep South. Their
partners in this project were the International Commission of
Jurists, the Bangkok Office of the UN High Commissioner for
Human Rights, the Swiss Embassy in Bangkok, and the Cross
Cultural Foundation (a local organization).


6. (U) Finally, local NGOs, such as the Muslim Attorney
Center, continue to draw attention to alleged incidences of
torture in the Deep South by tracking individual cases and
maintaining and disseminating detailed records of the names
of victims, locations of detention, and circumstances of
abuse.


7. (SBU) As the above examples indicate, the main thrust of
Thailand's anti-torture campaign, both governmental and
non-governmental, is directed at outreach, education, and
legal community training. While not specific to anti-torture
initiatives, the USG currently supports an American Bar
Association program in the Deep South -- through DRL's Muslim
World grant program -- that bolsters the work of human rights
lawyers in the Deep South and touches on UNCAT (specifically
public education and outreach). Furthermore, USAID will soon
launch a project in the Deep South that will focus on
strengthening independent agencies and civil society, as well
as support peace-building efforts. Both these programs
provide a context within which the U.S. could buttress
Thailand's current anti-torture campaign.
JOHN