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UN’s human rights office has stated that people must be able to participate in the drafting process of the new constitution and that the new constitution should not provide impunity for the military government.

BBC Thai reported on Friday, 25 March 2016, that the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for Southeast Asia sent a letter to the junta-appointed Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC).

In the letter, the OHCHR listed 10 suggestions to the CDC, which is currently in the final review stage of the draft constitution.

The OHCHR suggested that the CDC should remove Article 257 of the draft constitution, which ensures that the authorities shall not be held responsible for the use of Section 44 of the Interim Charter, the section which gives the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) absolute power to maintain national security.  

“The draft constitution should not exclude accountability for serious human rights violations that have resulted from the implementation of Article 44 of the 2014 Interim Constitution,” reads part of the letter.  

Moreover, the OHCHR recommended that people must be able to participate in the drafting process and also in the process to pass the 2016 draft constitution.

The UN human rights agency added that the content of the constitution must be consistent with the international covenants on human rights to which Thailand is a party, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

“The State has to ensure that human rights, particularly freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association, are fully respected and protected,” reads part of the UN’s suggestions.

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