National reconciliation without public participation?

National reconciliation without public participation?

The National Legislative Assembly endorses bills but the public hardly participates. (File photo)
The National Legislative Assembly endorses bills but the public hardly participates. (File photo)

Military won't allow Thai public to even see reconciliation plan, surrounding it with a climate of fear. Public participation & debate only way to reconciliation.


National reconciliation: Military plan leaves public in the dark

Let the public have unity say

Members of the military regime's national reconciliation panel eagerly await the moment its draft reconciliation agreement will be unveiled.

Meanwhile, most members of the public have no idea what kind of a social contract for national unity will be offered.


With only a few months spent on gathering opinions, the draft is expected to be finalised within the next few weeks.

But the military regime is being secretive about it.

National reconciliation is, indeed, a worthy goal to pursue after more than a decade of prolonged and deepening political conflict.

But the regime should be aware that this social contract (piece of paper) will do little to help it achieve that objective of reconcilaiton unless the right environment has been created to properly foster reconciliation.


The current political climate is far from supportive to reconciliation.

The ban on political gatherings remains in place.

The use of Section 44, which gives the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) head Prayut Chan-o-cha sweeping powers to nail down controversial key policy decisions amid growing public resentment, has been excessive.

Suppression of political expression has been ongoing.

Political activists are still detained in prison or made to face legal action.


The regime seems to have forgotten that solving political conflicts requires an opening-up of the political space.

It has never paid heed to calls for it to lift the ban on political gatherings.

This time it should.


Someone within NCPO circles needs to remind Gen Prayut or Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, who leads the reconciliation panel, that the military should stop creating a climate of fear and open up a space for the public to have a say on political and other issues.

After more than three years in power, reconciliation is going nowhere.

Few people are positive that political conflicts have been healed, or will be healed by such a unity pact.


The regime's own actions, meanwhile, have actually broadened the sphere of political turmoil as the military has made itself part of many new conflicts.

The longer it stays in power, the more problems it seems to have created.

Different groups of people have protested against its many decisions in the past few weeks.

These decisions have been taken without public participation.

They range from making a sudden unexplained decision to go ahead with the Thai-Chinese railway project to the amendment of the National Health Security Act (universal healthcare, 30 baht healthcare).


Gen Prayut's confrontational style may prove more entertaining or hostile than fruitful for reconciliation.

His remark challenging critics to stop scolding the government from abroad (and strangely enough suggesting that they come back to Thailand and be arrested), made during his trip to Khon Kaen this week, shows that he is not ready to compromise or reconcile with anyone about anything.

Gen Prayut's reconciliation panel does not offer much hope for the public, either.

Its mandate and work have been questioned, mainly by those political parties and groups that are in conflict.

The process is a top-down approach that does not foster the supportive environment needed to bring people in conflict to the negotiating table.


Recently, despite calling the draft unity pact "the people's will", defence spokesman Kongcheep Tantravanich said no one can see it until before the public hearings which will be held in four provinces and completed by July 7.

The panel does not seem to understand that public participation is key to reconciliation.

The sooner the public can review the draft, the better people will be prepared to give their opinions ahead of the upcoming (limited) public hearings.


More importantly, the regime should let reconciliation take its course naturally by allowing people to speak up and debate their opposing views.

The regime should approve formal meetings of political parties and withdraw criminal charges against political activists.

The best way to do that would be to lift the ban on political gatherings and let people have a real and greater say in key decisions.

It is worth noting that a free online course on public participation in governance is available at edX:  Citizen Engagement: A Game Changer for Development (see here & video below).!

Learn from listening

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  • abroad: in or to a foreign country - ในต่างประเทศ
  • achieve: to succeed in doing something very good or difficult - บรรลุผลสำเร็จ
  • activist: someone who takes part in activities that are intended to achieve political or social change, especially someone who is a member of an organisation - นักกิจกรรม
  • actually: used for stressing what is really true or what really happened - ตามความเป็นจริง
  • adj (noun): connected with soldiers or the armed forces - ในทางทหาร,เกี่ยวกับทหาร
  • agreement (noun): an arrangement, a promise or a contract made with somebody - ข้อตกลง, คำสัญญา
  • amendment: a change made to a law or agreement, in this case, to the constitution - การแก้ไขกฎหมาย ในที่นี้หมายถึงการแก้ไขรัฐธรรมนูญ
  • amid: happening while something else is happening - ท่ามกลาง
  • approach: a way of doing or dealing with something; a particular way of doing something or thinking about something - การจัดการกับปัญหา วิธีการทำให้ถึงจุดหมาย
  • approve: to give official permission - อนุมัต
  • await: waiting for something to happen - ที่รอคอย
  • aware (adj): knowing that something exists, or to have knowledge or experience of a particular thing - ทราบ, รับรู้
  • ban: officially not allowed to do something - การห้ามอย่างเป็นทางการ
  • broaden: to increase the range of something - ขยับขยาย
  • challenge: an invitation or a suggestion to somebody that they should enter a competition, fight, etc - การท้าทาย
  • charge : an official statement accusing someone of committing a crime - ข้อกล่าวหา
  • circle: a group of people who are connected because they have the same interests, jobs, etc - หมู่คณะ
  • climate: a general attitude or feeling; an atmosphere or a situation which exists in a particular place - บรรยากาศ
  • complete (verb): to finish something; to bring some project to an end after having done everything successfully - ทำเสร็จ, ทำให้สมบูรณ์
  • compromise: a way of solving a problem or ending an argument in which both people or groups accept that they cannot have everything they want - ประนีประนอม
  • conflict: an angry disagreement between people or groups - ความขัดแย้ง
  • confrontational: tending to deal with people in an aggressive way that is likely to cause arguments, rather than discussing things with them - ทำให้เกิดมีการเผชิญหน้ากัน
  • contract: an official written agreement - สัญญา
  • controversial: causing disagreement or disapproval - ความไม่ลงรอยกัน
  • criminal: illegal; against the law - ผิดกฎหมาย, นอกกฎหมาย
  • current: of the present time - ปัจจุบัน
  • decade: a period of ten years - ทศวรรษ
  • decision (noun): a choice or judgement that you make after thinking and talking about what is the best thing to do - การตัดสินใจ
  • defence: military; the army, navy and air force combined -
  • detained: kept in a place and not allowed to leave - กักตัว ควบคุมตัวหรือฝากขัง
  • draft: to write a document, plan, etc. that may be changed before it is finally accepted - ร่าง
  • eagerly: wanting very much to do or have something - กระตือรือร้น
  • entertaining: interesting, exciting, amusing, etc.; fun to watch - ซึ่งสนุกสนานเพลิดเพลิน
  • environment: a place, including all the physical conditions that affect it, in this case the environment on a computer screen, i.e., its interface - อินเตอร์เฟส สภาพแวดล้อม
  • excessive: much greater than is usual; too much of something   - มากเกินปริมาณที่พอดี
  • expression: things that people say, write or do in order to show their feelings, opinions and ideas - การแสดงความคิด, การแสดงออก
  • finalise: to complete the last part of a plan, trip, project, etc - ทำให้เสร็จสมบูรณ์
  • formal: official; following an agreed or official way of doing things - เป็นพิธี,ตามแบบ,ตามระเบียบ
  • foster: to encourage something to develop - สนับสนุน
  • fruitful: producing many useful results - ให้ผลดี, ได้ผลสำเร็จ
  • gather: to bring things together that have been spread around - รวบรวม
  • gathering: an occasion when many people come together as a group - การรวมตัว, การประชุม
  • go ahead with: decide to do something that you planned to do -
  • goal: aim; purpose - เป้าหมาย จุดมุ่งหมาย
  • going nowhere: no progress is being made; not moving forward or achieving anything -
  • have no idea: do not know.... -
  • heal (verb): to make somebody/something healthy again; to cause to get better after an emotional shock - หาย, รักษาให้หาย
  • hostile: behaving in a very unfriendly or threatening way towards someone - ไม่เป็นมิตร, เป็นปรปักษ์, ต่อต้าน,มีเจตนาร้าย
  • in power: the people or political party that controls a government -
  • key: the most important thing - สิ่งที่สำคัญที่สุด
  • key: very important - ที่สำคัญ
  • legal: relating to the law or lawyers - เกี่ยวกับกฎหมาย
  • limited: not much or enough; not very great in amount or extent - จำกัด
  • meanwhile: at the same time - ในเวลาเดียวกัน
  • member: a person, a country or an organization that has joined a particular group, club or team - สมาชิก
  • members of the public: people, the public; people in general - ผู้คน; มหาชน, ประชาชน
  • moment: a very short period of time; a particular time or occasion - ชั่วขณะ, โอกาสสำคัญ
  • nail down: put in place in a firm way that cannot be changed -
  • national (adjective): for the whole country - แห่งชาติ, ของชาติ
  • National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) (noun): The military-installed group ruling Thailand following the 2014 coup d'état - คณะรักษาความสงบแห่งชาติ
  • negotiate: to successfully travel on a road or path that is difficult to travel on or through - ฝ่าไป
  • objective (noun): what you plan to achieve; goal; aim; purpose - เป้าหมาย
  • offer: to say that you are willing to do something for somebody or give something to somebody - อาสา, แสดงความเต็มใจ
  • ongoing: continuing - อย่างต่อเนื่อง
  • opinion: your feelings or thoughts about somebody/something, rather than a fact - ความเห็น, ความคิดเห็น, ทัศนคติ
  • pact: an agreement between two or more people or organisations in which they promise to do something - ข้อสัญญา, ข้อตกลง
  • paid heed: paid attention to/to follow someone's wishes, demands, etc. - ให้ความสนใจกับ, เอาใจใส่
  • panel: a group of people who make decisions or judgments - คณะกรรมการ
  • participation: to take part in or become involved in an activity - การมีส่วน
  • policy (noun): a set of plans or action agreed on by a government, political party, business, or other group - นโยบาย
  • positive: hopeful and confident, or giving cause for hope and confidence - ซึ่งมองในแง่ดี
  • power (noun): political control of a country or an area; having a lot of influence and authority to control people and situations - อำนาจ
  • prison: a place where criminals are put to stay for a period of time as punishment for a crime - คุก, ,เรือนจำ
  • process: a series of actions that you take in order to achieve a result - แนวทางปฏิบัติ, กระบวน, วิธีการ
  • prolonged: continuing for a long time - ยืดเวลาออกไป
  • properly: in a way that is correct and/or appropriate - อย่างเหมาะสม, อย่างถูกต้อง
  • prove (verb): to show to be - ปรากฏ, แสดง
  • province: one of many divisions of the government of a country into smaller parts - จังหวัด
  • public: the public; all people; the people in general - มหาชน, ประชาชน
  • public hearing: an official meeting at which the facts about a situation, etc. are discussed with members of the public taking part - ประชาพิจารณ์
  • pursue: to try to achieve something - ดำเนินตาม, พยายามเพื่อให้ได้มาซึ่ง
  • reconcile (verb): to become friendly again after a disagreement - ทำให้ปรองดองกัน
  • reconciliation: a new and friendly relationship with someone who you argued with or fought with - การทำให้ปรองดองกันอีก, การสมานฉันท์
  • reconciliation: the process of creating a new and friendly relationship again with someone you argued with or fought with - การปรองดอง
  • regime: a government that controls a country, especially in a strict or unfair way - รัฐบาลที่ขึ้นมาปกครองโดยการยึดอำนาจ
  • remains in place: continues to be used -
  • remark: something said - คำพูด
  • remind: to make someone think of something they have forgotten or might have forgotten - เตือนความจำ
  • resentment: a feeling of anger because you have been forced to accept someone or something that you do not like - ความไม่พอใจ
  • review: the process of studying or examining a situation, policy, or idea again in order to decide whether it is suitable or satisfactory - การทบทวน
  • secretive: deliberately not telling people things - ซึ่งปิดปาก
  • section: any of the parts into which something is divided - ส่วน, ส่วนที่ตัดออก, ส่วนย่อย
  • social (adjective): related to society, to people and the way they are connected to each other and interact with each other - เกี่ยวกับสังคม
  • space: an area or a place that is empty or that can be moved about freely - ที่ว่าง
  • sphere (noun): an area of activity, influence or interest; a particular section of society - วง
  • spokesman: a person who speaks on behalf of a group or an organization - โฆษก
  • strangely: in an unusual or surprising way, especially in a way that is difficult to understand - แปลก
  • sudden (adj): happening quickly and unexpectedly กะทันหัน - กะทันหัน
  • supportive: giving help, encouragement or sympathy to somebody - เป็นกำลังใจ, สนับสนุน
  • suppression: stopping an activity from happening, in this case, criminal activity  - การปราบปราม
  • sweeping: having a major effect - กว้างขวาง
  • the public: people in general - ประชาชน, สาธารณชน, มหาชน
  • top-down: starting from or involving the people who have higher positions in an organisation -
  • turmoil: a state of uncontrolled activity - การจราจล ความไม่สงบ
  • unity: a situation in which people, groups, or countries join together or agree about something - ความเป็นเอกภาพ, ความเป็นอันหนึ่งอันเดียวกัน
  • unveiled: announced something officially that was previously a secret - เปิดเผย
  • upcoming: happening soon; available soon - ซึ่งกำลังจะเกิดขึ้น, ซึ่งกำลังจะมา
  • will: a determination to do something, despite any difficulties or opposition - ความตั้งใจ
  • withdraw: to take away - ถอน
  • worthy: deserving; having qualities that cause respect - สมควร, น่ายกย่อง
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