Election Commission urged to ban 'deviant' politicians

Election Commission urged to ban 'deviant' politicians

Parties 'must protect' women and children

Activists carry messages denouncing sexual violence and harassment in Bangkok last year. (Photo: Apichit Jinakul)
Activists carry messages denouncing sexual violence and harassment in Bangkok last year. (Photo: Apichit Jinakul)

The Friends of Women Foundation and its allies are calling on the Election Commission (EC) to work with parliament to jointly draft a new code of ethics that will bar candidates accused of sexual harassment or assault from participating in politics.

The move came after the expulsion of Move Forward Party MPs Wuttiphong Thonglour and Chaiyamphawan Manpianjit for alleged sexual harassment.

The foundation director Thanawadee Thajeen on Sunday said the call is backed by the Friends of Women Foundation, the Alliance Anti Traffic Thailand, the Foundation for Child Developers, the Raks Thai Foundation, the Student Christian Center and the women's network in four regions. The move is also to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on Nov 25.

Ms Thanawadee said data from the Public Health Ministry’s One Stop Crisis Centre shows that about 15,000 women and children are victims of violence on average a year, of which about 300 become seriously injured, disabled or dead.

Many victims decide to keep the assaults or harassment secret because the offenders are family members or influential figures such as politicians, she said.

Ms Thanawadee said the group urges relevant agencies and bodies, including the EC, parliament and political parties, to set qualifications for MP candidates to screen candidates with such behaviour.

"As politicians are people representatives, they must have sex ethics," she said. "The ethics must also be included in every political party."

Executive panels and members of political parties must not have criminal records or even face accusations of sexual violence, forcing a woman to go through an abortion, domestic violence, abandoning a family, refusing to pay child support and sexual exploitation, she said.

If there is an accusation, a political party must have a fact-finding committee, in which two-thirds of members are representatives of organisations that protect the rights of women and children to ensure justice, she said.

Offenders must be punished by legal procedures and party regulations, she said.

Political parties must also launch a campaign to educate people about the rights of children and women and prevent domestic violence and sexual exploitation, harassment and assault in any form, she said.

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