Northern activists urge junta to lift martial law to allow public participation in reform

The Northern People’s Reform Committee of Thailand and other northern civil society organizations urged the junta to lift martial law to guarantee that people could truly participate in the national reform process.
About a hundred representatives from the Northern People’s Reform Committee of Thailand together with 33 civil society organizations based in Thailand’s North gathered in central Chiang Mai on Friday morning to discuss the new constitution and the junta’s reform plans.
In the meeting, the group pointed out that under martial law, it is impossible to carry out a genuine reform process and that the new constitution currently under discussion by the National Reform Committee (NRC) and the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) should prioritize decentralization in order to allow people to participate in resource management and state welfare policies.
The group’s open letter, submitted to the NRC, stated that “The people’s reform committee would like to request the NRC to recommend the government to lift martial law to create a process in which people’s voices and participation from different areas can take part effectively in designing the new draft constitution.”
Earlier on 5 November, 12 organizations in Thailand’s Northeast also issued a statement against the junta’s reform plan, resulting in 17 of the statement’s signatories being forced to report to military camps in the region.
Representatives of the Northern People’s Reform Committee of Thailand (right) hand over the demands and suggestions of the group to Churairat Kulchakwat, member of the NRC from Chiang Mai (second left)