Friday, June 26, 2009

Thai blindness group demands apology for government official's comment that blind people are "legally incompetent"

From The Nation in Thailand:

Representatives of the blind on June 21 demanded an apology from Interior Minister Chaovarat Chanweerakul for his comment that blind people were legally incompetent.

Thailand Association of the Blind president, Senator Montien Boonton, and Law lecturer from Thammasat University Wiriya Namsiripongpan held a press conference about the minister's comment.

Chaowarat said in an an interview with Matichon newspapers on June 11 that giving Bt2,000 to the blind was not a vote buying action because blind persons were legally incompetent and not eligible to vote.

Monthien said such a comment reflected a negative viewpoint against the blind and a lack of maturity, especially from a man who was former social development and human security minister.

He explained the blind were not legally incompetent because the civil law's article 28 stipulated that legal incompetence required a court order, therefore blind people were not incompetent.

Besides, there was no law indicating the blind had no right to vote as casting ballots was a Thai citizen's duty, he said.

Monthien said that, knowing the government had such an immature person in its ranks, he as a senator could no longer trust this person to be among decision makers on the country's budget.