Pubdate: Mon, 24 Feb 2003
Source: Associated Press (Wire)
Copyright: 2002 Associated Press


GENEVA - Thai authorities must investigate alleged breaches of human rights 
by law enforcement officials during a government-launched crackdown on the 
drugs trade, a United Nations expert said Monday.

Asma Jahangir, the U.N. expert on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary 
executions, said Thailand should ensure "the strict limits on the use of 
lethal force ... are followed rigorously and without exception."

There have been nearly 500 slayings, many in murky circumstances, since the 
crackdown began on the drugs trade on Feb. 1.

Jahangir, a Pakistani lawyer, called on Thai authorities to investigate 
each death to assess whether law enforcement officials were involved. They 
should ensure "the perpetrators of human rights violations are brought to 
justice in accordance with national and international standards," she said.

Thai authorities said police were involved in just 22 of the killings, and 
that those were in self-defense. They blamed the other deaths on drug gangs 
seeking to silence potential informants.

But human rights advocates fear police officers are arranging the killings 
or executing suspects without trial. London-based Amnesty International 
called the crackdown "a de facto shoot-to-kill policy" that encourages 
killings and puts police officers under heavy pressure to produce results 
or lose their jobs.

Thai law enforcement officials have said it is possible some rogue officers 
are involved in executions, but defend the crackdown as an essential way to 
rid the community of drugs.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom