Thai Working Group Receives Justice Minister’s Support
The disappearance of Thai lawyer and Muslim rights activist
Somchai Neelahphaijit will be given high priority, the
Thai Minister of Justice Pol. Gen. Chidchai Vanasatidya
assured the Thai Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights
Mechanism, in a meeting on August 17.
Human rights lawyer and former Chair of the Muslim Law
Professionals' Association Somchai disappeared on March
12 from Bangkok. Before his disappearance, he represented
the five men accused of involvement in an attack on an
army base as well as those arrested for suspected links
to the terror group Jemaah Islamiyah.
Referring to other reports of human rights violations
in the south of Thailand, the minister assured the working
group that the government is attending to this concern
with full and sincere efforts. While the Ministry of Justice
is currently focused on the problems of drugs and international
crime, the protection of human rights and the strengthening
of grassroots and non-government organizations are also
priorities of the Thai government. The minister expressed
his support of the Thai Working Group and asked the group
to submit a proposal of cooperation, including possibilities
for financial support.