Thai election not free and fair, say South Korean students

South Korean students have held a music event to collect signatures in support of Thai student activists.

The event was held at SungkongHoe University in Seoul on 12 June and posted on YouTube a month later. Jointly with the Korean House for International Solidarity, the students also released a statement in support of Thai student activists, criticizing the Thai junta and the Election Commission of Thailand.

The full statement reads:

We hereby support Thai youth's action for justice to restore democracy!

On March 24, 2019, general elections were held in Thailand, the 'country of the coup.' Although the military regime was in power, Thai people and the rest of the world have expected and believed that the transition to democracy would be possible, through the democratic elections.

Sadly, however, the current military regime, which had much controversy for its impure political purposes, became to seize the power again. This result has raised a number of suspicions regarding the Thai Electoral Commission, which has caused various problems with the election.

First of all, seven members who were appointed under the military government raised doubts whether they were qualified for both fair and capable arbitrators and managers to take responsibility of electing 150 party-list proportional representatives of 350 electoral districts.

They are already perceived as pro-military in the eyes of the majority of the public because the investigation into alleged illegal fundraising by a pro-military party has been untypically slow.

Second, while TV advertising was not allowed to other candidates, the current Prime minister monopolized the broadcast advertising. This was obviously far from the equal and fair election campaign.

Moreover, the Commission even have urged to “Just vote” in response to reporting of dissemination of wrong ballots in a district. Meanwhile, the election results had not been disclosed for more than 1 month. Even, under the name of violation of the election law, the Commission had suspended the qualifications of Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit of the leader of Future Forward Party, who were supported by the younger generation.

Eventually, on all these unfair issues, many students in Thailand has raised their voice of criticism and launched a resistance movement. Pai Dao Dean, a student activist who won the Gwangju Human Rights Award (2017) in prison after criticizing the 2014 military coup and subsequently being arrested and imprisoned several times, is a prominent figure among them.

Moreover, the recent crackdown on rebel activists has not only been about institutional repression but the physical attacks targeting activists. Most of the suspects who attacked them have not been arrested yet, and even the investigation has not proceeded properly.

This current situation can't be overcome by the Thai student's power only. The April 19 Revolution and the June Democracy Uprising in South Korea were all successful because not only students but also workers and intellectuals were united together in solidarity. They are now desperate for help from workers and intellectuals in the whole world.

Here at SungKongHoe (Anglican) University students of young people living at the same time, as a member of the Democratic Youth Group, who inherited the democratic spirit of the April 19 Revolution, the May 18 Democratic Movement, the June Democracy Uprising and the Candlelight Revolution, we proclaim our supports to Thai students' resistance movement with a signature campaign. As one of South Korea’s human rights organization supporting democracy in Asia, we Korean House of International Solidarity will also cooperate with SungKongHoe University students for the democracy in Thailand.

- We support the courageous actions of Thai students who have impeached members of the Thai Election Commission!

- We insist Thailand, which is in the midst of extending its military rule for the next five years, will restore democracy in name and substance!

- We resist any further sacrifice of democratic youth fighters like Pai Dao Dean, who won the Gwangju Prize in prison! July 17, 2019 Group of SungkongHoe University students with the hope to restore Thailand’s democracy Korean House for International Solidarity.