The Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand (TRCT) was formed by the government of Abhisit Vejjajiva to look into the military violence in 2010.
The military was summoned by Abhisit, who was the Prime Minister then, in the wake of the “Red Shirt” street protests in Bangkok. According to the declaration of protest, the Red Shirts was against the military coup of 2006, which had removed Thaksin Shinawatra as the premier of Thailand.
Two years later, after more than 60-million Baht budget, the TRCT had released a report. The report highlights a mysterious group of “Black Shirts” an alleged militant arm of the protesters and the April-May conflicts with the government-led military.
On 23 September 2012, the People’s Information Centre (PIC) a group of Thai academics from the local universities met in Bangkok and challenged TRCT’s report, casting further doubts about the lack of information and inaccuracies.
Associate Prof Puangthong Pawakkrapan, a representative and Chulalongkorn University Political Science lecturer stated that the TRCT final report paid too much attention to the “men in black” but failed to clarify who they were or reveal how people they killed.
Over 90 people were killed during the protests, while 2,000 people were injured.
It is a challenging period for Thailand, as many who propelled the government of Yingluck Shinawatra to power are expecting justice for the deaths and the mass violation of human rights by the then government of Abhisit.
Prime Minister Yingluck has been advocating for reconciliation for the troubled country despite the resistance of the political minority opposition, the Democrat Party.
PIC had also revealed that the government of Abhisit had failed to protect the rights of Thais in peaceful assembly and freedom of expression as enshrined in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Some members of PIC believed that TRCT is influenced by Democrats and the sympathizers of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) from within the commission. There is also an absence of representation from the ruling Pheu Thai Party and members of the Red Shirt movement.
In an age of democracy, the truth of justice is bound to accountability and transparency. Thai politics is known for the deepening divide but the majority in the election of 2011 expressed an urgent need for reconciliation. The power of the people must be respected within democratic measure.
Yingluck, as part of her election pledges, is focusing on an uphill battle to restore justice and values in line with human rights and democracy.