Silencing by means of “superstition”

Silencing by means of “superstition”The most interesting – and yet most disturbing – thing about the latest Thai craze for Kuman Thong, or “Angel Dolls”, is not the phenomenon itself. After all, it is not a novelty of the past month, the past year, the past decade, or even the past century. Rather, it is the harsh criticism the…

Opinion: Thailand’s Institutionalized Slavery

Opinion: Thailand’s Institutionalized SlaveryI recall watching a 1985 American film recently, "The Color Purple" which tells the life of a poor African American woman named Celie Harris. By the time she is 14, she is sexually abused repeatedly by her own father and is later forced to marry a wealthy young local widower who treats her like a…

Myanmar Suspects Convicted of Thailand Backpacker Murders in Flawed Trial

Myanmar Suspects Convicted of Thailand Backpacker Murders in Flawed TrialA Thai court on Samui Island today, Dec. 24, found two Myanmar workers guilty of killing two British backpackers on a tropical island in southern Thailand, sentencing them to death in a case that to outsiders looks fatally flawed and designed to protect unnamed powerful figures who actually killed the two and raped the woman.…

Thailand’s Crown Prince Starts Another Purge

Thailand’s Crown Prince Starts Another PurgeAs Thailand's royal interregnum approaches, the country’s ruling class has been seized by what amounts almost to a reign of terror, with Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn apparently clearing out his enemies in a fashion that goes back to the installation of a long line of Rama kings. The tension is so serious in Bangkok that…

How Asia’s Governments Spy on Their Citizens

How Asia’s Governments Spy on Their CitizensIf you live in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand or Vietnam and you are an activist or a journalist, the government probably knows a lot more about the inside of your computer than you think, and more than you want it to. On July 5, unknown hackers broke into the computers a shadowy company based in Italy…

Thai Backpacker Murder Trial Under a Cloud

Thai Backpacker Murder Trial Under a CloudThe trial of two 21-year-old Burmese migrant workers is set to get underway tomorrow [July 8] for the killings of two British backpackers, Hannah Witheridge and David Miller, on Sept. 15 last year. The Thai justice system is as much on trial as the two migrants, Htun Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, who were collected…

Human Rights Groups Seek Justice for Thai Dissidents

Human Rights Groups Seek Justice for Thai DissidentsOn May 22, the one-year anniversary of the coup that brought Army general Prayuth Chan-ocha to power in Thailand, handfuls of university students in Bangkok and the northern city of Khon Kaen held peaceful demonstrations advocating community rights and democracy. That may have been a mistake. The National Council for Peace and Order, as the…

Thai Junta Blocks Human Rights Watch Press Con

Thai Junta Blocks Human Rights Watch Press ConThailand’s junta appears to be squeezing down ever more heavily on the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand. On Friday, June 26, it cancelled a press conference by Human Rights Watch over a report that isn’t even about Thailand but rather Vietnam and its treatment of Christian Montagnard minorities. In recent weeks, the junta, known as…

Holding Back Women Holds Back Progress

Developing country progress cannot be realized unless governments also recognize bodily autonomy and sexual rights, especially for those who are marginalized and seldom heard from or are even visible, according to a Bangkok conference on rights issues, with women and girls among key populations whose rights are regularly violated to the point where it holds…

Ailing Thai King is Watched Anxiously

Ailing Thai King is Watched AnxiouslyThailand’s royal couple, King Bhumibol Adulyadej and his wife, Queen Sirikit, left Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok on May 10 to return to their seaside palace in Hua Hin, 200 km to the south on the Gulf of Thailand. But as the couple waved to cheering crowds that lined the streets along the way, the public…
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