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NCPO uses Article 44 in bid to ease religious tensions

Aug 22. 2016
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By The Nation

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The National Council for Peace and Order is attempting to prevent religious conflict by issuing an order through Article 44 of the provisional charter
“Some groups have distorted cultural diversity to cause conflicts among people of different faiths,” the NCPO said in the order. 
In his capacity as the NCPO chief, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha implemented the order on Monday. 
“It is necessary that measures be introduced to perpetuate a reform for national reconciliation,” the NCPO said. 
The order requires the NCPO secretariat and relevant authorities – including the National Buddhism Office, the Culture Ministry, the National Security Council, and the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre – to introduce measures that promote mutual understanding and reconciliation among people practising different faiths. 
“The measures must be in place to prevent any effort to undermine Buddhism as well as other religions,” the NCPO said. 
Relevant authorities are required to present the measures to the Cabinet within three months. 
The National Buddhism Office and the Department of Religious Affairs have been told to follow up on the implementation of this order and report to the prime minister their findings every three months. 
Religion became a hot topic issue after the draft charter stated all religions were protected under it but it would promote and support Theravada Buddhism.
That sparked disquiet among other faiths, notably the predominantly Muslim deep South.
 Voters in the deep South rejected the draft charter. 

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