Scholars on Thailand at Risk under the Lèse-majesté Law
112WATCH is delighted to share this report from our friend, Scholars at Risk (SAR), titled, “Free to Think 2021.” It reports on the academic freedom monitoring project under SAR which also includes countries like Thailand.
Pavin Chachavalpongpun, January 8, 2022
Academics working on Thailand, both inside and outside the country are at risk of being charged under the draconian lèse-majesté law should they trespass on the taboo topic of monarchy.
In a passage from SAR, it reads:
Arrests and prosecutions intended to restrict and punish peaceful student expression undermine academic freedom and the role universities play in functioning democracies. They chill academic inquiry and expression, depriving society of the benefits of higher education and research. For Thai higher education and society generally to flourish, students and academics must have the freedom to peacefully voice dissent, ask questions, and conduct academic research without fear of coercive legal action. SAR calls on state authorities in Thailand to release and drop charges against wrongfully imprisoned student activists; repeal the lèse-majesté law; amend the sedition law in compliance with international human rights standards; and draft legislation to ensure greater protection of academic freedom, consistent with international human rights and higher education standards and principles. SAR also calls on the international higher education community and government leaders to press Thai authorities to take the above actions and to support at-risk scholars and students in Thailand.