As of last year, according to UN figures, there were nearly 80 unresolved cases of enforced disappearances in Thailand. Considering the country now has a law in place against enforced disappearances, in force since earlier in the year, how should we prevent and remedy these crimes?
Cases of enforced disappearances usually have three elements — the intent to deprive someone of their liberty (for example, by kidnapping); the involvement of state agents, or those who are under their authority; and the refusal to disclose the whereabout of the victim, whether dead or alive.
The task now is to search for victims of such crimes, and determine whether there were additional actions relating to the mistreatment of the victims which constitute a violation of the law and/or human rights. In Thailand, the main mechanism for dealing with enforced disappearances has been the UN Working Group of Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, which is under the United Nation’s Human Rights Council in Geneva.