12 Years Ago: Thaksin’s ‘War on Drugs’ Begins

Thailand’s ‘war on drugs’ – Human Rights Watch
…In February 2003, the Thai government, under then Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, launched a ‘war on drugs’, purportedly aimed at the suppression of drug trafficking and the prevention of drug use. In fact, a major outcome of this policy was arbitrary killings. In the first three months of the campaign there were some 2800 extrajudicial killings…

[It was 12 years ago this month that provincial police began to receive orders and lists from the central government concerning intransigent criminal elements to be liquidated. Professional “shooters” from the central police command were sometimes dispatched to areas that fell behind in their quotas.

This solution to the rampant drug problem was widely popular across the political spectrum. It is interesting to note that while those in the police will acknowledge and even enthusiastically explain the necessity of such action (as well as championing its use again), they also vehemently deny that any “innocents” or local political enemies were added to the lists for liquidation.

The exact numbers of dead have sometimes been debated, with international organizations, like Amnesty International, estimating as high as 2800, while the Royal Thai Police only admit 72 killings. Subsequent governments actually talked up the numbers of dead and promised future death tolls of 3000-4000 (More here: How many died in the drug purges? 2275, 2245, 1329, or 72?)]

2012: Thailand’s Drug War: This is not a war on Thais
2012: Court to hear order on War on Drugs killing
2012: Police officers sentenced to death in “War on Drugs” killings walk free on bail
2011: International community urged on impunity of “drug war” killers
2008: RIGHTS-THAILAND: War on Drugs Massacre – Officials Scot-Free
2008: ‘War on Drugs’ probe draws a blank
2007: Injustice for Thaksin? The drug-war dead must weep
2007: Thaksin’s war on drugs kin still wait for justice – Mass killing of tribesmen remains unsolved
2005: Thaksin war on drugs led to the yaba craze
2003: Amnesty denounces ‘murder spree’ in Thai war on drugs

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