17 January 2018

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | Contact us | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | desktop

07/14/2017 THAILAND

Smart ID card for Buddhist monks

The government measure is due to the high number of ethical and legal abuses involving monks. In recent years, there have been several cases of misappropriation of government funds in temples. The government has announced the new measure to three members of the Sangha Supreme Council. The new papers are expected “in three months,” a senior Thai government official said.

Bangkok (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Thai Buddhist monks will receive within three months ‘smart identity cards’ clarifying their backgrounds so that the authorities can more easily scrutinise them, this according Ormsin Chivapruck, a senior official in the Prime Minister's Office.

The move comes as a spike in the number of high-profile cases involving ethical and legal abuses by abbots, novices and other monks has sparked public outrage.

Ormsin announced the new governmental measure following a meeting with three members of the Supreme Sangha Council, the highest body of Thai Buddhism: Phra Prom Molee, the fifth ecclesiastical regional governor, Phra Prom Munee of Wat Ratchabophit Maha Simaram Temple, and Abbot Phra Prom Bundit of Wat Prayurawongsa.

All three have agreed with the proposal, but will seek the opinions of other members as to what personal information should be on the new identity cards.

The details Thai authorities want include what tasks the monks have been assigned, when they were ordained, which temples they are attached to, when they were promoted, whether they have previously left the monkhood, and any criminal records or history of drug abuse.

"I expect we'll be able to roll them out in three months," Ormsin said. Currently, monks hold paper-based identification documents that are difficult to track.

The latest proposal is part of the government's effort to address a series of temple scandals, mostly involving the Buddhist clergy. In recent years, cases of misappropriation have become frequent, involving mainly government funds for temples.

For this reason, the authorities have asked religious authorities for greater collaboration in monitoring the finances of Buddhist places of worship.

See also

12/12/2013 INDONESIA - ISLAM
Society against the government over religion on ID papers
Parliament's decision to include holder's religious affiliation in identity papers sparks widespread criticism. For many, the inclusion will lead to persecution and abuse, especially of those who do not belong to any of the recognised faiths. According to research by the Setara Institute, the Ahmadi sect has endured the most with 46 attacks out of 122 incidents recorded in the first six months of 2013.

22/05/2015 INDONESIA
Indonesia to allow non-official religions on identity papers
Under existing rules, people could choose only among six government recognised religions. According to the Home Affairs minister, people can now choose their own religion. Practical reasons are behind the administrative change, but for activists and pro-human rights groups, it is a step forward in terms of religious freedom.

11/12/2006 TAIWAN
Contested victory for Democrats in Kaohsiung
The Democrats lost the capital but surprisingly won 40% of votes cast despite the scandals that have overwhelmed the family of President Chen. The ballot revealed a clear divide in the island’s political scenario.

07/07/2009 INDONESIA
Identity papers used to vote in Indonesia’s presidential elections
People who are not on voters’ lists can still vote presenting their identity papers. This will guarantee basic political rights and prevent popular unrest. Pollsters and local pundits give outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono a good chance to succeed himself.

14/06/2013 SRI LANKA
For Sri Lankan bishops, the government must respect Tamils, the country needs unity
In a statement addressed to the government, the Bishops' Conference calls for the retention of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which created provincial councils and granted Tamil official language status. Its repeal would be detrimental to northern minorities.

AsiaNews C.F. e P.Iva: 00889190153