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Former human rights commissioner accuses government loyalists of distorting protesters’ demands

Maya Taylor

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Former human rights commissioner accuses government loyalists of distorting protesters’ demands | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World
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The former commissioner of the National Human Rights Commission, Angkhana Neelapaijit, has taken to Facebook to defend the rights of student protesters. In her post, she also accuses those loyal to the government of misconstruing the protesters’ demands, saying the activists are being incorrectly accused of wishing to abolish the monarchy.

Angkhana defends the protesters’ rights to freedom of speech and expression, warning that any distortion of their demands will only serve to cause more division and possible violence within society. The protesters have produced a 10-point manifesto, calling for the dissolution of parliament, constitutional reform, and an end to the intimidation of government critics. It also calls on the government to investigate the suspected forced disappearance of several political activists since the 2014 military coup. The fate of Angkhana’s own husband, Somchai Neelapaijit, is still unknown, following his abduction 16 years ago.

In her Facebook post, Angkhana voices concern over the harassment faced by the current protesters, warning that there will not be enough prison space to hold everyone if police continue to arrest protesters and more people continue to speak out. Police have arrested a number of prominent activists, including human rights lawyer, Arnon Nampa, Phanuphong Chatnok, a member of Free Youth, and most recently, Parit Chiwarak, known as “Penguin”, leader of Thammasat University students. All 3 are currently out on bail.

Angkhana says the government has an obligation to ensure everyone is kept safe, warning officials against the use of violence or any other tactics employed to suppress dissent.

“Nobody must be harmed and there must be no enforced disappearance because of difference of opinion with the government.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Thailand

100,000 iLaw bill signatures to be verified, official tells staff to ‘hurry up’

Caitlin Ashworth

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100,000 iLaw bill signatures to be verified, official tells staff to ‘hurry up’ | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Line Today

The parliament president says he told staff to “hurry up” the process for verifying more than 100,000 signatures supporting a new constitution amendment bill proposed by a nonprofit organisation and backed by pro-democracy activists. Activists hope the process speeds up so the bill can be scheduled on the agenda for the next parliamentary session.

The draft, proposed by Internet Law Reform Dialogue, or iLaw, was sent to parliament last week along with signatures from more than 100,000 supporters. Parliament president Chuan Leekpai says staff are working on getting all of the signatures verified and even asked staff to “hurry up.” He says they have 45 days to verify the signatures. 50,000 valid signatures are required to have the draft considered by parliament.

The activists have been demanding a rewrite of the 2017 constitution for months.One of the proposed changes would require senators and local administrators. Currently, Thailand’s Senate is hand-picked by the ruling party.

Those opposing changes to the constitution also spoke up last week. A Thai Pakdee royalist group filed a petition with 130,000 signatures saying they are against changes.

Verifying the names is a lengthy process and Chuan doesn’t know exactly how long it will take. Half of the names on the iLaw bill have received initial verification, according to parliament advisor Sukit Atthopakorn.

After initial verification, the approved names are then forwarded to the Department of Provincial Administration to make sure they are eligible voters. The last step would calling each person to confirm they signed their name in support of the bill.

6 other amendment bills introduced by other political parties are already being discussed and a committee has been step up to review the bills, according to Democrat Party spokesperson Rames Ratanachaweng. He says those discussions won’t affect the iLaw bill.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post| Nation Thailand

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Politics

PM dismisses rumours of alliance with opposition to form new government

Maya Taylor

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PM dismisses rumours of alliance with opposition to form new government | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.thailandnews.co

Thai PM Prayuth Chan-o-cha has rubbished rumours that the ruling coalition parties plan to join forces with the opposition Pheu Thai party to form a new government. While the PM initially didn’t respond to the question, instead bidding reporters a good day and walking away, he did mumble that he had enough of a headache with just one party.

Thai PBS World reports that Deputy PM, Prawit Wongsuwan, also dismissed the question, accusing the media of being behind the speculation, as he pointed a finger at reporters gathered at Government House.

“You go and ask the one who spread the rumour.”

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda has dismissed rumours he’s planning to set up a political party with the PM and interior Permanent Secretary, Chatchai Promlert. Anupong says he’s no political expert and has never considered creating a political party.

Since July, anti-government protests have been taking place around the country, with activists calling for the PM’s resignation, the dissolution of Parliament, and for fresh elections to be held.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Thailand

Majority in survey say now is the time to share ideas to solve conflicts

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Majority in survey say now is the time to share ideas to solve conflicts | The Thaiger

A majority of those surveyed in a recent Suan Dusit Rajabhat University poll say now is the time to work together to solve the conflicts that are plaguing the country. The poll, known as the Suan Dusit Poll, was conducted online from September 23-25, asked for opinions on the long-standing conflicts in Thailand.

1,263 online netizens responded with a large majority-almost 92% saying now is the time for all who are concerned to come together to brainstorm ideas on how to resolve the conflicts. The rest of the respondents, around 8%, said other things. Each respondent was given more than one allowed answer when asked for suggestions of how to fix the issues with almost 89% saying the government should be open to all opinions. Almost 88% said there should not be any violence, 82% said no double-standards, 74% said forums should be held nationwide to allow opinions, and 69% wanted the parties involved in the conflicts to take a step backward.

However, the question of who should lead the country in resolving these issues was split closely between pollsters wanting core members and representatives of different groups, the prime minister, and the people. Only around 13% pointed towards the government sector as taking the lead and lastly, around 9% pointing to the students and youth.

A majority of respondents, about 75%, agree that the brainstorming would be successful with almost 25% saying it would be unlikely to be successful. Such a poll comes after major anti-government student protests at Bangkok’s Thammasat University have rocked the nation, with some saying, for the first time, the rallies have thwarted the Lese Majeste laws in place that have historically put a muzzle on free speech and criticisms of the monarchy and King. Such protests have led to the arrestsof those leading the movement especially after a plaque was placedat the Grand Palace declaring that “Thailand belongs to the people.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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