Human Rights Commissions Neglecting Actionism

Where is the NHRC?
Poor elderly woman in Bangkok neglected by HR Commission

As in Malaysia, social advocates yell "Human Rights" to almost everything trendy, under the sun and moon. In a sweat-suffocating day, these champions of human rights, march into the negotiating rooms, lifted beyond the scale of reality by their learned associates overseas, to demand for their right to basically this-and-that. As for NGOs, one can expect them to scream right until the government officials fill their bank accounts with the right motivation to facilitate silence. Perhaps.

Nevertheless I don't have any confidence in these human rights commissions, laced with endless processes and bureaucracy that seem to boast of their credentials more than inspiring confidence. You'll easily find so-called activists decorating their hierarchy, all these pompous intellectuals, ass-kissing politicians and individuals who were picked for their family connection. 

People are selected by the few to think for the many, similar to one of those think-tanks, dedicated to a global issue and would, behind closed doors, doubly charge everything for the satisfaction of seeing themselves profit.

Ask a Malaysian, what can they tell you about SUHAKAM and you'll be greeted by cynical laughs; chuckles are quire common especially when many compare the organization with a toothless tiger, or a dead one. A joke which invites further ridicule and open expression of distrust. As for asking Thais what they think about "their" National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) many will offer you blank stares or uncomfortable coughs. Such is the politics of NGOs in Thailand, or some would say "in Bangkok" - to be more accurate.

Both countries share somewhat a perverted commonality, that society seems unconvinced at the effectiveness of these two organizations, despite their mandate for change. Naturally even the poor eye-ball the people running the show, all that expensive suits, and air of sophistication... the people behind these commissions, definitely living in a class of their own, and rubbing shoulders with the social-elites, pretending to care for those living on the streets or some rat-infested alley.  

Reporting incidents of human rights violation seems popular among Malaysians, despite knowing the backlogs of unsolved cases and that these commissions seem to go nowhere (interestingly similar to the government of the day), unless drama and loudness is applied to the fermentation. Otherwise, you can expect merely a hiccup of reaction, and then everything is forgotten... almost. 

Its disgusting to see the repetitive submission of reports, and seeing fancy dialogues and seminars in 5-star hotels, where everyone gets to wear a suit and speaks in a refined dignified manner, engaging in the orgy of buffet and exchanging business cards, but nothing for the poor is accomplished.

As for the Thais, they realistically place no confidence in the people running the NHRC, much less the (infamously made into a jest) impartiality it claims. 

While the rural and urban poor demand justice, from this or that government, with little resources they continue their fight for their rights, and their needs. They place their confidence elsewhere, away from luxuriously designed offices, social gatherings of elite-activists, and this annoying need for more conferences, seminars and meetings just to solve a handful of challenges. 

The poor, whether in the traditional Thai village, Malaysian plantation, or the incredible slums of Bangkok, demand their right to live. 

The poor care not of statistics, annual reports and creative-budgetary. They, like me, have moved on, away from the polished redundant behaviors of people who serve only themselves. In the end, hardship and perseverance compels the marginalized into action. Can't trust these commissions to do anything despite them claiming to be able to do so. 



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