Human rights commission 'reset'

Human rights commission 'reset'

The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) has voted to “set zero” on the incumbent National Human Rights Commission, whose members will remain acting commissioners until new members are chosen.

The NLA voted 199-0 on Thursday to pass the organic law on the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

Thailand’s NHRC has been ranked low internationally because the members were selected mainly by judges, a process viewed not diversified enough under the Paris Principles.  

After being approved, the bill will be sent back to constitutional writers, who drafted it, and to the NHRC. If the two bodies view some points in the NLA-approved version are unconstitutional, a three-way joint panel will be set up to sort out the differences before it is enacted.

Before casting the vote on Thursday, the NLA members debated three options.

First, all existing NHRC members should be removed but remain acting commissioners to pave the way for a more internationally accepted screening process.

Second, they should continue to serve their terms because they were selected in line with the law at the time and a National Council for Peace and Order order.

Third, they should complete their three-year term and a new screening method could be used after they leave office. 

After a break, the NLA voted to choose the first option -- all existing NHRC commissioners will be removed from office when the law takes effect but will serve as acting commissioners until the new ones are screened within 320 days.

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