BANGKOK, 6 March 2015: Association of Thai Travel Agents’ member companies handled 724,547 international tourists at Suvarnabhumi Airport, January to February, representing an increase of 30.09% from 556,967 visits during the same period last year. ATTA released its data, earlier this week, based on fees member agencies pay to the airport to provide a meet-and-greet […] Read more...

The military sent police officers to interrogate a university lecturer in Isan suspected of hanging an anti-junta banner.

Two police officers on Thursday around 5pm came to Mahasarakham University in the northeastern province of Mahasarakham to interrogate Vinai Poncharoen, a lecturer of the Political Science Faculty of the university, at his office after he posted a picture of an anti-junta banner with the message “Down with the dictatorship, Democracy will triumph” on his facebook profile on Wednesday.

The anti-junta banner was first seen hanging in front of the Mahasarakham University’s gate on Wednesday morning.

The anti-junta banner reads “Down with the dictatorship, Democracy will triumph”, hangs in front of the Mahasarakham University on Wednesday morning 

During the interrogation, Vinai told the police that he was not involved in putting up the banner, but he agreed with its statement and did not know who took parts in hanging it.

The police took pictures of Vinai and told him that they might have to come to collect his fingerprints again. They added that they were sent by the military.  

Vinai added that there were a lot of police and military officers at the university on Wednesday who might have merely come to maintain security at the event co-organized by the Constitutional Court and the Political Science Faculty of the university. However, he added that he was informed by his friends that some officers asked for his whereabout.

Vinai mentioned that according to the police there are several other suspects of the anti-junta banner one of whom belongs to the Thai Student Center for Democracy (TSCD), an anti-juna student group. However, he told the police that TSCD students are not likely to be involved because they are in Bangkok.  

Vinai said that he has been summoned by the authority twice after the 2014 coup because he is one of the 118 people who signed the Campaign Committee for the Amendment of Article 112’s statement and usually posted messages on social media against the lese majeste law. This might be the reasons why the authority suspected him for hanging the banner. 

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Sex is a topic Thai society isn't too sure how to handle. Thailand's teen pregnancy and HIV infection numbers are worryingly high, and the fact that sex remains a social taboo only makes for a tough battle. Despite being well known for a large community of ladyboys and gay friendliness, Thai society lacks understanding and knowledge about gender rights. Read more...
THE PROVINCIAL Court of Pattaya yesterday sentenced 15 red-shirt leaders to four years in jail for their involvement in the storming of the Asean Summit venue in April 2009 that forced the government to cancel the meeting and caused national embarrassm... Read more...
Posted in Okategoriserade.

The military forced a public seminar on martial law in northern Thailand to be cancelled due to its sensitive political contents.  

The military officers of the 33rd Army in the northern province of Chiang Mai on Wednesday contacted the organizers of the public seminar entitled “Directions of Civil SOciety Organisations under the National Council of Peace and Order (NCPO)” to cancel the seminar.

The military cited that they are concerned because the seminar was related to the political situations under the junta’s NCPO as the seminar title suggested.

The organisers decided to comply with the military’s order by cancelling the event.

The seminar was organised by the NGO Coordinating Committee on Development-North (NGO-COD), a organisation which provides a coordinating platform for NGOs in northern Thailand. It was scheduled on Friday at the Northern Development Foundation (NDF).

The seminar was planned to be led by Bamrung Kayotha, a well known community rights and agrarian activist. 

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Have you been to a Thai version of Singapore's Sentosa Island? Welcome to Bang Kachao, a cool natural haven in the midst of the concrete jungle. Also known as Bangkok's city lung, it is an ideal spot for those who like to explore the city on a bicycle. Read more...
Posted in Okategoriserade.
BANGKOK, 5 March 2015: The second edition of Thailand Domestic MICE Mart, opened Tuesday, at the Bangkok Convention Centre, Centara Grand at CentralWorld, Bangkok in a move to support local events. Speaking at the media conference on mart’s opening day organiser, Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau president, Nopparat Maythaveekulchai said it would stimulate the domestic […] Read more...
BANGKOK, 5 March 2015: Manathai Hotels & Resorts has launched its latest property, Manathai Koh Samui, at ITB Berlin 2015. The hotel group, Manathai Hotels & Resorts was establihed last November at World Travel Market in London and is now credited with four properties under management, or due to open later this year. They comprise of […] Read more...
Harrison George

The many and various oversight mechanisms of the new constitution became ever more tangled over the last week with the revelation that the National Anti-Corruption Commission has initiated an investigation into alleged irregularities at the National Ethics Assembly after a petition by members of the Senate.  In turn, the Senate announced it would pursue impeachment proceedings against the National Ethics Assembly in response to a report from the National Anti-Corruption Commission looking into unethical behaviour by the ethics watchdog.

These moves are thought to be responses to criticisms by the National Ethics Assembly about improper practices of the other two agencies.  Other important national policy-making bodies have been drawn into the debate, such as the Cabinet and Wat Dhammakaya.

One of the issues at stake was the discovery that numerous members of the newly-appointed Senate had given positions as aides, assistants and hangers-on to family members, business associates and people they owed money to.  Since these positions are funded by the taxpayer and the appointees in many cases seem to be as bereft of suitable qualifications as they do of any substantive work results, the National Ethics Assembly issued a finding of nepotism.

The Senate, which under the new constitution is described as ‘partly unelected’, meaning that it is chosen without the part that involves elections, pointed out that the continuing tenure of National Anti-Corruption Commissioners was in their gift, and requested the Commission to investigate the National Ethics Assembly. 

The NACC found that the mandate of the National Ethics Assembly was to ‘uphold traditional Thai moral practices’.  They then argued that nepotism was very much a traditional practice in Thailand.  Citing numerous previous examples going back decades (the documentation filled 2 ten-wheel trucks), the Commission charged the Assembly with overstepping its remit and recommended its impeachment.

The Senate, at a sitting where many votes appear to have been cast by aides acting for their Senator bosses, endorsed these findings unanimously and scheduled impeachment hearings against all 55 members of the Assembly.

The Prime-Minister-designate-in-the-event-of-a-national-emergency-requiring-an-unelected- Prime-Minister, Gen Prayut Chan-ocha, intervened at this point.  He noted that it was important for all good people to be able to rely on the assistance and advice of those they could trust, which naturally would include cousins, cronies and creditors.  With unanimous mumbles of approval from the Senate-approved Cabinet, he called on National Ethics Assembly members to ‘show national spirit’ by resigning for their attempt to uphold non-Thai ethics. 

If they agreed to do so, the General hinted, they would be eligible for re-appointment to the Assembly, since they would have demonstrated that they are in fact persons with the required high moral standards. 

Further controversy was caused by the issue of quotas for female participation in governance, which had been the subject of a petition to the National Ethics Assembly.  The Senate, in its constitutional role of ultimate arbiter of what can and cannot be discussed, ordered the National Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate the matter with a view to silencing the debate.

‘The whole idea of quotas is inherently un-Thai,’ said a Senator who was appointed as a member of the quota for former high-ranking state officials.  ‘Many important government agencies have achieved great things without being hobbled by quotas,’ noting that the NACC itself has only 1 female commissioner as against 8 males. 

The NACC, with one dissenting opinion, concluded that important state positions required men of wisdom, experience and a true sense what is right and wrong by Thai standards.  It would be difficult if not impossible to find sufficient women to fill these positions, the Commission judged.

It is understood that Wat Dhammakaya was prepared to issue a statement to all its followers in support of the non-quota stance of the Senate, just as soon as it was decided which monk’s bank account should receive the Senate’s cheque.

Amid rising public concern over this unseemly inter-agency squabbling, former Deputy Prime Minister and constitutionally-designated Establishment Apologist Wisanu Krue-ngam called on the media to show responsibility by not commenting on these scandals, citing a threat to national security.  He blamed the media for causing disharmony by reporting disagreements among various government bodies. 

‘More talk, more conflicts,’ he said.  ‘The more people discuss these issues, the more likely it is that they will begin to form their own opinions, which risks the possibility that these opinions will differ.  This will cause great harm to national unity which the current constitution was specifically designed to imagine, assume and impose.  The less people are told, the less they will be tempted into thinking for themselves and the less the country will suffer.’


About author:  Bangkokians with long memories may remember his irreverent column in The Nation in the 1980's. During his period of enforced silence since then, he was variously reported as participating in a 999-day meditation retreat in a hill-top monastery in Mae Hong Son (he gave up after 998 days), as the Special Rapporteur for Satire of the UN High Commission for Human Rights, and as understudy for the male lead in the long-running ‘Pussies -not the Musical' at the Neasden International Palladium (formerly Park Lane Empire).

 

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As concerned international observers of Thailand, we stand in solidarity with our colleagues who have condemned the summary dismissal of Dr. Somsak Jeamteerasakul by Thammasat University on 23 February 2015. We have watched with growing concern as the space for freedom of expression has shrunk precipitously in Thailand since the 22 May 2014 coup by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). By choosing to join with the NCPO to attack Dr. Somsak Jeamteerasakul, the Thammasat University administration has abdicated its responsibility to protect academic freedom and nurture critical thinking. While academic freedom is not worthy of protection greater than that of the right to freedom of expression of all citizens, the impact of its destruction during a time of dictatorship is particularly severe as it prevents students and scholars, those whose daily job is to think about knowledge and its implications, from imagining and working to return to a democratic regime founded on the protection of rights and liberties. 
 
For more than twenty years, Dr. Somsak Jeamteerasakul has been a lecturer in the Department of History and has trained and inspired many students at Thammasat University. As a public intellectual, he has produced a significant body of work in modern Thai history that has impacted and challenged Thai society beyond the walls of the university. His critical stance has made those in power uncomfortable, and in 2011 he faced an accusation from the Army of violating Article 112, the section of the Criminal Code that addresses alleged lèse majesté. In February 2014, there was an attempt on his life when armed gunmen shot at his house and car with automatic weapons. Concerned about his life and liberty following the May 2014 coup, Dr. Somsak fled the country. He was subsequently summoned to report by the junta, and when he did not, the NCPO issued a warrant for his arrest and appearance in military court, as examination of violations of the junta’s orders was placed within the jurisdiction of the military court following the coup. In December 2014, he submitted his resignation. However, rather than accept his resignation, Thammasat University fired Dr. Somsak. 
 
We stand in solidarity with our colleagues who note that, at the very least, Dr. Somsak Jeamteerasakul should be permitted to appeal the decision by Thammasat University to summarily dismiss him. In addition, he should be permitted to fight any legal charges against him in the civilian criminal court, not the military court. We further call on Thammasat University and all universities in Thailand to take an active and leading role in support of academic freedom and freedom of expression in a broad sense. To think differently is not a crime. If one cannot do so within the walls of the university, spaces of learning and the pursuit of truth, then the space to do so outside those walls will dwindle as well.
 
Signed,
 
 
1. Patricio N. Abinales, Professor, School of Pacific and Asian Studies, University of Hawaii-Manoa
 
2. Jeremy Adelman, Princeton University
 
3. Nadje Al-Ali, Professor of Gender Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
 
4. Robert B. Albritton, Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, University of Mississippi
 
5. Saowanee T. Alexander, Ubon Ratchathani University, Thailand
 
6. Tariq Ali, Author
 
7. Aries A. Arugay, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of the Philippines-Diliman
 
8. Indrė Balčaitė, PhD candidate, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
 
9. Joshua Barker, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Toronto
 
10. Veysel Batmaz, Professor, Istanbul University, Turkey
 
11. Bryce Beemer, History Department, Colby College
 
12. Trude Bennett, Emeritus Professor, School of Public Health, UNC
 
13. Clarinda Berja, Professor and Chair of the Department of Social Sciences, University of the Philippines-Manila.
 
14. Kristina Maud Bergeron, Agente de recherche et chercheuse associée, Chaire en entrepreneuriat minier UQAT-UQAM, Université du Québec à Montréal
 
15. Chris Berry, Professor, Department of Film Studies, King's College London
 
16. Robert J. Bickner, Emeritus Professor (Thai), Department of Languages and Cultures of Asia, University of Wisconsin
 
17. David J.H. Blake, Independent Scholar, United Kingdom
 
18. John Borneman, Professor of Antbropology, Princeton University
 
19. Katherine Bowie, Professor of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
 
20. Francis R. Bradley, Assistant Professor of History, Pratt Institute
 
21. Eloise A. Brière, Professor of French and Francophone Studies Emerita, University at Albany – SUNY
 
22. Lisa Brooten, Associate Professor, College of Mass Communication and Media Arts, Southern Illinois University 
 
23. Andrew Brown, Lecturer in Political and International Studies, University of New England
 
24. James Brown, PhD Candidate, Department of Development Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
 
25. Din Buadaeng, Université Paris-Diderot (Paris 7)
 
26. Michael Burawoy, Professor, University of California, Berkeley
 
27. David Camroux, Associate Professor - Senior Researcher, Sciences Po
 
28. Rosa Cordillera Castillo, PhD candidate, Freie Universität Berlin
 
29. Danielle Celermajer, Professor and Director, Enhancing Human Rights Project, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sydney
 
30. Pavin Chachavalpongpun, Associate Professor, Kyoto University
 
31. Thak Chaloemtiarana, Professor, Cornell University
 
32. Anita Chan, Research Professor, China-Australia Relations Institute (ACRI), University of Technology, Sydney
 
33. Pandit Chanrochanakit, Visiting Scholar Thai Studies Program, Asia Center, Harvard University (Faculty of Political Science Ramkhamhaeng University)
 
34. Nick Cheesman, Research Fellow, Political and Social Change, Australian National University
 
35. Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor & Professor of Linguistics (Emeritus), MIT
 
36. Lawrence Chua, Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, Syracuse University
 
37. Nerida M. Cook, Ph.D.
 
38. Simon Creak, Lecturer in Southeast Asian History, University of Melbourne 
 
39. Robert Cribb, Professor of Asian History, Australian National University
 
40. Linda Cuadra, MA Student, University of Washington, Jackson School of International Studies
 
41. Robert Dayley, Professor of Political Economy, The College of Idaho
 
42. Yorgos Dedes, Senior Lecturer in Turkish, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
 
43. Arif Dirlik, Knight Professor of Social Science, Retired, University of Oregon
 
44. Rick Doner, Professor, Department of Political Science, Emory University
 
45. Ariel Dorfman, Author and Distinguished Professor, Duke University
 
46. Ana Dragojlovic, UQ Postdoctoral Research Fellow, The University of Queensland
 
47. Alexis Dudden, Professor of History, University of Connecticut
 
48. Richard Dyer, Professor, King's College London and St. Andrews, Fellow of the British Academy
 
49. Taylor M. Easum, Assistant Professor of History, University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point
 
50. Nancy Eberhardt, Professor and Chair, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, Knox College
 
51. Eli Elinoff, National University of Singapore 
 
52. Olivier Evrard, Insitut de recherche pour le Développement, France
& Chiang Mai University, Faculty of Social Sciences
 
53. Nicholas Farrelly, Fellow, ANU
 
54. Jessica Fields, Associate Professor, Sociology, San Francisco State University
 
55. Alfredo Saad Filho, Professor, Department of Development Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
 
56. Amanda Flaim, Postdoctoral Associate, Duke University, Sanford School of Public Policy
 
57. Tim Forsyth, Professor, International Development, London School of Economics and Political Science
 
58. Arnika Fuhrmann, Assistant Professor of Asian Studies, Cornell University
 
59. V.V. Ganeshananthan, Writer, Bunting Fellow, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
 
60. Paul K. Gellert, Associate Professor, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
 
61. Charles Geisler, Professor of Development Sociology, Cornell University
 
62. Henry Giroux, Author and Professor, McMaster University
 
63. Parvis Ghassem-Fachandi, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Rutgers University
 
 
64. Jim Glassman, Professor, University of British Columbia
 
65. Lawrence Grossberg, Morris Davis Distinguished Professor of Communication Studies and Cultural Studies, UNC-Chapel Hill
 
66. Merly Guanumen, Professor of International Relations, Javeriana University
 
67. Tessa Maria Guazon, Assistant Professor, Department of Art Studies College of Arts and Letters University of the Philippines-Diliman
 
68. Geoffrey Gunn, Emeritus, Nagasaki University
 
69. Tyrell Haberkorn, Fellow, Department of Political and Social Change, Australian National University
 
70. Vedi Hadiz, Professor of Asian Societies and Politics, Asia Research Centre, Murdoch University
 
71. Jeffrey Hadler, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies, U.C. Berkeley
 
72. Paul Handley, Journalist and Author
 
73. Eva Hansson, Senior Lecturer, Political Science and Coordinator, Forum for Asian Studies, Stockholm University
 
74. Harry Harootunian, Max Palevsky Professor of History, Emeritus, University of Chicago
 
75. Gillian Hart, Professor of Geography, University of California-Berkeley
 
76. Yoko Hayami, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University
 
77. Chris Hedges, Author
 
78. Ariel Heryanto, Professor, School of Culture, History, and Language, Australian National University 
 
79. Michael Herzfeld, Ernest E. Monrad Professor of the Social Sciences, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University
 
80. Kevin Hewison, Sir Walter Murdoch Professor of Politics and International Studies, Murdoch University
 
81. Allen Hicken, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Michigan
 
82. CJ Hinke, Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT), Independent scholar
 
83. Philip Hirsch, Professor of Human Geography, University of Sydney
 
84. Tessa J. Houghton, Director, Centre for the Study of Communications and Culture, University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus
 
85. May Adadol Ingawanij, Reader, Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media, University of Westminster
 
86. Noboru Ishikawa, Professor, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University
 
87. Sunisa Ittichaiyo, Ph.D. student, Faculty of Law, Augsburg University
 
88. Soren Ivarsson, Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
 
89. Peter A. Jackson, Professor, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University
 
90. Arthit Jiamrattanyoo, Ph.D. Student, University of Washington
 
91. Lee Jones, Senior Lecturer in International Politics, Queen Mary, University of London
 
92. Andrew Alan Johnson, Assistant Professor, Yale-NUS College
 
93. Hjorleifur Jonsson, Associate Professor of Anthropology, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University
 
94. Teresa Jopson, PhD candidate at the Australian National University
 
95. Sarah Joseph, Professor, Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, Monash University
 
96. Amanda Joy, Instructor and PhD Candidate, Carleton University
 
97. Alexander Karn, Assistant Professor of History, Colgate University
 
98. Tatsuki Kataoka, Associate Professor of the Graduate School of
Asian and African Area Studies, Kyoto University
 
99. Ward Keeler, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Texas-Austin
 
100. Charles Keyes, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and International Studies, University of Washington
 
101. Akkharaphong Khamkhun, Pridi Banomyong International College, Thammasat University
 
102. Gaik Cheng Khoo, Associate Professor, University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus
 
103. Sherryl Kleinman, Professor of Sociology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
 
104. Lars Peter Laamann, Department of History, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
 
105. John Langer, Independent researcher and broadcaster
 
106. Tomas Larsson, Lecturer, University of Cambridge
 
107. Pinkaew Laungaramsri, Visiting Scholar, Harvard Yenching Institute, Harvard University
 
108. Doreen Lee, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Northeastern University
 
109. Namhee Lee, Associate Professor of Modern Korean History, University of California, Los Angeles
 
110. Terence Lee, Assistant Professor of Political Science, National University of Singapore
 
111. Christian C. Lentz, Assistant Professor of Geography, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
 
112. Busarin Lertchavalitsakul, PhD Candidate, University of Amsterdam
 
113. Daniel J. Levine, Assistant Professor of Political Science, The University of Alabama
 
114. Samson Lim, Assistant Professor, Singapore University of Technology and Design
 
115. Peter Limqueco, Editor Emeritus, Journal of Contemporary Asia
 
116. Johan Lindquist, Associate Professor, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University
 
117. Kah Seng Loh, Assistant Professor at the Institute for East Asian Studies, Sogang University
 
118. Larry Lohmann, The Corner House
 
119. Tamara Loos, Associate Professor, History and Southeast Asian Studies, Cornell University
 
120. Taylor Lowe, PhD Student in Anthropology, the University of Chicago
 
121. Catherine Lutz, Thomas J. Watson, Jr. Family Professor of Anthropology and International Studies, Brown University
 
122. Chris Lyttleton, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Macquarie University
 
123. Regina Estorba Macalandag, Asia Center for Sustainable Futures, Assistant Professor, Holy Name University
 
124. Andrew MacGregor Marshall, Independent journalist and scholar
 
125. Ken MacLean Associate Professor of International Development and Social Change, Clark University
 
126. M F Makeen, Senior Lecturer in Commercial Law, SOAS, University of London
 
127. Neeranooch Malangpoo, PhD. student, Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
 
128. Amporn Marddent, School of Liberal Arts, Walailak University 
 
129. Jovan Maud, Lecturer, Institut für Ethnologie, Georg-August University
 
130. Duncan McCargo, Professor of Political Science, University of Leeds
 
131. Mary E. McCoy, Associate Faculty, University of Wisconsin-Madison
 
132. Kaja McGowan, Associate Professor of Art History, Cornell University
 
133. Kate McGregor, University of Melbourne
 
134. Shawn McHale, Associate Professor of History, George Washington University
 
135. Gayatri Menon, Faculty, Azim Premji University
 
136. Eugenie Merieau, INALCO, Paris
 
137. Marcus Mietzner, Associate Professor, Australian National University
 
138. Elizabeth Miller, Previous Thai language student at Ohio University
 
139. Owen Miller, Lecturer in Korean Studies, Department of Japan and Korea, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
 
140. Mary Beth Mills, Professor of Anthropology, Colby College
 
141. Bruce Missingham, Lecturer, Geography & Environmental Science, Monash University
 
142. Art Mitchells-Urwin, PhD candidate in Thai Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
 
143. Dan Monk, George R. and Myra T. Cooley Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies, Colgate University
 
144. Michael Montesano, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore
 
145. Samuel Moyn, Professor of Law and History, Harvard University
 
146. Marjorie Muecke, Adjunct Professor, Family and Community Health, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Paul G Rogers Ambassador for Global Health Research
 
147. Yukti Mukdawijitra, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
 
148. Laura Mulvey, Professor, Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies, School of Arts, Birkbeck, University of London
 
149. Ben Murtagh, Senior Lecturer in Indonesian and Malay, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
 
150. Fumio Nagai, Professor, Osaka City University
 
151. Kanda Naknoi, Department of Economics, University of Connecticut
 
152. Andrew Ng, Associate Professor, School of Arts and Social Sciences, Monash University, Malaysia
 
153. Don Nonini, Professor of Anthropology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
 
154. Pál Nyiri , Professor of Global History from an Anthropological Perspective, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam
 
155. Rachel O'Toole, Associate Professor of History, University of California, Irvine
 
156. Akin Oyètádé, Senior Lecturer, School of Oriental and African Studies
 
157. Jonathan Padwe, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Hawaiˈi at Mānoa
 
158. Ajay Parasram, Doctoral Candidate, Carleton University Ottawa
 
159. Eun-Hong Park, Professor, Faculty of Social Science, Sungkonghoe University
 
160. Prasannan Parthassarathi, Professor of History, Boston College
 
161. Raj Patel, Research Professor, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin. 
 
162. Quentin Pearson III, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Wheaton College
 
163. Thomas Pepinsky, Associate Professor of Government, Cornell University
 
164. Penchan Phoborisuth, University of Utah
 
165. Sheldon Pollock, Arvind Raghunathan Professor of Sanskrit and South Asian Studies, Columbia University in the City of New York
 
166. Chalermpat Pongajarn, PhD candidate, Wageningen University
 
167. Pitch Pongsawat, Visiting Scholar, Harvard Yenching Institute, Harvard University
 
168. Tim Rackett, UK
 
169. Rahul Rao, Senior Lecturer in Politics, SOAS, University of London
 
170. Malavika Reddy, PhD Candidate, University of Chicago
 
171. Luke Robinson, Lecturer, University of Sussex
 
172. Garry Rodan, Professor of Politics & International Studies, Asia Research Centre, Murdoch University
 
173. John Roosa, Associate Professor, Department of History, University of British Columbia
 
174. Robin Roth, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, York University
 
175. Ulrich Karl Rotthoff, Assistant Professor, Asian Center, 
University of the Philippines 
 
176. Pakpoom Saengkanokkul, PhD student, INALCO, Paris, France
 
177. Jiratorn Sakulwattana, PhD student
 
178. Ton Salman, Associate Professor and Head of Department, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
 
179. Saskia Sassen, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology and Chair, Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University
 
180. Wolfram Schaffar, Professor, Department of Development Studies, University of Vienna
 
181. Sarah Schulman, City University of New York
 
182. James C. Scott, Sterling Professor of Political Science and Anthropology, Yale University 
 
183. Raymond Scupin, Director, Center for International and Global Studies, Lindenwood University
 
184. Laurie J. Sears, Professor of History, Director, Southeast Asia Center, University of Washington
 
185. Mark Selden, Senior Research Associate, East Asia Program, Cornell University
 
186. Yeoh Seng-Guan, Monash University Malaysia
 
187. Bo Kyeong Seo, Australian National University
 
188. John T. Sidel, Sir Patrick Gillam Professor of International and Comparative Politics, London School of Economics and Political Science
 
189. Roland G. Simbulan, Professor in Development Studies and Public Management, University of the Philippines
 
190. Subir Sinha, Senior Lecturer, Department of Development Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
 
191. Aim Sinpeng, Lecturer in Comparative Politics, University of Sydney
 
192. Aranya Siriphon, Visiting Scholar, Harvard Yenching Institute, Harvard University
 
193. Dan Slater, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Chicago
 
194. Jay M. Smith, Professor of History, UNC-Chapel Hill
 
195. Claudio Sopranzetti, Postdoctoral Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford University
 
196. Paul Stasi, Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, SUNY-Albany
 
197. Irene Stengs, Senior Researcher, Meertens Institute/Research and Documentation of Language and Culture in the Netherlands/Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
 
198. Carolyn Strange, Senior Fellow, School of History, Australian National University
 
199. Wanrug Suwanwattana, PhD student, Oxford University
 
200. David Szanton, UC Berkeley, emeritus
 
201. Eduardo Climaco Tadem, Ph.D.,  Professor of Asian Studies, 
University of the Philippines Diliman
 
202. Teresa S. Encarnacion Tadem, Ph.D, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of the Philippines Diliman
 
203. Neferti Tadiar, Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Barnard College, Columbia University
 
204. Danielle Tan, Lecturer, Institute for East Asian Studies (IAO-ENS Lyon), Sciences Po Lyon
 
205. Michelle Tan
 
206. Tanabe Shigeharu, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan
 
207. Nicola Tannenbaum, Professor of Anthropology, Lehigh University
 
208. Nicholas Tapp, Professor Emeritus, Australian National University, Director, Research Institute of Anthropology, East China Normal University
 
209. Ben Tausig, Assistant Professor, Stony Brook University
 
210. Nora A. Taylor, Alsdorf Professor of South and South East Asian Art, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
 
211. Philip Taylor, Senior Fellow, Anthropology, Australian National University
 
212. Julia Adeney Thomas, Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Notre Dame
 
213. Barry Trachtenberg, Associate Professor, History Department, Director, Judaic Studies Program, University at Albany
 
214. Tran Thi Liên, Associate Professor, History of Southeast Asia,
University Paris Diderot-Paris 7 
 
215. Andrew Turton, Reader Emeritus in Social Anthropology at the University of London
 
216. Jonathan Unger, Professor, Department of Political and Social Change, Australian National University
 
217. Jane Unrue, Harvard College Writing Program, Harvard University
 
218. Sara Van Fleet, University of Washington
 
219. Peter Vandergeest, Geography, York University, Toronto
 
220. Boonlert Visetpricha, PhD candidate at University of Wisconsin- Madison, Department of Anthropology
 
221. Joel Wainwright, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Ohio State University
 
222. Andrew Walker, Professor of Southeast Asian Studies, The Australian National University
 
223. Kheetanat Wannaboworn, Master's Degree Student, Sciences Po Paris
 
224. Thomas Weber, DPhil
 
225. Meredith Weiss, Associate Professor of Political Science, University at Albany, SUNY
 
226. Marina Welker, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology
 
227. Bridget Welsh, Senior Research Associate, Center for East Asia Demcracy, National Taiwan University
 
228. Marion Werner, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, University at Buffalo, SUNY
 
229. Frederick F. Wherry, Professor of Sociology, Yale University
 
230. Erick White, Visiting Fellow, Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University 
 
231. Dhrista Wichterich, Gastprofessur Geschlechterpolitik, Fachbereich Gesellschaftswissenschaften, Universität Kassel
 
232. Sutida Wimuttikosol, PhD student, King's College London
 
233. Thongchai Winichakul, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison
 
234. Hiram Woodward, Curator Emeritus, Asian Art, Walters Art Museum
 
235. Theodore Jun Yoo, University of Hawaii at Manoa
 
236. Karin Zackari, PhD candidate, Human Rights Studies, Department of History, Lund University
 
237. Peter Zinoman, Professor of History and Southeast Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley
 
238. Rebecca Zorach, Professor of Art History, Romance Languages, and the College, University of Chicago
 
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Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from the Udon Thani Environmental Conservation Group about the intensification of ongoing threats and surveillance of human rights defenders who are members of the group. They have been engaged in a long-standing struggle for community participation in decisions about potash mining in Udon Thani province. Similar to the situation of other communities since the 22 May 2014 coup by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), members of the Conservation Group and groups who support them have faced increased threats because state authorities are failing to protect them as they oppose private corporations which would like to profit from resource extraction. The AHRC is gravely concerned about the safety of the members of the Udon Thani Environmental Conservational Group and the E-san Human Rights and Peace Information Center, and is further concerned that the state’s failure to protect them will also serve to make other human rights defenders feel unsafe.
 
Surveys for potash were first carried out in Udon Thani province in 1993 and the Thai Agrigo Potash Company (TAPC), which later became the Asia Pacific Potash Corporation, or APCC) began to acquire land and begin to work towards acquiring a mining concession. Soon thereafter, community members and human rights defenders began raising questions about the environmental and health impacts of any potential mining project, and often engaged in extended protests to ensure that their voices and demands for participation were heard in public. In the latest period of struggle, in April 2012, a joint committee was set-up between the Department of Primary Industry and Mining (DPIM) and the Conservation Group in order to investigate the social and environmental effects of the potash mining project; in 2012, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) called on the Ministry of Industry to suspend the issuance of a mining license to the APCC pending the joint committee’s findings. Mrs. Manee Bunrood, a leader of the Conservation Group and a woman human rights defender, represents the community on the joint committee. Up until the present, the joint committee has not issued a public report on its findings.
 
On 29 January 2015, the DPIM issued an order to halt the joint committee's work with Udon Thani Environmental Conservation Group. This decision removes the community’s ability to participate in decisions that will affect their environment, health, and livelihood. Upon hearing this news, members of the Conservation Group went to meet with the deputy government of Udon Thani, Mr. Chaicharn Eamjaroen. At his office, they also met with officials from the DPIM, the police, the 24th Military Division and the Nongprajak sub-district head of Nongprajak sub-district.
 
The Conservation Group requested a copy of the DPIM’s letter halting the joint committee’s work and further asked for clarification on upcoming planned public hearings the authorities plan to organize. The Conservation Group maintained the importance of ensuring that the public hearings are held in a transparent and fully open manner. Over the long period of struggle by members of the communities, the state authorities have failed to demonstrate and give credence to the concerns of the community about potash mining. On the same day that the DPIM halted the joint committee’s work, a soldier from the 24th Military Division visited a temple Ban Nonsomboon village, one of the affected communities, during a religious ceremony. When questioned by the villagers, the soldier said that he was there to monitor the ceremony as it was a public gathering, which is restricted under martial law, which has been in force since 20 May 2014, two days prior to the coup. On the evening of 25 February 2015, the village committee also announced that the Army would continue to visit the village to for monitoring purposes. Sources close to the Asian Human Rights Commission have also indicated that key members of the Conservation Group and the E-san Human Rights and Peace Information Center have their electronic communication monitored by the military authorities. The proximity of the increased military presence in the community and ongoing surveillance following the termination of the work of the joint committee, and the Conservation Group’s concerns over this, is a clear instance of intimidation that seems designed to ensure that members of the Group do not protest the termination.
 
The Asian Human Rights Commission has two related concerns about the recent events in Udon Thani. First, by halting the work of the joint committee, the Thai state authorities have eliminated the official channel for members of the Conservation Group to provide input on potash mining. Given that public protest has been criminalized under martial law following the May 2014 coup, members of the community are therefore also unable to use demonstrations to communicate their concerns to the state authorities and raise awareness in their community and to Thai society as a whole. Second, the increased intimidation and surveillance of members of the Conservation Group coincident with the elimination of pathways of participation into decision-making about potash mining in Udon Thani raises concern about the overall safety of the human rights defenders who are members of the group. This concern is further underlined by the summoning shortly after the May 2014 coup of sixteen community leaders and activists in the areas affected by potash mining and a history of threats against human rights defenders working on this issue; on 24 March 2012, the APPC sent surveyors to inspect land defended by the Conservation Group. The surveyors called for police assistance to disperse villagers blocking entry onto the land. Following this incident, five leaders of the Conservation Group received death threats from representatives of the APPC.
 
The Asian Human Rights Commission condemns the 22 May 2014 coup in the strongest terms possible and views the events in Udon Thani as another example of how human rights suffer under military rule. The AHRC calls on the Thai state authorities to ensure the safety of members of the Udon Thani Environmental Conservation Group and the Conservation group and member of the E-san Human Rights and Peace Information Center. The Army should cease visiting the affected communities and cease their monitoring of the communications of human rights defenders. The work of the joint committee should be resumed and the Thai state authorities should take active steps to listen and respond to the concerns of affected communities about the potential environment, health, and livelihood effects of potash mining.
 
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This is part XXX of “Tongue-Thai’ed!”, an ongoing series where we collect the most baffling, ridiculous, confusing, outrageous and appalling quotes from Thai politicians and other public figures. Check out all past entries here. It is hard to deny that the human rights situation in Thailand has sharply deteriorated since last year’s coup which brought in the authoritative Read more...