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(September 21, 2021) We must end torture in all its forms

The whole country has been shocked by a video clip of a rogue police officer torturing a drug suspect to death last month. The Thai public generally know and accept that the Thai police are not good cops but to watch them from their living rooms so blatantly torturing a man was a bit too much. The drama helped lawmakers pass the draft bill on prevention and suppression of torture and enforced disappearances last week without any objection; that same bill that was quickly dismissed in the parliamentary debate some six years ago.

The public mood has radically changed and even the lawmakers decided to bury their differences, which is pretty rare in Thai political culture, to pass the first reading of the draft bill that will criminalise torture by officials and address remedies for victims. Various civil society organisations have already widely commented and scrutinised the draft bill and provided new ideas and suggestions to further protect the public of such crimes. In the next several days, a special scrutiny committee with representatives comprising such well-known human rights defenders as Somchai Homla-or and Angkana Neelapaijit, who were nominated by key political parties, will further study the draft bill and make necessary recommendations.