Thai prosecutor princess promotes rule of law
A Thai princess who became a criminal prosecutor and launched a campaign to help incarcerated women is now embarking on a global campaign to promote the rule of law and make "equal justice" a UN goal.
At the age of 34, Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol is Thailand's ambassador to Austria and to the UN agencies in Vienna, including the Office on Drugs and Crime.
The eldest grandchild of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and the eldest child of Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, she is also the driving force behind The Bangkok Dialogue on the Rule of Law, an international conference in the Thai capital on November 15.
The conference will bring together current and former world leaders - including Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and East Timor's former president Jose Ramos Horta - as well as global experts to discuss how justice and the rule of law are crucial to reducing poverty and promoting peace and development.
"Society cannot grow if there is instability and injustice," Princess Bajrakitiyabha said.
"Without the rule of law, without a good justice system it's always chaos," she said. "I think the rule of law is a very important pillar to development, to economic growth, and of course to human rights."
The princess, who is a staunch advocate of the rule of law, comes from a country whose lèse-majesté law protects the Thai monarchy from defamation. It is the world's harshest, with jail terms of three to 15 years for violators.
Thailand itself has faced long-running political turmoil that began with a 2006 military coup. It has left the country largely divided between supporters and opponents of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in the coup.
Bajrakitiyabha said that if she could write a rule of law goal for the next UN goals, from 2016 to 2030, "I would say the equal justice - effective, efficient and transparent justice systems for all."