A photographer has travelled across Thailand to document suppressed stories of enforced disappearances and the country’s culture of impunity.
Despite Thailand’s famously appalling prison conditions, some ex-prisoners are preferring reimprisonment over the challenge of reintegrating into society. The punitive slant of Thailand’s judicial system threatens offenders with heavy sanctions, but offers few rehabilitation mechanisms to address the difficulties inmates face upon returning to life outside the prison gates.
Thailand’s junta has shown itself unwilling to reconsider the inclusion of capital punishment in its Organic Act on Political Parties.
New regulations on political parties have sparked debate over whether these will make parties more responsive to voters, or whether they will kill off many of Thailand’s current parties. On 7 December 2016, the Constitution Drafting Committee published the first draft of the Organic Act on Elections, a reform of regulations on political parties that comes under the new junta-backed constitution.
Thailand saw its first lèse majesté case under King Rama X, only two days after the king’s accession. Experts argue that this case is different from cases that occurred under King Rama IX.
Throughout modern Thailand’s history, Royal Anthem videos have played a significant role in transforming the foundations of royal legitimacy. While the palace previously emphasised the King’s commitment to his duties as ‘Father of the Land’, anthem videos now push the Thai people’s duty to love the monarchy as ‘good children’.
Chulalongkorn University’s commemoration of the 6 October Massacre explored new methods to connect younger generations with the political tragedy, recognising that concepts of human rights and democracy have yet to be firmly established in Thai society. Guest speakers of the commemorative event at Chu
Despite the junta’s nationalistic rhetoric, the deportation of Joshua Wong has sparked debate over Thailand’s sovereignty and foreign policy as the regime appears increasingly eager to please Beijing.
Three prominent universities in Thailand will host commemorative events for the 6 October Massacre to remind society about the culture of impunity, political violence and the role of student activists in Thai politics. This year marks the 40th anniversary of Thailand’s 1976 massacre, also known as the 6 October.
Since 1991, 101 Thai citizens have been subjected to enforced disappearance. This has motivated a drive to draft a law against enforced disappearance to make accountable state officials and their supervisors if they are aware of the offence, to prohibit defamation prosecutions against complainants and to ensure that every minute is counted. Academics are concerned that the bill will be dropped or distorted and noted that Article 44 of the Interim Constitution alone can override any law against enforced disappearance because of its supra-constitutional power.