South East Asian governments have declared various ‘wars on drugs’ over recent decades, most notably President Duterte and The Philippines (2016 – 2018) and Thailand’s former PM, Thaksin Shinawatra in 2003. Both of them have had questionable results with rights groups decrying the extrajudicial killings as trampling on basic human rights.
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. In 2007, an official investigation found that more than half of those killed had no connection whatsoever to drugs. Apart from the thousands who lost their lives, thousands more were forced into coercive “treatment” for drug addiction – Human Rights Watch.
Now the Thai government says it has decided to declare a fresh war on drugs. They say they’re going to “get even tougher on narcotic drugs across the country with an expectation of positive result in three months.”
Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan is convening high-level meetings of relevant agencies, including the military, the Internal Security Operations Command, Justice Ministry, Interior Ministry, Foreign Ministry and the police for discussions on cooperation between all agencies. This will include information-sharing, suppression operations, separation of responsibilities and strengthening of local communities to prevent drug abuses among their people.
The deputy PM has assigned ISOC to oversee the operations of all relevant agencies and local administration organisations and to provide support to them if needed. Troops based along the country’s porous border and border checkpoints will be tasked with intercepting drugs smuggled across Thai borders from neighbouring countries.
Additionally, ISOC, Foreign and Justice ministries have been assigned to seek cooperation from neighbouring countries to crack down on drug production facilities in those countries.
Local administration officials, from governors down to district chiefs, kamnan and village heads are being tasked to join efforts in strengthening local communities to be free from drugs while the Education Ministry will instruct schools to watch out for drug abuses among their students and, if it is necessary, to ask for assistance from the police to deal with the problem.
Deputy Prime Minister Prawit stressed the importance of rehabilitation of drug users to help them “kick the habit or to reduce their dependence on drugs.”
Discussing the drug seizures this year Prawit said authorities managed to seize 350 million meth pills, 18.5 tonnes of Ice, 900 kgs of heroin and 32 tonnes of marjjuana from last October until September this year.
He said that drug-making chemicals still continue to be smuggled to supply production facilities along Myanmar-China and Myanmar-Thailand border and Thailand remains a major transit point for the shipment drugs to overseas markets.
SOURCE: Thai PBS, The Thaiger