Human rights body to have powers boosted

Human rights body to have powers boosted

The Senate has approved a request to restore the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)'s power to mediate conflicts associated with rights violations.

Prakairat Tonthirawong, a member of the NHSC in her capacity as acting chairwoman of the commission, told the NHRC that the Senate last Monday approved the NHSO's proposal to restore its authority to mediate human rights conflicts.

The lack of such authority was a major hindrance to the timely protection of rights. It also stood in the way of getting across proper remedies to those affected by rights violations, she said.

A study was carried out before the proposal went to the Senate. Ms Prakairat said that those who gave their opinions about the move include the Australian ambassador to Thailand who spoke about the scope of the power of the Australian human rights commission.

The Sub-Committee on Accreditation (SCA), under the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (Ganhri), also backed the change, she said.

In 2015, the Geneva-based Ganhri downgraded the independent Thai body's status from A to B. This stripped the NHRC of the right to address and present its views during Human Rights Council sessions.

The SCA also raised its concern about the NHRC's independence and its lack of authority to mediate rights conflicts, according to Ms Prakairat.

Under Section 27 of the National Human Rights Commission Act under the abrogated 1999 constitution, the NHRC was authorised to mediate in rights-related conflicts. However, that power was lost in the Act after the present charter came into effect, she said.

The NHRC mediation power will work to settle cases before they reach court, she said.

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