Posts Tagged ‘community’

Thailand’s Appeal Court should uphold a lower court’s ruling tomorrow to dismiss a criminal-defamation complaint against the Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS) and four Thai journalists, Fortify Rights said today.

Thai mining firm Tungkum Limited filed complaints against Thai PBS and four journalists in November 2015 in response to a news report that included allegations that the company’s open-pit gold mine caused adverse environmental impacts in Loei Province, northeast Thailand.

In November 2016, the Criminal Court in Bangkok dismissed the complaint. The company appealed the decision and, at a hearing tomorrow, the Appeal Court will issue the findings of its review of the Criminal Court’s decision.

“This case remains an affront to press freedom in Thailand,” said Amy Smith, Executive Director of Fortify Rights. “Invalidating this case would send a message to powerful private entities that seek to erode freedoms protected under Thai law.”

Continue reading: Fortify Rights


A challenging month, a hectic schedule. However I’m glad to have this opportunity to unwind and travel to rejuvenate. It is always good to leave the urban madness, even for a while.

Pattaya is not a tropical paradise but it does offer somewhat a change of scenery. It’s no longer a bustling spot like about five years ago. Communities are still struggling from poor income and low livelihood opportunities. Hopefully things improve. Maybe after the election next year. Maybe they will be able to enjoy a prosperous year then.


It is a side of Bangkok that tourists seldom see: not far from the Buddhist temples, glitzy malls and go-go bars, is a neighbourhood of shacks and squat homes in narrow alleys with open gutters in the city’s oldest and largest slum.

Klong Toey is home to about 100,000 people, mostly rural migrants from northern Thailand who came to the city for jobs.

While many live in brightly painted homes with motorbikes parked outside, others live in shacks without running water or electricity.

It’s not that different from the days when 66-year-old Prateep Ungsongtham was growing up there with her six siblings.

“The number of people living here has doubled since the time I was a kid – yet their condition is not that much better,” she said in an interview at her Duang Prateep Foundation in Klong Toey.

Continue reading: TODAY Online

The Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC)’s probe into corruption at the protection centres for the destitutes has found irregularities at at least 24 centres nationwide.

PACC assistant secretary-general Pol Lt Col Wannop Somjintanakul said PACC officials detected irregularities in 10 more provinces in addition to 14 provinces where corruption was earlier detected.

The 24 provinces are:

He said authorities have questioned recipients of the cash fund and found some were not qualified to receive the fund.

A 10-million-baht fund was allocated to each centre to hand over to the underprivileged.

Meanwhile Royal Thai Police deputy commissioner Pol Gen Wirachai Songmetta recommended people whose names were forged to claim the cash aids to file complaints with the police to confirm that they were not involved in the corruption.

This was to avoid legal consequence in case these  corruption cases go to the court.

Khon Kaen, Chiang Mai, Bueng Kan, Nong Khai, Surat Thani, Saraburi, Ayutthaya, Trat, Roi Et, Udon Thani, Nan, Sa Kaeo, Krabi, Trang, Yala, Songkhla, Narathiwat, Phattalung, Chumphon, Buri Ram, Surin, Ang Thong, Phitsanulok, Chaiyaphum.

Initial probe found staff at these protection centres allegedly involve with document forgery and misappropriation of cash aids aimed from the recipients, Pol Col Wannop said.

Recipients on the list were given either partial aid or did not receive the money at all. Some were not qualified to receive the financial aid but their names were on the recipient list.

Pol Col Wannop said investigators would submit initinal finding to the PACC board for consideration and for setting up sub-committees to proceed with further investigation to identify the wrongdoers.

Source: ThaiPBS

The Thai government should immediately end the incommunicado military detention of a prominent ethnic Malay Muslim human rights activist, Human Rights Watch said today. Aiman Hadeng, chair of the Justice for Peace Network, has been detained in a military camp in Thailand’s Yala province since February 23, 2018, without effective safeguards against mistreatment.

“The Thai military’s incommunicado detention of a well-known rights activist should set off alarm bells given the army’s long history of abuse in southern Thailand,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “The Thai government can address the growing concerns for Aiman’s safety by immediately allowing him access to his family and lawyer, bringing him before a judge, and moving him to civilian custody or releasing him.”

Continue reading: Human Rights Watch

My thoughts.

Community-based programs, NGOs and privately-run social initiatives are actively involved in areas where Thailand military government support is not sufficient. Often the junta-led “government” projects are cosmetic, and fail to provide much-need policy changes that would greatly improve quality of life.

However efforts are still being made in forging partnerships between NGOs and the government. It’s a fact that the role of an NGO is important especially in the rural parts of the country where poverty incidence is high.

One of my concerns is rural micro-finance programs implemented by NGOs and provincial/federal authorities. Such programs provide valuable services to the rural poor although I have yet to see indicators of accountability and transparency in the financial aspects of these programs. There’s also the issue of questionable deliverables (unachievable expectations, low capacity) and the late dispersement of monies to the stakeholders.

Core problems of social programming are often related to the lack of participation in democratic decision-making. Perhaps some NGOs and officials do not want to see an empowered marginalized community to make informed decisions and lobby for their rights. In this case, from the absence of their rights to a transparent process of not just the budget allocation but also to the conceptualization and project monitoring.

I once mentioned to someone from a reputable local “poverty eradication” NGO that its within their interest to encourage communities to be part and parcel of problem-solving in the programs. But rather than consider and consult the stakeholders about this issue, the officer was rather defensive about the state of affairs. Apparently foreigners do not understand ‘Thainess’ and as such have no business expressing my views. It could also be that he and his organization prefer the comfort zone of prescribing solutions to the communities, rather than consultation.

Anyway as the national economy plunges, its difficult to not come to the conclusion that corruption will increase and that marginalized communities will be extremely vulnerability; as flawed systems, pride and human greed override the original objective of community-service.

Economic growth can help reduce poverty through an increase in household income, providing earnings to obtain the minimum basic needs. That being said, equality and other rights-based concerns must be tackled by all parties to enable a reduction of poverty. I’m not so sure whether the junta realise this, or maybe they just don’t care. I wonder.