Connect with us

Politics

New NGO law could target anti-governemnt activists

Neill Fronde

Published

 on 

PHOTO: The Office of the Council of State drafted the controversial law.

A controversial new NGO law was drafted with critics arguing it targets activists and the Thai government saying it ensures transparency. The Draft Act on the Operations of Not-for-Profit Organisations was written by the Office of the Council of State in February and debated in the second half of March, but could be passed into law soon. Human rights groups claim the law has provisions that would allow the Thai government to harass civil society groups and activism leaders by qualifying them as non-government organisations, or NGOs. The new law would require NGOs to re-register following new guidelines the government claims will cut down on dubious organisations claiming money but not working for the public interest.

The problem arises because the protests that have plagued the Thai government for that last year often receives backing from foreign groups. A statement from 3 UN Special Rapporteurs worried that the broad language of the law could restrict non-profits working for human rights, with a vague definition of what qualifies as an NGO potentially including any group and enforcing strict NGO regulations on them. Section 1 of the draft states a sweeping goal for the bill.

“[…]to regulate the operation of not-for-profit organizations in the Kingdom to ensure propriety, morality, openness, transparency, and the genuine serving of public and national interest without any hidden and fraudulent agenda.”

This broadness could be used to classify anti-government groups as NGOs and then punish them with little legal recourse. Another section allows authorities to circumvent warrants and advance notice to enter organisations’ offices and copy their emails or other sensitive documents. Equally worrisome are the harsh penalties of up to 100,000 baht in fines and 5 years in jail for those who break the law.

The Union for Civil Liberty stressed that the heavy-handed punishments could dissuade organisations that benefit society by stifling non-profit organisations and prosecuting those that do not sufficiently meet the government’s demands. The Centre for the Protection of Children’s Rights Foundation noted that the NGO law had become much more extreme than the original drafted version. The Bangkok Post suspected the bill is intended to intimidate protest groups calling for democratic reform and rallying against the lese majeste laws.

“The bill will clip the wings of civic agencies that challenge unjust laws and law enforcement. The government must be open to scrutiny. If it practises good governance, there is no reason for concern and the new law should not be used in a dubious way.”

The law has not been enacted yet but is expected to go to parliament later this month after a cabinet review.

SOURCE: Global Voices

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Denis

    Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 6:51 pm

    What a good idea … Some NGOs subsidized by the USA will clear the landscape and stop manipulating naive students. Thailand will be able to regain some political calm and focus on fighting the pandemic.
    And genuine NGOs will also be able to do their work while respecting the principle of neutrality.

  2. Avatar

    Stardust

    Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 6:58 pm

    Juntas are the enemies of human rights, free speech and democracy. This we can and could see in history and around the world with junta countries.

  3. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 8:55 pm

    Well for once I agree with the government.
    NGO not for profit organisations, mostly do not reveal what the managers are earning.
    It is a racket. Set up as a not for profit NGO to look after lame pussy cats, save a few, with cute little pictures of kittens, and the chief executive are flying first class, living in five star hotels, and making $2000 a week, in a deal where they dodge tax.
    Slap the cuffs on them boys in brown.

  4. Avatar

    Hasse

    Friday, April 16, 2021 at 11:11 am

    Thailand the new china

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Coronavirus Thailand21 mins ago

Covid patients with positive antigen test no longer need PCR test prior to treatment

Tourism53 mins ago

Thai tourism likely to hit rock bottom this year

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

Tuesday Covid Update: 14,150 new cases and 118 deaths

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Myanmar13 hours ago

Myanmar’s economy to shrink by 18% due to military coup and Covid-19

Singapore15 hours ago

Singapore plans to vaccinate 80%, reopen with quarantine-free travel by September

Thailand16 hours ago

Pattaya suspects arrested for live streaming breaking curfew

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand17 hours ago

Sinovac/AstraZeneca highly effective, according to Thai research

Phuket17 hours ago

Phuket vice governor says “Sandbox” tourists aren’t scared off by Covid situation

Thailand18 hours ago

Ministry of Education seeks 21.6 billion education subsidy

Coronavirus (Covid-19)18 hours ago

The ‘infodemic’ – interview with Helen Petousis-Harris about Covid misinformation

Best of19 hours ago

Phuket’s 8 Best Rooftop Bars

Coronavirus (Covid-19)19 hours ago

Ayutthaya logs 255 new infections, hospital beds full

Thailand19 hours ago

Another “monkey war” in Lop Buri, hundreds fight in the street- VIDEO

Thailand20 hours ago

Plantations International provides Pattaya with provisions

Coronavirus (Covid-19)20 hours ago

Monday UPDATE: 15,376 new infections, Provincial report

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism5 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending