Activists launch campaign to 'disarm' NCPO

Activists launch campaign to 'disarm' NCPO

Activist Jon Ungpakorn, with microphone, explains the reason for the petition for the annulment of many orders issued by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha as chief of the ruling junta's National Council for Peace and Order, at Thammasat University in Bangkok on Monday. The network says it wants to
Activist Jon Ungpakorn, with microphone, explains the reason for the petition for the annulment of many orders issued by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha as chief of the ruling junta's National Council for Peace and Order, at Thammasat University in Bangkok on Monday. The network says it wants to "disarm" the NCPO. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)

Activist groups are inviting people to sign a petition calling for the annulment of 35 orders issued by the National Council for Peace and Order they say violate people's rights.

Their plan is to "disarm" the generals and allow the country to return to normal as a democracy. 

Representatives of 24 activist groups showed up at Thammasat University in Bangkok on Monday to extend the invitation and gather the signatures of passers-by.

Jon Ungpakorn, director of iLaw, said that of the 533 NCPO orders, at least 35 violated people's liberty, political rights, judicial rights, right to gather and the rights of the mass media.

He cited, for example, order number 3/2558 issued by the NCPO chief (Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha) empowering soldiers to summon and detain people at classified locations for seven days without a charge being laid.

He said order number 37/2557 required some types of civilian cases to be tried by the military court, and orders 97/2557 and 103/2557 limited the mass media's ability to report.

Those NCPO orders violated the 2017 constitution, which supported the basic rights and liberty of people, Mr Jon said.

If the orders remained in effect, democracy would not be returned to Thailand despite the promise of a general election.

The group's intention was to gather at least 10,000 signatures to back a bill calling for the revocation of the NCPO orders.

The bill would be proposed to the next elected House of Representatives, not to the National Legislative Assembly, which was not elected, Mr Jon said.

"At least 10,000 names of eligible voters will be collected to prepare for the submission of a bill to revoke the NCPO orders that contradict human rights and democracy, to disarm the NCPO and reclaim normality," Mr Jon said.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam recently said the NCPO chief had issued orders under Section 44 of the interim constitution to quickly solve important problems relating to national reform, restructuring, security, public safety and economy.

Such orders had administrative and legislative effect, and were never issued to intervene in any judicial matter, he said.

The government recently announced it would ask the NLA to legislate most of the orders into law, so they would remain in effect when the NCPO is dissolved after the general election.


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