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Women human rights defenders recognised

Graphic: Winners of the Commission's awards

Four women and women's groups have won awards from the National Human Rights Commission for their outstanding work as human rights defenders.

Four women and women's groups have won awards from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for their outstanding work as human rights defenders, The Nation reported.

The presentation was held to mark International Women's Day.

Honoured by the NHRC were the Women's Group for the Protection of Community Rights from Loei's Mining Operations; Pinnapa Preuksapan, the wife of missing Karen activist Porlajee "Billy" Rakchongchaeron; Bangkok Post reporter Achara Ashayagachat; and the Su Cheewit women's group.

NHRC commissioner Angkhana Neelapaijit said that human rights defenders deserved not just recognition but also protection.

"We need to find measures to help protect them and support their ongoing contributions to Thailand," she said.

Graphic: Audience members at the presentation

In Loei, 12 women are facing charges related to their participation in a local conservation group's campaign to block mining operations that could endanger the local environment and public health.

"Even though we are facing legal threats, we won't give up our fight. We need to protect our community for our children and grandchildren," Ranong Kongsang, a member of the Loei group, said.

Pinnapa has won recognition for speaking up for her husband, who disappeared several years ago under suspicious circumstances. She demanded the justice system proceed to find out who was behind his disappearance, regardless of how complicated and exhausting the process might be.

Achara, who has long covered human right issues, said every effort to protect human rights counted. "Speaking up is a way to prevent the problem. Speak up, and our own safety as well as community's safety will rise," she said.

A representative of the Su Cheewit women's group said one of the main obstacles in delivering help to women who were lured into prostitution was the problematic attitudes of many officials.

Date: 8 March 2016

Source: The Nation


Image credits

  1. Winners of the Commission's awards - National Human Rights Commission of Thailand
  2. Audience members at the presentation - National Human Rights Commission of Thailand