With regard to the dissemination of the final constitution draft by the Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC) and the issuance of Order No. 13/2559 by the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) on 29 March 2016, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has instructed all diplomatic missions abroad to clarify the followings:
1. The Final Constitution Draft
– On 29 March 2016, the Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC) revealed the final constitution draft to the public. The draft reflects the needs of the people by taking into account proposals submitted by the people and various agencies during the drafting process which was conducted in an inclusive manner.
– The final constitution draft comprises 279 sections. The underlying principles of this constitution are to protect the people’s public interest, create a fair and just society while eliminating social disparity, and safeguard the rights and liberties of the people. During the hearing process, the draft was amended to include several provisions to protect rights and equality of the people. Included in this constitution are, for example,
the provisions on women’s rights and State’s duties which stipulate that the State is obliged to protect rights and liberties of the people without having been requested and people are entitled to exercise the right to file charges against governmental agencies if they are mistreated by the government. The new constitution also aims at promoting clean and transparent politics and raising public awareness on this matter.
– In addition, this constitution draft also contains provisions to better guarantee the rights of the people, such as the provisions on prohibition of discrimination and the rights to compensation. The core principle of this constitution is to move forward national reform with an aim to accelerate reform process in accordance with the 20-year National Strategy.
– The transitory provisions are temporary provisions, which are included in order to ensure a smooth transitional period whilst Thailand is undergoing comprehensive reform and moving forward on its path toward strengthened and sustainable democracy.
– The Thai Government remains fully committed to move forward according to the Roadmap. The constitution drafting process is in compliance with a timeline set out in the Roadmap whereby a National Referendum is scheduled to be held on 7 August 2016 leading toward a general election in 2017.
2. The Head of the NCPO’s Order No. 13/2559
– The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has issued an Order No. 13/2559 authorizing military officers from the rank of sub-lieutenant and above to act as crime suppression officers. The purpose of this order is to enable military officers to render their assistance in an effort to suppress organized crimes such as extortion, human trafficking, child and labor abuses, gambling, prostitution, illegal tour guide services, price collusion and firearms. It neither aims to stifle nor intimidate dissenting voices.
– Defendants in such cases will go through normal judicial process, with police as the main investigator. Their trial will be conducted in civilian courts, not military ones. Moreover, this order does not deprive the right of the defendants to file complaints against military officers who have abused their power.
-The order is in line with the government’s overall policy to crackdown on any influential figures involved in organized crimes which are deep-rooted and have been neglected by previous administrations. The order is intended to help maintain peace and order to the society and ensure that citizens are exempted from fear of intimidation and extortion.