Human rights activists worry that the government’s new campaign against drugs will result in a heavy death toll as happened during Prime Minister’s Thaksin Shinawatra’s administration.
Govt declares new war on drug trade
Activists fear repeat of Thaksin mistakes
A policeman holds a plastic bag of money and drugs that belonged to a dead Thai drugs dealer he shot in the road. AFP
A government plan to launch a fresh crackdown on drugs is raising concerns among human rights advocates who fear a repeat of the mistakes which characterised the Thaksin Shinawatra administration’s war on drugs.
It is believed up to 2,600 people were killed, many in suspicious circumstances, during the 2003 campaign launched by Thaksin.
Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban yesterday called a meeting of the National Narcotics Board to discuss the operational details of a new campaign aimed at curbing drug use and drug-related crime. Mr Suthep chairs the board.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is scheduled to launch the year-long campaign next month.
The new drug crackdown will focus on border provinces such as Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son in the North and Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat in the South.
Authorities will also intensify their efforts in 175 districts, mostly in the central provinces, where the drug trade and use are rampant, Mr Suthep said.
The new campaign comes in the wake of the killing of a 12-year-old boy, Phokin Deephiu, in a Dec 4 drive-by shooting in Ayutthaya, believed to have been carried out by suspected drug dealers Charnchai and Noppon Prasongsil. Charnchai, alias ‘‘Joke Paikiew’’, was killed in a shoot-out with police on Saturday night, while his younger brother, Noppon, or ‘‘Jib Paikiew’’, was apprehended early Tuesday.
Human rights advocates who monitored the Thaksin government’s war on drugs have voiced concerns over the planned new nationwide campaign.
‘‘The government should learn from the Thaksin government’s war on drugs in which about 2,600 drug suspects were killed,’’ said Angkhana Neelaphaijit, chairwoman of the Working Group on Justice and Peace.
Ms Angkhana urged the public to monitor the new campaign very closely to ensure it abided by the law in dealing with drug suspects.
National Human Rights Commission member Niran Pithakwatchara said the government should focus on reducing demand for drugs rather than suppression.
The use of violence against drug suspects was not the right solution to the problem, Dr Niran said.
Mr Suthep yesterday dismissed the concerns, offering an assurance that his campaign would be different from Thaksin’s drug war.
‘‘This government will follow the law strictly in drug suppression operations,’’ the deputy prime minister said.
‘‘We don’t support killing [of drugs suspects]. Why do we have to kill them?’’
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declare – to announce officially that something is true or happening ประกาศ
trade – a type of business การค้าขาย
launch – to start something เริ่มต้น เริ่มทำ
crackdown – strong action that someone in authority takes to stop a particular activity การใช้กำลังเข้าปราบปรามของเจ้าหน้าที่
advocate – someone who strongly and publicly supports someone or something ผู้สนับสนุน
characterise – to describe someone or something in a particular way ถูกมองว่า
suspicious – a feeling that someone or something cannot be trusted — มีความสงสัย, ด้วยความสงสัย, สงสัย, พิรุธ
circumstances – facts or conditions that affect a situation เหตุการณ์แวดล้อม
campaign - a planned group of especially political, business or military activities which are intended to achieve a particular aim การรณรงค์narcotics – illegal drugs such as heroin or cocaine ยาเสพย์ติด
operational details – plans for how an activity will be carried out
aim – purpose; goal เป้าหมาย จุดมุ่งหมาย
curb – to control or limit something that is harmful ระงับ, ควบคุม
chair – to be the person in charge of a meeting, committee, or company ดำรงตำแหน่งประธาน, ทำหน้าที่ในฐานะประธาน
authorities – people who have the power to make decisions or enforce the law เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
intensify – to strengthen เข้มข้นขึ้น
rampant – existing, happening or spreading in an uncontrolled way รุกลาม อาละวาด กำเริบ รุนแรงจนควบคุมไว้ไม่ได้
in the wake of – happening after an event or as a result of it สืบเนื่องมาจาก
drive-by shooting – a shooting done from a moving vehicle
suspected – thought to be something เป็นที่สงสัย
dealer – a person or company that buys and sells a particular product ผู้จำหน่าย
alias – used when a person, especially a criminal or an actor, is known by two names; used before a different name that someone uses instead of their real name ฉายา, สมญานาม
apprehended – arrested; caught by the police ถูกจับ, โดนจับกุม
monitor – to regularly check something or watch someone in order to find out what is happening ตรวจสอบ ตรวจตรา
voice – to express your feelings or opinions ออกความคิด
concern – a worry ความกังวล
nationwide – throughout a whole country ทั่วทั้งประเทศ
suspect – a person who is thought to have committed a crime ผู้ต้องสงสัย
justice - fairness in the way people are dealt with ความเป็นธรรม, ความถูกต้อง, ความยุติธรรม
urge – to advise someone very strongly about what action or attitude they should take ผลักดัน, กระตุ้น
ensure – to make certain that something happens or is done รับรอง ให้ความมั่นใจ
abide by – to follow a rule, law or instruction ทำตามกฎหมาย
commission – a group of people who have been formally chosen to discover information about a problem or examine the reasons why the problem exists คณะกรรมการ, คณะกรรมาธิการ
focus – to give attention, effort, etc. to one particular subject, situation or person rather than another เพ่งความสนใจ
reduce – to make something smaller or less in amount, size, importance etc ลดลง
demand – the amount of a product or service that people want ความต้องการ
suppression – stopping an activity from happening, in this case, criminal activity การปราบปราม
violence – physical force with the deliberate intention of causing damage to property or injury or death to people ความรุนแรง
solution – a way of solving a problem or dealing with a difficult situation วิธีแก้ปัญหา
dismiss – to refuse to accept that something might be true or important ไม่สนใจ,แย้งกลับ
assurance – a promise; a guarantee การรับประกัน, การรับรอง
strictly – completely อย่างเข้มงวด
operation – a planned activity involving a lot of people, especially soldiers or police officers การปฏิบัติการ
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