Amnesty: Thai Children May Face Prison After Protests

    Amnesty: Thai Children May Face Prison After Protests
    Last updated Feb 08, 2023
    Image credit: Reuters [via Al Jazeera]


    • Human Rights NGO Amnesty International on Wednesday reported that almost 300 children in Thailand have faced criminal charges, including sedition, for their role in the 2020 pro-democracy protests that called for political reforms to Thailand’s monarchy.
    • Over 200 criminal charges are still active, with 17 minors reportedly facing up to 15 years in prison per charge for violating laws that make defaming, insulting, or threatening members of the royal family a crime.
    • Amnesty's regional researcher Chanatip Tatiyakaroonwong said that the arrests, many of which relate to the 2020-2021 protest movement, were conducted as a reaction to government policies under COVID emergency decrees between March 2020 and October 2022.
    • The report alleges that Thai authorities have "arrested, prosecuted, surveilled, and intimidated" hundreds of minors, reportedly using cable ties to restrain a 12-year-old during a protest crackdown in July 2021 and stalking a 13-year-old activist since March 2022.
    • According to the minors, police not only followed and intimidated them but pressured their teachers and parents to discourage them from protesting, leading some to be "disowned or abused by their own parents."
    • Amnesty also highlighted an alleged pattern of discrimination against LGBTQ+ youth and ethnic minority children, but the Thai Ministry of Justice claimed that freedom of "expression and assembly" is guaranteed by the 2017 Constitution.


    Pro-establishment narrative

    Thailand's history of authoritarianism and human rights violations extends far past the 2020 protests, but these arrests of and criminal charges against children are a new low. As the long arm of the Thai monarchy, in coordination with the Prime Minister, continues its crackdown on speech both in the streets and online, it's up to the global community to step up and call for drastic political change.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    As is the case in Myanmar, the Philippines, and throughout the East, US-funded media outlets are drawing previously non-existent divisions between segments of sovereign nations. First, they pitted Buddhists against Muslims, and now they're pitting so-called "pro-democracy" children against their parents and government. Reports like this aren't trying to bring about democracy, but are creating conflict so that the US can eventually intervene militarily and continue its long history of colonizing the region.

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