Thai human rights are in free fall; the ruling junta perceives human rights as a threat to national security. NCPO Order No. 13/2016 is the junta’s attempt to establish a full military regime, says Sunai Phasuk, advisor to Human Rights Watch Thailand.
Since the release of the draft constitution, the junta has formally and informally suppressed criticism of the draft as well as the referendum, scheduled to be held on 7 August, itself. Although it is obvious that Thais are not going to vote in the referendum in a free and fair manner, a group of red-shirt activists are determined to defy the junta’s rule by campaigning against the draft charter. They share with Prachatai how to mobilize campaign under such repression and what they've found about voters' attitude toward draft charter and politics.
Thailand’s head of the team engaged in peace talks with the Deep South independence movements says last month’s siege of Cho-airong Hospital shows disunity among the movement. However, this disunity will benefit Bangkok.
A human rights activist from Thailand’s Deep South speaks about her motivation for co-founding a human rights organization, after her own experience of a family member being harassed. Since the start of 2016, she has been repeatedly harassed by the military due to a report, co-written by her, revealing allegations of torture by the state.
Pavin Chachavalpongpun has been known as a fierce critic of the Thai Army since before Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha staged the coup d’état in May 2014. After the coup, he continued to criticize the junta leader in his mischievous and acerbic manner on his Facebook page, but also in frank and serious articles and interviews. Gen Prayut got so irritated that he called Pavin “a jerk” (คนเฮงซวย in Thai.)
Two experts have confirmed that although the Deep South is unsuited to receive ISIS influence, the state still should avoid situations which may cause conflict related to Islam in the area.
Prachatai talked to Romadon Panjor, a civil society worker in Thailand’s Deep South who went to participate in the discussions between the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Patani independence group MARA Patani in Kuala Lumpur. Romadon reveals how the discussions went, the OIC’s direction, and how the continuing peace process will probably proceed.
After being forced to shut down since the 2014 coup, along with many other community radio stations in the area, Media Selatan, a local Malay radio station in the Deep South, is coming back on air early this year. The director of Media Selatan states that shutting down local media is tantamount to closing channels for citizens to express their opinions about the ongoing peace process.
The Supreme Court sentenced to life imprisonment a northeastern red shirt leader convicted of arson, committed in response to the violent crackdown on red shirts in Bangkok. The red-shirt tells Prachatai he would prefer just to be executed.
The veteran politician, closed-aid to ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra has lived in self-imposed exile for 6 years. In part 3 of the interview, Jakrapob Penkair talked about the conflicts among the Thai elites within the junta regime, the role of Pheu Thai Party, and his life outside the country.