Thai lawyer picked for rights group
- Published: 3/01/2013 at 02:59 PM
- Online news:
International law expert Seree Nonthasoot has been selected to serve as the new Thai representative on the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR).
The Foreign Ministry's selection committee, chaired by permanent secretary Sihasak Phuangketkeow, agreed on Mr Seri's nomination on Thursday. He will serve as the AICHR member from Thailand for the 2013-2015 term. He was chosen for his solid background in human rights law, diplomatic sources said.
Boonthan Weerawongse, a veteran human rights defender, was second choice. The selection committee, which includes representatives from civil society, previously screened out two other candidates.
Seree Nonthasoot (Google+ photo)
Mr Seree's selection will be officially submitted to Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul for his signature and announcement. Mr Seree was first introduced to the ministry and to civil society groups by former AICHR representative Sriprapha Petcharamesree, to help draft the Asean Human Rights Declaration (AHRD).
This year's selection process was quite abrupt and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had a bigger say.
Indonesia is the only other country which has some participatory selection process in appointments to the rights commission. But the choice of candidacy was limited, like Thailand's.
Rafendi Djamin, a veteran human rights defender and the first AICHR representative was competing with well-known human rights lawyer Todung Mulya Lubis for the nomination. Mr Rafendi was reportedly re-elected, but the announcement will not be made until next week by Indonesia's foreign ministry.
Singapore has appointed Ambassador-at-Large Chan Heng Chee to replace Richard Magnus in November as its representative to the AICHR. Ms Chan also attended the launch of the AHRD, which was denounced by regional and global human rights organisations as short on progressive principles, in Phnom Penh in November.
Myanmar's representative was also to be replaced, as was Cambodia's. Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines were expected to retain their current representatives. There has been no news about a Lao AICHR replacement.
The AICHR, an overarching institution to promote and protect human rights in the region but with no punitive measures at hand, will face increasing challenges for the next three years as Asean converges into one community and cross-border human rights issues are likely to become more prevalent.
There are already several reports of human rights abuses in Myanmar - particularly the Rohingya abandonment and Kachin armed conflict - and in Laos, where well-known educator Sombath Somphone is missing, and issues relating to the Mekong dam's construction.
Related search: Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, AICHR
About the author
- Writer: Achara Ashayagachat