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state enterprise labour unions.24 Prior to his disappearance Tanong received threatening phone calls, told colleagues he believed he was being followed and was ordered by the Ministry of Interior to not attend the annual meeting of the International Labour Organisation in Geneva. He was last seen by a colleague leaving his office on the evening of 19 June 1991. Tanong was an insulin-dependent diabetic and did not have his medication with him at the time of his disappearance. The following morning his car was found parked at a strange angle on the curb in front of his office with what appeared to be footprints of army boots on the backseat. Tanong has not been seen since. The then-military government denied any involvement in his disappearance. In 1993, the Thai Parliamentary Committee on Justice and Human Rights, which reviewed the case and heard testimony from academics and police witnesses concluded that the probable cause of Tanong’s disappearance was his conflict with the military-government but said it found no new information and refused to make its report public. The Parliamentary Committee on Labour and Social Welfare also conducted an investigation but it was not made public. In June 2000, access to these two reports was requested under the Official Information Act but access was denied on the grounds that release of the information would have an impact on others. In October 2001, the Government of Thaksin Shinawatra ordered the newly established Independent Committee for Investigating Missing Persons and Paying Compensation to the Victims of the Black May Events of 1992 to also investigate Tanong’s disappearance. One year after Tanong’s disappearance, mass protests against the National Peace Keeping Council took place in Bangkok. After General Suchinda Kraprayoon, leader of the February 1991 military coup, was appointed Prime Minister in April 1992, pro-democracy protests began and continued to grow in size. After negotiations between the Government and opposition parties broke down on 17 May a large opposition rally took place. The security forces followed a policy of use of excessive force in their response to the rally. National and international human rights organisations active in Thailand at the time documented summary executions, unnecessary and disproportionate use of lethal force, violations of medical neutrality and removal of bodies without proper inquest or autopsy procedures.25 Officials reported that 56 people were killed, 696 injured and 175 remained missing, however, unofficial reports were considerably higher.26 There is no evidence to suggest that the missing were being held in secret army detention. Rather there is evidence indicating that officials piled dead bodies onto trucks and disposed of them in a clandestine manner. Despite rumours and some solid leads, 20 years later the remains of those missing after the crackdown have not been located. The failure to locate the remains and to attribute responsibility for the deaths, is largely due to efforts by various Governments and individuals to ensure the truth is not revealed. The UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances has accepted 31 cases of enforced disappearances which took place during the violent crackdown by security forces in May 1992.27

Bangkok Post, Tanong Mystery, 21 November 2001. Amnesty International, The Massacre in Bangkok, September 1992 and Physicians for Human Rights and Asia Watch, Bloody May: Excessive Use of Lethal Force in Bangkok: The events of May 17-20, 1992, October 1992. 26 Amnesty International, The Massacre in Bangkok, September 1992. 27 UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances, E/CN.4/2002/79, 18 January 2002. 24 25

Enforced Disappearances in Thailand  
Enforced Disappearances in Thailand  

Enforced Disappearances in Thailand

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