Showing posts with label Thai. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thai. Show all posts

January 16, 2015

The New Thai Contitution on draft contains Protections for LGBT

Gay rights activists are welcoming a clause in a draft of Thailand's new constitution that is aimed at protecting the rights of gay and transgender people.
The Constitution Drafting Committee, a group hand-picked by the military junta to draft a new charter after last year's coup, this week added the wording that will make it illegal to discriminate against gay and transgender people.
"The committee added the wording because we want the new constitution to be inclusive," Kamnoon Sidhisamarn, the committee's spokesman, told The Associated Press. "No one should be discriminated because of they are gay, lesbians, transvestites or transsexuals."
Thailand is known for its tolerance of transgender people, such as "katoeys" or "ladyboys" who are a regular presence in the entertainment business. An international transgender beauty pageant is held annually and sometimes broadcast on national television.
However, formal and legal acceptance for gay and transgender people is still limited. In 2011, a court ordered the military to stop labeling transgender people as "having a permanent mental disorder" and disqualifying them from joining the military.
Gender rights activist Natee Teerarojjanapongs on Friday called the constitutional clause "praiseworthy" and said it could lead to other breakthroughs for gay rights.
"Thai people respect the law. It's good to have the law say gay people are protected because it will make more people realize that gay people also have equal rights like others," he said. "And the more people are familiar with the idea, the more accepting they will become."
"I hope that one day we can see ladyboys who can become doctors or judges openly, or that we will see gay marriage happening in Thailand before long," Natee said.
Critics, however, say the inclusion in the charter does not necessarily translate into reality.
"While the charter will become a tool people can use to fight for their rights, it doesn't mean that the problems of gender biases, discrimination or harassment will go away," said Chalidaporn Songsamphan, a political scientist and gender studies expert at Bangkok's Thammasat University.
The constitution draft is subject to further consideration of an unelected national reform council before it could be formally endorsed by the Thai king and take effect.    (AP)

Background on the Government of Thailand a Kingdom with no King

Thai army chief General Prayut Chan-Ocha
Thai army chief General Prayut Chan-ocha Photo: PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP  

Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, who seized control of Thailand in a coup last month proposes installing interim constitution next month with elections due late next year

In a coup last month, said the temporary constitution will allow an interim legislature and Cabinet to begin governing the country in September. He said an appointed reform council and constitution drafting committee will then work on a long-term charter to take effect July 2015.
Prayuth said in televised speech that a general election would be held around three months after the adoption of the constitution. He made no mention of a public referendum on the new charter, as was held in 2007 after an earlier coup against an elected government.
The army seized power May 22 in a bloodless coup, overthrowing a government elected by a majority of voters three years ago. Prayuth has said the coup was necessary to restore order after half a year of anti-government protests and political turmoil that left at least 28 people dead and the government paralysed.
But since taking power, the army appears to be carrying on the fight of the anti-government protesters by mapping out a similar agenda to rewrite the constitution and institute political reforms before elections. It has quashed most dissent, threatening or arresting critics of the coup. Prayuth said the national reform council will consider political, economic, social, environmental, judicial and other matters and give its recommendations to the constitution drafting committee.
He said the ruling junta "wants to see an election that will take place under the new constitution ... that will be free and fair, so that it can become a solid foundation for a complete Thai democracy." It wants a political system that will bring development to the country, and not conflicts as in the past, he said.
Critics charge that the army plans to make the constitution less democratic by reducing the power of elected politicians and increasing the number of appointed legislators, with the goal of allowing the traditional, conservative royalist ruling elite to retain power.
Prayuth also spoke about international criticism of the coup, particularly from the European Union and the United States, which have cut back on aid and political cooperation and called for early elections.
"Today, if we go ahead and hold a general election, it will lead to a situation that creates conflict and the country will return to the old cycle of conflict, violence, corruption by influential groups in politics, terrorism and the use of war weapons. We cannot let that happen," Gen. Prayuth said.
"I truly hope that the EU and the US will understand the situation the same way the majority of Thais do and I hope they will be satisfied with our solutions right now," he said.
Thailand has been deeply divided since 2006, when former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was toppled by a military coup after being accused of corruption, abuse of power and disrespect for King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Thaksin, a former telecommunications billionaire, remains highly popular among the poor in Thailand's north and northeast, and parties controlled by him have won every national election since 2001. The anti-government protesters, backed by the country's traditional elites, bitterly opposed him and sought to remove all traces of his political machine from politics.
Edited by Steve Wilson

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