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Human rights group iLaw calls on Parliament to approve draft charter amendment

Maya Taylor



PHOTO: Nation Thailand

The director of iLaw, a Thai human rights non-profit group, is calling on Parliament to approve its charter amendment bill. Jon Ungphakorn made the call as MPs and senators meet for a second day to vote on 7 draft charter amendments. The amendment submitted by iLaw is the only one not submitted by the government and opposition MPs.

Yesterday, protesters attempting to reach the Parliament building in Bangkok, where the debate is taking place. Protest leader Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul’s demands that Parliament approve the amendment. It’s understood the proposed amendment includes a section on reforming the Monarchy to allow for greater accountability and transparency.

Addressing Parliament, Jon said the iLaw amendment belonged to the people of Thailand, with nearly 100,000 people signing a petition to support it. He says iLaw believes Thai society wants a new, more democratic constitution than that which is currently in place (which was voted on and approved in a referendum in 2017).

“Under the current constitution, the people have no right to decide who will form government and who will become prime minister. There are other components within it which were not chosen by the people. So, we have proposed a democratic amendment to get rid of dictatorship and open the way for a charter drafting assembly to be set up.”

The current constitution was drawn up in 2017 by the junta-backed government that installed former army general Prayut Chan-o-cha as PM following a 2014 military coup. Jon says the current generation of pro-democracy activists are losing patience in their quest for a truly democratic political system.

“The young generation will not wait for a drawn out return to democracy. Therefore, we hope parliamentarians attach importance to the people’s draft and will not reject it in the first reading.”

Yingcheep Atchanont from iLaw adds that the draft amendment contains 5 “aspirations”, including, “for the people to be able to elect a prime minister via the House of Representatives, for a transparent government which is subject to scrutiny, for the people to determine their own future, for a justice system ensuring fairness to all, and for a supreme law that is written by the people to guarantee basic rights.”

The bill has been heavily criticised by senator Lertrat Rattanawanich, who calls it a breach of the current constitutional law. He points out that the amendment does not rule out potential future changes in relation to the Monarchy.

Meanwhile, after Paiboon Nititawan from the ruling Palang Pracharat party pointed out that the bill could not be passed if iLaw had received foreign funding in the past, Jon issued a statement on the group’s Facebook page, insisting that it has never allowed foreign investors to interfere with its independence, nor does it intend to in the future.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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  1. Avatar


    Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 11:27 am

    Ilaw, une ONG financée par des fonds étrangers: Open Society Foundation, Heinrich Böll Stiftung, National Endowment for Democracy, Fund for Global Human Rights, American Jewish World Service et Google.

    On comprend bien qui est à la manoeuvre derrière cette déstabilisation de la Thaïlande, orchestrée depuis l’étranger.

  2. Avatar

    Issan John

    Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 11:28 am

    For those who are unaware of Jon Ungphakorn’s background, and that of his father Puey Ungphakorn, and think he and ILaw are ‘just another NGO’ they deserve a good look, particularly Dr Puey Ungphakorn’s “Quality of Life for a South-East Asian”, known as “From Womb to Tomb” which has to be the best charter of human rights ever written.

  3. Avatar

    Issan John

    Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 11:43 am

    Totally unjustified.

    ILaw are completely open about their funding, and you only cite a few carefully selected financial supporters, and as Jon Ungphakorn said they only accept funds as long as there are no strings attached and ILaw retain their full independence.

    ILaw are also not connected in any way with any of the protest movements, nor have they supported any (although some of the protesters have supported them). They have instead presented an amendment to the constitution which beyond very much doubt has widespread popular support that goes way beyond the protesters.

    • Avatar


      Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 11:47 am


    • Avatar


      Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 11:55 am

      iLaw’s primary source of income is the US government via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) – a notorious US government arm involved in political interference and regime change operations around the globe.

      The organization’s US government funding can be found on NED’s official website under the name, “Internet Law Reform Dialogue” (iLaw).

      On iLaw’s own website under “About Us” it admits:
      Between 2009 and 2014 iLaw has received funding support from the Open Society Foundation, the Heinrich Böll Foundation and a one-time support grant from Google.

      Between 2015 to present iLaw receives funding from funders as listed below1. Open Society Foundation (OSF)2. Heinrich Böll Stiftung (HBF)3. National Endowment for Democracy (NED)4. Fund for Global Human Rights (FGHR)5. American Jewish World Servic (AJWS)6. One-time support donation from Google and other independent donors

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 12:12 pm

        That you use the term “admits” rather than a more accurate “declares” is a pretty good indicator of your own bias – as are your previous racist and anti-semitic comments amply indicate.

        • Avatar

          Toby Andrews

          Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 9:49 pm

          What previous racist anti-semitic comment amply indicate? WHAT!!!!
          You just throw in this rubbish to object to other posts.
          Admits – declare. You are really being a idiot here by claiming anything by this.
          Engage brain before posting or don’t post!

  4. Avatar


    Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 11:45 am

    Ilaw, an NGO sponsored by foreign funds: Open Society Foundation, Heinrich Böll Stiftung, National Endowment for Democracy, Fund for Global Human Rights, American Jewish World Service and Google.

    It is easy to understand who is behind this destabilization of Thailand, orchestrated from abroad.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 11:58 am

      See above. Your comment was as unjustified in English as it was in French.

  5. Avatar

    Issan John

    Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 11:48 am

    Possibly too long for a ‘comment’, Thaiger, but under the current circumstances it may be worth publishing Puey Ungphakorn’s “From Womb to Tomb”:

    “While in my mother’s womb, I want her to have good nutrition and access to maternal and child welfare care.

    I don’t want to have as many brothers and sisters as my parents had before me, and I do not want my mother to have a child too soon after me.

    I don’t care whether my father and mother are formally married, but I need them to live together in reasonable harmony.

    I want good nutrition for my mother and for me in my first two or three years when my capacity for future mental and physical development is determined.

    I want to go to school, together with my sister, and to learn a trade, and to have the schools impart social values to me. If I happen to be suitable for higher education, that opportunity should be available.

    When I leave school I want a job, a meaningful one in which I can feel the satisfaction of making a contribution.

    I want to live in a law and order society, without molestation. I want my country to relate effectively and equitably to the outside world so that I can have access to the intellectual and technical knowledge of all mankind, as well as the capital from overseas.

    I would like my country to get a fair price for the products that I and my fellow citizens create.

    As a farmer, I would like to have my own plot of land, with a system which gives me access to credit, to new agricultural technology and to markets, and a fair price for my produce.

    As a worker, I would want to have some share, some sense of participation in the factory in which I work.

    As a human being, I would like inexpensive newspapers and paperback books, plus access to radio and TV (without too much advertising).

    I want to enjoy good health, and I expect the Government to provide free preventive medical service and cheap and readily available good curative service.

    I need some leisure time for myself, and to enjoy my family, and want access to some green parks, to the arts, and to traditional social or religious festivities. I want clean air to breathe and clean water to drink.

    I would like to have the security of co-operative mechanisms in which I join to help others do things which they cannot do alone, and they do the same for me.

    I need the opportunity to participate in the society around me, and to help shape the decisions of the economic and social as well as the political institutions that so affect my life.

    I want my wife to have equal opportunity with me, and I want both of us to have access to the knowledge and means of family planning.

    In my old age, it would be nice to have some form of social security to which I have contributed.

    When I die, if I happen to have some money left, I would wish the Government to take some of it, leaving an adequate amount for my widow. With this money the Government should make it possible for others to enjoy life too.

    These are what life is all about, and what development should seek to achieve for all.”

    • Avatar

      Toby Andrews

      Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 9:58 pm

      As you stated, but you still cut and past it!
      If this is allowed here, I might cut and paste the old testament Exodus, which I wish you would do.

  6. Avatar


    Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 12:33 pm

    The truth is that this is the United States is attempting to destabilize Thailand politically and economically. USA dreams to topple the current government and place into power a political opposition led by billionaires pro-US. A good way to kill the economic power of the thai-chinese partnership.

  7. Avatar

    Issan John

    Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 12:51 pm

    “… the constitution ….. which is currently in place (which was voted on and approved in a referendum in 2017)”

    True, but that’s hardly the full story of the “referendum”.

    1. The draft constitution itself was not openly or readily available, so those voting for or against it had to rely on what they were told it said rather than be able to read it themselves.

    2. Any and all campaigning against the draft constitution was made illegal and banned, and those campaigning against it were arrested and jailed as were those who said they would vote against it.

    3. While campaigning against it was banned, over 350,000 canvassers for the draft constitution were paid, trained and sent around the country by the NCPO (the military junta).

    4. There was no alternative to the draft constitution, such as the 1997 constitution which had been written by a drafting assembly where 76 of the 99 members were directly elected by popular vote, so the only alternative to accepting the constitution was continued military rule by the NCPO.

    5. Six amendments to the constitution were added after the referendum.

    I’d suggest that while the referendum meant the draft constitution was “voted on”, the way it was carried out didn’t mean that it was “approved”.

  8. Avatar


    Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 1:06 pm

    Thailand does not need any “support” from any country to be destabilized. With “only” the actual government which is on the place, you don’t think that they succeed very well? Look only around you! And please everybody “STOP” to speak about all suspicious “INCOME”; You want to make a brilliant demonstration of your pieces of knowledge or what? Stop to go on Google and to make some copy/paste. When I see 1 Thai with a big stone in his hand and ready to through it on the manifests I feel now a deep destabilized country!!!! Only 1 big stone is maybe more dangerous than some “INCOMES”

    • Avatar

      Preesy Chepuce

      Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 10:23 pm

      Thailand’s overcentralisation in Bangkok, and poor city planning guarantees political instability.
      None of this is political, it’s mathematical… economics, geography, and statistics, and probability, that’s what makes Thailand politically unstable, It needs larger junior cities.
      Hopefully, places like Hat Yai, Chiang Mai, Rayong, and Khon Kaen will grow to fill the vaccuum.

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