Permanent body urged for national unity

Permanent body urged for national unity

Conflicts in the country should be resolved through dialogue rather than arrests and a permanent reconciliation commission will help bring that about, said Wanchai Wattanasap, spokesman of the parliament-appointed national reconciliation committee.

The 21-member committee has called a meeting for Nov 1 to mull the possibility of setting up a permanent commission to bring the nation together, the spokesman said.

He said this is a crucial issue for national development, but the lack of constancy in terms of appointments was not an ideal solution. Many members have been put to work in provisional units, he said.

Dr Wanchai stressed the need for a permanent unit to be up and running that would guarantee continuity in restoring unity.

The concept being proposed would build on the idea of naming a national reconciliation commission, initiated during the Surayud Chulanont administration in 2007.

If and when granted permanent status, a law would be needed to govern its duties and functions. However, the details have yet to be discussed, Dr Wanchai said.

Such a law might not materialise under the current parliament. But if many people agreed that national reconciliation should be pursued by a permanent working unit, legislation would likely be prioritised, he added.

He said such a commission would set a clear goal and action plan, giving society guidance on how people on both sides of the political divide can thrash out their differences through dialogue.

He said problems stemming from anti-government protests were caused by differing opinions and the refusal by either side to listen to one another.

"If we had (a permanent commission) available as a mechanism to deal with such conflict, the issue could be resolved. There would be more people listening instead of just the authorities making arrests," he said.

According to the Metropolitan Police Bureau, 712 criminal cases have resulted from the anti-government protests since July last year when the first rally took place. Of them, indictments were ordered in 304 cases.

Meanwhile, security forces are monitoring reports that the Thalu Gas protest group may be ramping up its activities, said Lt Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich, spokesman for the Defence Ministry.

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