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42nd ASEAN Ministers Meeting

Thailand government approves use of Internal Security Act as precaution for upcoming meetings

eTN Staff Writer  Jul 15, 2009

On July 17-23, 2009, Thailand will be hosting in Phuket the 42nd ASEAN Ministers Meeting (AMM) and other related meetings - Post Ministerial Conferences and the 16th ASEAN Regional Forum. Foreign ministers and high-level officials from more than 25 countries (including, among others, all ASEAN members, Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Russia, the United States, and the European Union) are scheduled to participate.

To ensure that the events proceed smoothly, the Thai Cabinet approved on July 9, 2009 the use of Thailand’s Internal Security Act B.E. 2551 (2008)1 in the area of Phuket Province and the surrounding waters for the period between July 10-24, 2009.

The Cabinet also approved two other documents. The first is an announcement designating the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) as the agency in charge of the situation to prevent, resolve, or mitigate any occurrences that may affect security or assist people in the designated area as necessary during the announced period in accordance with relevant laws.

The other is a regulation specifying the powers and duties of the ISOC in undertaking its designated responsibilities, should doing so become necessary. These include having state officials implement or suspend certain actions in support of ISOC operations, prohibiting entry into or exit from certain locations or buildings related to ISOC operations, prohibiting the carrying of weapons in public places, prohibiting the use of routes or vehicles or prescribe the use of routes or vehicles, and controlling the use of electronic equipment in some areas. In practice, these measures will, for example, allow entry into and exit from venues relating to the meetings only to authorized persons and control the use of certain roads that will be used by the meeting participants.

The announcements and regulation do not imply an emergency situation. Rather, they are precautionary measures to prevent disruption of the meetings, drawing on the lessons of Pattaya in April. The security measures will be used only as necessary, in order to cause the least inconvenience to local people and foreign tourists.

The Internal Security Act B.E. 2551 (2008) took effect on February 28, 2008. Its rationale is to prevent and resolve threats to internal security, issue early warnings to the public about potential security threats, and provide remedies to the affected population. It will also help ensure effective and unified efforts in providing protection to the population by civilian and law enforcement agencies.

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