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Thailand’s bill against torture and enforced disappearances comes into effect

Photo: Luke Duggleby/Redux
Photo: Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn, human rights expert and currently the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, gives a talk to security officials about the situation of human rights issues in Thailand on December 21, 2020 in Songkhla Province. Luke Duggleby/Redux

Two months after getting the nod from parliament, Thailand’s new legislation criminalising torture and forced disappearances came into effect. Formally known as the Act on Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearances, the bill was published in the Royal Gazette on 24 October 2022.

The law’s 34 sections provide means for prosecuting government officials guilty of such wrongdoings while protecting civil servants who perform their duties in good faith.

Torture and enforced disappearance have long been problems in the country. However, most reported cases were never resolved, and hardly anyone was ever held accountable.

Adopting the long-delayed legislation is widely seen as an important step toward preventing torture, ill-treatment and enforced disappearance. It also might give effect to the provisions of the U.N. Convention Against Torture, enabling Thailand’s ratification of this human rights treaty.