9 March 2022
Migrant workers filing case with Administrative Court as Official Information Board
Refusing to disclose information of Center for Labour Relations, Ministry of Labour
On 11 January 2022, four migrant workers have authorized attorneys to file the case with the Administrative Court against the Center for Labour Relations, the Official Information Board and the Prime Minister to ask them to revoke the order to deny the migrant workers access to official information. It stems from the decision by the Official Information Board in charge of society, public administration and legal enforcement to dismiss the appeal of the migrant workers who requested for the disclosure of information of the Center for Labour Relations, the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare. Upon receiving the complaint, the Central Administrative Court has given a written acknowledgement to the four migrant workers in the Black Case no. 68/2565 pending the review of the Central Administrative Court.
The case has originally stemmed from the decision by the Labour Relations Committee to deny the request by staff from the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF), as authorized attorneys of the four migrant workers from Myanmar to make a copy of the documentary evidence used for reviewing and issuing the decision no. 102-106/2562 regarding the termination of employment of the plaintiffs in this case. The plaintiffs allegedly had their employment terminated after they had led their follow workers to stage a collective bargaining and they viewed that the termination of their employment is an unfair action according to the Labour Relations Act, B.E. 2518.
Their attorneys have later appealed the decision with the Office of Official Information Board to request for the disclosure of such information. The Official Information Board in its letter no. NR0108/3958 dated 11 October 2021 on “The decisions of the Official Information Board in charge of society, public administration and legal enforcement, Team 2” states that according to the decision no. SK 344/2564 on 9 September 2021, the Board has dismissed the appeal of the four migrant workers since in the Official Information Act B.E. 2540’s Section 9, there is yet to be the Ministerial Regulation issued to establish the rights of aliens to have access to official information. In addition, the four workers have meanwhile filed the case against the Labour Relations Committee and the employers with the Labour Court Region 6. By disclosing the information as requested for by the plaintiffs, it will thus affect the circumstance regarding the documentary evidence since such disclosure may result in the decline of the efficiency of law enforcement or failure to achieve its objectives pursuant to Section 15, Paragraph One (2).
Ms. Jirarat Moonsiri, an authorized attorney in this case, opines that by invoking that the Official Information Act B.E. 2540 does not prescribe for the rights of aliens to have access to information equal to their Thai counterparts and since Section 9, Paragraph Four, prescribes that a Ministerial Regulation shall be issued to determine the conditions and scope of the exercise of the rights of aliens save for personal information, and Section 21 prescribes that the rights shall apply to s a natural person who is of Thai nationality and a natural person who is not of Thai nationality but has a residence in Thailand, since there is no Ministerial Regulation to determine the conditions and scope of the exercise of the rights of aliens to have access to information pursuant to Section 9, Paragraph Four, an alien therefore has no right to have access to information pursuant to Section 11 coupled with Section 15, Paragraph One (2), it shows that the state has negligently failed to issues a Ministerial Regulation to recognize the rights of an alien for over 20 years. By invoking this as a reason, it has rendered the decision unlawful and incompatible with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), and the Constitution’s Sections 4 and 27 regarding equality and non-discrimination.
With respect in human rights and human dignity
For more information, please contact Ms. Jirarat Moonsiri, attorney of Mae Sot Law Clinic,
phone 089 273 4711 [email protected]