Enforce land zoning laws

Following fierce criticism from civic and grassroots groups, the Charter Drafting Committee (CDC) has finally promised to include community rights clauses in the draft charter. Violent conflicts over the exploitation of natural resources still loom large, however, when the military government insists on bypassing land zoning laws to back environmentally destructive industries.

The CDC has done the right thing by listening to people on the ground. The military government and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) should do the same to protect the environment and public health.

Community rights must be in the final charter draft

Prepared by the Meechai Ruchuphan-headed Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC), this draft does not provide for the rights of people to assemble for the protection of their community and their environment at all.

This is despite the fact that such rights had been enshrined in Thailand's constitutions since 1997.

Both the 1997 and 2007 constitutions allowed communities a direct constitutional channel to stand up and defend themselves.

Charter writers agree to spell out community rights

The Constitution Drafting Committee has agreed to spell out in the new draft communities' right to sue state agencies and the requirement for environmental and health impact assessments for all large projects following numerous complaints.

The move came after people in the provinces, environmental activists and academics had criticised the omissions of community rights provisions present in Section of 67 of the 2007 charter.