Fit-to-fly order challenged

Fit-to-fly order challenged

Thai in Ireland seeks speedy Administrative Court injunction against 'unconstitutional' rules

A long queue forms in front of the Thai embassy in London on March 20 as Thais seeking to go home seek documents required by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand. (Photo from Facebook@CHARLOTTE2500)
A long queue forms in front of the Thai embassy in London on March 20 as Thais seeking to go home seek documents required by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand. (Photo from Facebook@CHARLOTTE2500)

A Thai man in Ireland has filed a petition with the Central Administrative Court seeking an order to stop the enforcement of two requirements for Thais flying home.

Arthit Suriyawongkul, who studies and lives in Dublin, claims the requirements are unconstitutional.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand issued the announcement on March 19, effective on March 22, as part of the government's effort to combat the spread of coronavirus.

It requires that Thais flying home have a fit-to-fly health certificate and a letter issued by a Thai embassy or consulate certifying they are flying home.

In his petition, Mr Arthit claimed the requirements violate the constitutional rights and freedoms of Thais. They are also a financial burden, pose health risks and are a waste of their time.

He claimed the announcement was illegitimate for three reasons.

First, such requirements are not allowed by law. Second, they violate Section 39 of the constitution, which states that “prohibiting a Thai national from entering the kingdom cannot be done” with no exceptions. They also violate Section 38, which endorses travel freedom, and Section 25 which endorses rights and freedoms of people not specified by law or the constitution.

He also claimed the new rules breach the principle of proportionality since the measures cannot verify whether a passenger is, or is not, infected. “The documents just confirm the readiness of a person to travel by air at the time of the medical examination.”

The measures are also not necessary since there are other methods such as screening of incoming passengers.

As well, they do not benefit the public while unnecessarily creating additional hurdles and burdens for people.

Mr Arthit asked the court to urgently issue an injunction on the enforcement of the two requirements, saying irreparable harm could result given the limited time and opportunities Thais abroad have to get home, and they could be exposed to higher risks of contracting the virus in other countries.

He has also created the online petition “Thais must be able to go home” at Change.org. As of 7.40pm on Saturday, 1,332 people had signed to support it.


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