Mittwoch, 12. März 2014

10th Anniversary of Somchai Neelapaijit's disappearance/10. Jahrestag des Verschwindens von Somchai Neelapaijit

Somchai's biography:

Part 1: Angkhana Neelapaijit's press conference at the FCCT on the 10th anniversary of her husband's forced disappearance

Part 2 - An analysis by Nicola Glass is coming soon. Der zweite Teil, eine Analyse von Nicola Glass, erscheint in Kürze.

Anmerkung: Von diesem Post gibt es diesmal leider nur eine englischsprachige Version, da sowohl der Videomitschnitt als auch die weiterführenden bzw. vertiefenden Links/Texte nur in englischer Sprache vorliegen. Zur Erleichterung ist der exakte Wortlaut der Erklärung unter dem Video nachlesbar.

Video: 04 March 2014 at the FCCT in Bangkok

(Although it has been now ten years since Somchai vanished, I have never given up my hope), hope that my husband´s disappearance can finally be solved and that my family can achieve justice and peace and closure.

But over the years the hope has grown thinner. Enforced disappearances affected many people in Thailand, not just my family, but many are afraid to seek justice, to seek truth. They are scared, because they have been threatened, especially in the South, where many of them do not (have) access to justice; sometimes they are paid to stay silent.

When Somchai disappeared in 2004 under the Thaksin Shinawatra regime, we were offered money. I was raising five children who have now grown up without their father. We were offered money and a scholarship for my daughters to study abroad, but in return we had to remain silent. We decided not to accept any money back then, but to continue to fight to battle for justice.

As you know, the battle has been continuing for ten years. My husband Somchai knew a lot about injustice. As a son of poor farmers he knew about suffering, exploitation and other social injustice. That´s what inspired him to become a lawyer to help marginalized people. Somchai has had a genuine and strong belief in the justice process. He represented defendands in many high profile cases, including the six Ramkamheang University students, who were charged with treason and communist acts, the case of the Chulalongkorn University student who was planted with drugs, and many cases in the Deep South.

At the time of Somchai´s disappearance the situation in the Deep South of Thailand which was already bad, had gotten even worse under the so-called counter-terrorism policy of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Somchai was helping to represent five villagers from Narathiwat province, who had been arrested and had been subject to torture. He wrote to complain to various agencies to ask the authorities to urgently investigate the case. Just only one day after he had launched the complaints he was abducted by a group of men who later were identified as police officers.

Somchai´s enforced disappearance has brought enormous changes to my life. From being an ordinary housewife with barely any knowledge of the law, I have had to struggle to raise my children through this difficult and upsetting (times), while trying at the same time to figure out a way to expedite justice for the father of my children. I always said even though the justice process may not bring his life back, but it should not be allowed to avoid the responsibility to give justice back to Somchai.

In the past ten years I have tried very hard to achieve justice. The Yingluck government has given me compensation but the money cannot restore the dignity of the victim, and despite this compensation there has never been one word of apology by the government or the Royal Thai Police. Even though the government has changed several times in the past ten years, the senior police have not. Under the government of Abhisit Vejjajiva which came after the Thaksin government, some of the senior Royal Thai police officers who were involved in the Somchai case, were removed or transferred to what we call in Thailand inactive posts.

But now under the Yingluck government they came back, and in very prominent positions. So, we keep going round in circles, governments change but the police stay the same.

As I have discovered it is almost impossible in Thailand for an ordinary person to reach out for justice and the rule of law in human rights abuse cases. It is difficult to convey how traumatic the experience can be to bear witness to the fact that a person who did so much for so many people, is not even bestowed with a gravestone where his descendants can hold a service in memory of him.

At the 24th session of the Human Rights Council held in Geneva last September Prime Minister Yingluck told Human Rights Commissioner Ms Navi Pillay and an international audience that Thailand is committed to human rights. But where is the evidence of this? The people or persons responsible for the enforced disappearance of my husband are free to step forward and ask for a pardon, or offer an apology. I could accept an apology, but I cannot accept the fact that 10 years on we are still fighting for justice. No one has been convicted, and there is no guarantee (that) this sort of thing won´t happen again. This culture of impunity needs to be stopped. Not just for me or my family, but for hundreds of others who have suffered similar injustice.

I thank you.

More informations on forced disappearances and the Somchai case/
Weitere Informationen zum Thema "verschwundene" Menschen in Thailand und zum Fall Somchai  (nur in Englisch):

Somchai's biography/Somchais Biografie (nur in Englisch):

FCCT Address/Adresse :
The Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand
The Penthouse, Maneeya Center
518/5 Ploenchit Road
Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330

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