In Part II of the Modern Thai student Movement paper, we look into how 2 student organizations in Isan, Thailand’s Northeast, began. While one focus on raising political awareness and mobilisation, another choose to focus on grassroots and local issues. Both, however, describe themselves as neither Red or Yellow along the current color-coded political divide.
After the student massacre in 1976, many believed that the era of student movement in Thailand came to an end. However, in recent years, many student groups from various regions are now attempting to solve various problems in Thai society once again. In Part I of Modern Thai student movement, the writers explore the history of Thai student movement and how this generation of student activists view themselves and their fellow students.
Six months after Thailand’s martial law is imposed discontent stirs across diverse factions.
Seven months ago twenty-six people were arrested in Khon Kaen and now face charges of terrorism and treason—offences that could exact the death penalty. The case, known as the "Khon Kaen Model," is the most high-profile case to be tried in a military court since the junta took power in May.
Different from the anti-coup movement in May and June, the latest anti-coup wave is from frustration than reaction. The frustration mainly comes from the junta's strict censorship policy which applies equally to all groups -- even on people who originally supported the coup.
Although the junta promised to eradicate the alleged corruption of the former civilian government which served the capitalists, the new Mining Bill is designed to give mining businesses easy access to more land without the need for mitigation of environmental and social impacts in most areas. Meanwhile marginalised people affected by mines will find it difficult under martial law to oppose the bill.
Following the notorious Gammy case, where a baby born with Down's syndrome to a Thai surrogate mother was abandoned by his biological Australian parents, the Thai junta is to push for a bill to outlaw commercial surrogacy. However, the bill also rules out the rights of singles and LGBT couples to have children by this technology.
After the coup d’état in May, the junta promised to return happiness to the Thai people. One of the policies that the junta has announced to deliver on this promise is an order to increase Thailand’s forest cover and tighten measures for land resource protection. Although the policy might seem ecologically sensible to many conservationists, the green-grabbing policy of the junta harms many of Thailand’s marginalised communities.
Another gender-related bill to be deliberated soon is the Gender Equality bill, which criminalizes discrimination among the sexes and genders. If passed, it will be the first Thai law to contain language mentioning homosexuals. However, gender activists have cried foul, saying that the bill still perpetuates discrimination.
The accounts of torture include electric shocks to the genitals, suffocation, continuous beatings all night, and detention in a hole in the ground, while the hole was being filled.