Environmentalists score huge victory in Thailand - VOA News, October 14, 2009
..."Many governments never pay attention to the enactment of the organic law," Somchai said. "So the environmentalists and the communities who suffer from the bad environment cannot tolerate it anymore..."
[While locally this is story is mainly being covered as an event that is bad for the country, the ruling does indeed represent a massive win for activists. For decades, locals and activists have been fighting big business and government development that has often resulted in the health-related devastation of local communities.
This story also touches on the "organic law" issue that has plagued the last two constitutions. The 1997 constitution stipulated certain rights--such as community radio stations and environmental impact studies--that would come into play once the government enacted laws to create them. However, governments were able to prevent people from obtaining these rights in the constitution by not enacting the organic laws.
The 2007 constitution corrected this by being written in such a way that rights could not be stymied by a government's unwillingness to enact the organic laws--in this case laws creating groups to study environmental impact.
Even so, this ruling was resisted by the government which, in effect, contended that industrial projects can go ahead without these constitutional mandated studies since they had not passed the laws setting up the committees to make the studies. This is the same sort of attitude that prevailed in the Thaksin years when the government refused to set up an agency regulating community radio stations--effectively denying people licenses to legally operate them as stipulated in the 1997 constitution.]
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