Civil society organization says constitution must be determined by the people not imposed by junta

An independent civil society organisation urged people to call for a public referendum before the junta’s draft constitution is passed to guarantee public participation and fairness of the draft.        

The People’s Reform Assembly of Thailand, an independent civil society organisation for national reform, on Monday issued a statement called ‘People’s Reform Assembly of Thailand: thinking before getting lost halfway through the draft constitution’.

The statement points out that the new draft constitution for national reform must not simply be imposed by the junta, but must be determined by the people through a public referendum and participation.

“The authorities and constitutional drafters must confirm that people have the right to freedom of expression to take part themselves in national reform without waiting for the government to give them [space] and information. [Moreover] the content and process to draft and implement the new constitution must be transparent and accessible to the public,” said the statement.

“To make the new constitution truly belong to all the people, people should call for a public referendum to be held before it is implemented,” the organisation concluded.

The People’s Reform Assembly of Thailand also stated that senators and parliamentary members must be elected by the people to answer public needs and that the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) must guarantee and improve all dimensions of human rights, such as labour rights, community rights, political rights, and rights to public health.

In addition, the civil society organisation pointed out that instead of establishing centralised reform committees based on different dimensions of reform, the government should establish reform committees based on provincial areas to allow more public participation in the reform agenda.

The reform organisation also added that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) should not be merged with the Office of the Ombudsman as the junta’s Constitutional Drafting Committee (CDC) has proposed.