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Finally, Thailand’s House of Representatives approves a law against torture

289 of the MPs in attendance voted in favor, one abstained, and one opposed. The bill will go a long way toward preventing the kind of political dissidents and pro-democracy activists who have recently disappeared in Thailand, like Wanchalearm Satsaksit, in the future. Wanchalearm was taken hostage by armed guys on June 4 of last year in front of the Mekong Garden Apartment in Phnom Penh. The previous lack of legislation was in conflict with Thailand’s signing of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in 2007 and the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance in 2012. The Rights and Liberties Protection Department’s proposed law aims to protect those who uphold the law while simultaneously discouraging officials from doing so.

The proposed law will be presented to His Majesty the King and become operative 120 days after it has been printed in the Royal Gazette. The 37-year-old fled to Cambodia’s capital in 2014 after being summoned by authorities in the wake of a coup in May. Porlajee “Billy” Rakchongcharoen, a well-known environmentalist and head of the Karen community in Phetchaburi, was another person who vanished. This new legislation defines torture and forcible disappearance as crimes. It also provides a method to hold public employees accountable for such wrongdoings and provides protection to those who do their duties honestly. The incident was caught on CCTV, yet nothing has been done to aid with his recovery. It will become effective in December. The House of Representatives has lastly accepted a draft of the Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearances Act.

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