Should civil servants be allowed to express adverse opinions about the Government? 93% of those that took the the last poll answered with a resounding “Yes!”
Now our polls are not scientific, and their results may not necessarily represent popular opinion. Still, and particularly on this issue, legislators, the Government and the RCSC would do well to reflect on the results.
The Constitution grants every Bhutanese citizen with the fundamental right to “…freedom of speech, opinion and expression.” And yet, the Civil Service Bill, which the National Assembly passed last year, requires civil servants to “Refrain from publically expressing adverse opinion against the Royal Government.”
The Civil Service Bill will be discussed in the National Council during its next session, sometime in May this year. So if you feel strongly about this issue and if you want to protect the “freedom of speech, opinion ad expression” of civil servants, talk about it to senior civil servants. And tell them to discuss the matter with the Royal Civil Service Commission.
But, more importantly, talk to your representatives in the National Council. And tell the how you feel. Telephone them. Write to them. Meet them.
On my part, I will request the Human Rights Committee to review if the Civil Service Bill undermines the fundamental rights of civil servants.