Democracy: Human Rights Watch calls junta’s Interim Constitution “Charter for Dictatorship”

The New York-based rights group Human Rights Watch released a public statement today condemning what it’s calling a “charter for dictatorship.”

Human Rights Watch and Thailand’s military junta is on a collision course. A top junta official has dismissed criticism from the US-based Human Rights Watch that Thailand’s new provisional constitution grants superfluous power to the country’s military junta.

At particular contention is the 44 article the 2014 Interim Constitution states that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) can unilaterally intervene and take any action to protect the Kingdom against “threats” to its national security, monarchy, public order, and economy – without seeking approval from the civilian government. Under article 44, the NCPO is permitted to intervene “regardless of its effects on the legislative, executive or judiciary,” and all orders or acts “are to be regarded as lawful and constitutional,” the article says.

“Instead of paving the way for a return to democratic, civilian rule, the Thai junta has granted itself unchecked authority to do almost anything it wants, including committing rights abuses with impunity,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Khaosod English Reports (Source)

26 July 2014

Thai Junta Chief Defends Constitution; Questions Democracy

BANGKOK (DPA) — Thailand’s junta chief, Prayuth Chan-Ocha, defended an interim constitution put in place earlier this week in his weekly address on Friday.

Critics have been quick to raise concerns about specific articles that increase the regime’s unchecked authority, including giving it veto powers and the ability to enact laws and decrees outside the constitutional framework.

“As long as power is used for good, there is no need to worry,” Prayuth told the nation in his weekly televised address.

He went on to question a widespread desire for democracy, when he said it had demonstrably failed.

Prayuth pointed out that the country is currently at peace, in contrast to civil unrest and protests that marred the nation when a democracy existed.

“Nevertheless, the junta will continue to work towards democracy,” he added.

The general also stressed that no human rights would be violated in dealing with refugees from Myanmar.

The junta had earlier stated that they would begin repatriating Burmese refugees who had been living in Thailand for the past three decades.

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