National Human Rights Commission (Thailand)

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National Human Rights Commission of Thailand
khana kammakan sitthi manutsayachon haeng chat
Constitutional organization overview
Formed13 July 2001 (2001-07-13)
Annual budget211.3 million baht (FY2019)
Constitutional organization executives
  • What Tingsamitr, Chairman
  • Pirom Sriprasert, Secretary-General

The National Human Rights Commission of Thailand (Thai: คณะกรรมการสิทธิมนุษยชนแห่งชาติ; RTGSkhana kammakan sitthi manutsayachon haeng chat ) (NHRCT) was established on 13 July 2001 as a national human rights institution.[1]


The commission came into being after a clash, known as "Black May", between pro-democracy demonstrators and the military in May 1992 which resulted in numerous casualties.[2] The cabinet (42: Prem Tinsulanonda 3 March 1980 – 30 April 1983) passed a resolution in September 1992, to establish a national organization to protect human rights. The national human rights commission was eventually mandated in Article 199 and 200 of the constitution adopted in October 1997, and formally constituted in July 2001.[3] From its inception to 31 May 2005, it received 2,148 complaints of which 1,309 had already been investigated, 559 were still in the process of investigation, and 209 were in the process of evidence gathering. The complaints covered not only civil and political rights, but also other rights including economic, social, and cultural. As for the "clash" that inspired the NHRCT, on 16 May 2002, Amnesty International issued a press release noting that ten years later, justice had still not been served.[4]

The NHRCT has been receiving an decreasing number of complaints from the public from FY2003 to FY2015, the last year reported.[5]

Oreganization and budget[edit]

The NHRCT is composed of the commission, headed by a chairman, and six commissioners. As of 2018 the commission chairman is What Tingsamitr.[6] The commission is supported by the Office of the National Human Rights Commission. Its secretary-general as of 2018 is Pirom Sriprasert.[7]

The FY2019 budget of the NHRCT is 211.3 million baht.[8]

2006 coup[edit]

The NHRCT began to experience difficulties after the Thai military seized power in the 2006 Thailand coup. The commission remains in existence but members have not been appointed to replace those whose terms have come to an end. Saneh Chamarik, chairman of the Commission, defended the coup, stating in an interview, "I do not think [the coup] is about progression or regression [of democracy], but about problem solving." His remark was criticized by Suwit Lertkraimethi, an organizer of the 19 September Network against Coup d'Etat, who noted, "His role is to protect human rights, but his statement showed his approval of human-rights violations." Suwit demanded Saneh's resignation from the NHRCT.[9]


The NHRCT was accredited with "A status" by the International Co-ordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions (ICC), and is a member of the regional NHRI network, the Asia Pacific Forum. In 2014 an international panel recommended that the NHRCT's accreditation be downgraded because its composition was not diverse, it lacked public input, and it failed to address human rights issues in a timely manner. The NHRCT took three years to complete and publish a report into alleged human rights violations in 2010, and in 2014 had failed to produce a report on incidents in 2013. If reduced to B status, the NHRCT would be unable to express its opinions or present written documents to the UN Human Rights Council, the NHRCT would be reduced to observer status at regional and international human rights conferences, and the NHRCT would be barred from voting at meetings of the ICC.[10]

The NHRCT has been downgraded to "B status" since 2016 by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI), formerly the ICC.

Notable decisions[edit]

  • On 16 June 2011, the Office of the President of Khon Kaen University (KKU) accused Faculty of Law acting dean Kittibodi Yaipool and his staff of destroying official documents, and barred them from entering the grounds of the faculty. Kittibodi appealed to the NHRCT, which met in July to consider the case.[11] On 28 February 2012, the NHRCT issued a report condemning KKU for arbitrarily and unjustly dismissing Kittibodi, urged the university to exonerate Kittibodi and his personnel, and consider reinstating them to their former positions.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About Us". National Human Rights Commission of Thailand. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  2. ^ Ken Bhattacharjee (December 1999). "The New National Human Rights Commission Act in Thailand". Focus. Asia-Pacific Human Rights Information Center. 18. II. Background. Retrieved 9 March 2012. The impetus to create an independent national human rights commission in Thailand came in May 1992, when the military cracked down on massive pro-democracy demonstrations in the capital, Bangkok, resulting in at least fifty-two deaths, thirty-eight disappearances, and hundreds of injuries
  3. ^ "The First National Human Rights Commission of Thailand: some reflections of the six-year experience" (PDF). Report submitted at the 12th Annual Meeting of the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions. Sydney, Australia: Asia Pacific Forum. 24–27 September 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 14, 2009. Retrieved 9 March 2012. The First National Human Rights Commission of Thailand started in July 2001. Under the National Human Rights Commission Act B.E. 2542 (1999), the commissioners hold office for a six-year term and serve only one term. Subsequently, the present commission ends its term in July 2007 and remains until the newly appointed members take office. It is, therefore, the good opportunity that the report to the 12th Annual Meeting will reflect its experience of the past six years.
  4. ^ "Thailand: 10 years later — still no justice for the May 1992 victims" (Press release). Amnesty International. 16 May 2002. Retrieved 9 March 2012. It has been 10 years since the military violently suppressed mass pro-democracy demonstrations in Bangkok during May 1992. At least 52 people were killed, hundreds were injured, and 34 'disappeared' without a trace. Yet those responsible have still not been brought to justice.
  5. ^ "Statistical information on complaints". National Commission on Human Rights of Thailand (NCHRT). Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  6. ^ "Profiles of Commissioners". National Human Rights Commission of Thailand (NHRCT). Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  7. ^ "Executive Officials". National Human Rights Commission of Thailand (NHRCT). Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  8. ^ Thailand Budget In Brief Fiscal Year 2019. Budget Bureau. 2018. p. 94. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  9. ^ "Activists to hold anti-coup gathering". The Nation. 22 September 2006. Archived from the original on 5 October 2006. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  10. ^ "Thai human rights commission fails appraisal". Bangkok Post. 2014-12-31. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  11. ^ "KKU President Absent, NHRC Hears Law Dean's Case". The Isaan Record. 26 July 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
  12. ^ "NHRC Exonerates Law Dean, Condemns KKU". The Isaan Record. 8 March 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2012.

External links[edit]