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#YouthPowerDemocracy: X (Twitter) Space Recap “New Government, 6 Months After: Any Hopes for Democracy and Human Rights in Thailand?” 🇹🇭

On 31 January 2024, from 19:00-21:00 ICT, over 1,400 listeners joined our latest X (Twitter) Space session, titled "New Government, 6 Months After: Any Hopes for Democracy and Human Rights in Thailand?". 🎙️🇹🇭🌟Our session featured notable figures and leaders of Thailand’s pro-democracy movements, including members of the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration (UFTD), Tanruthai “Pim” Thanrut of Mokeluang Rimnam, Nutthanit “Baipor'' Duangmusit of Thaluwang, Piputpong "Butae" Sriwichai of Young Pride Club, Thapanawat “Japp” Wongprakon of the Coalition of Innovators for Thai Youth (CITY) and a Member of Parliament (MP) Tunyawaj “Kru Tun” Kamolwongwat of the Move Forward Party. It was moderated by activist Patsaravalee “Mind” Tanakitvibulpon who, moments before our event started, was given a 2-year suspended jail sentence for a lèse-majesté case.

Reflecting on the state of democracy and human rights in Thailand during the tenure of the Pheu Thai-led Srettha Thavisin administration over the past six months, this X (Twitter) Space aimed to frankly address the challenges for true democracy and freedoms. MPs from the Pheu Thai ruling party were invited; unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, none were able to attend. Nevertheless, we were grateful to have had MFP’s MP Tunyawaj ‘Kru Tun’ Kamolwongwat, who provided productive insight in conversation with Thai youth activists. 


Thailand has reached the six-month mark under Srettha Thavisin's Administration. Now more than ever, it is crucial to engage in discussions that shed light on whether pre-election policy campaigns have been addressed or are slated for future consideration by the current government.

Despite the change in government, the state of democracy and human rights in Thailand has shown limited improvement. The current administration, not having secured a majority vote, has seen ongoing challenges, with pro-democracy activists and nonactivists alike continuing to pay the price of past charges related to their activism. For example, we saw the sentence of pro-democracy youth activist Sophon “Get” Suraritthamrong in August 2023, accused of royal defamation, as discussed in our previous X (Twitter) Space. We also saw the condemnation of online vendor Mongkol “Busbas” Thirakot in January of this year, facing a combined prison sentence of around 50 years, the harshest and most cruel punishment for “lèse-majesté” (violation of Section 112 of the Thai’s Criminal Code).

Given these circumstances, creating spaces for youths and representatives from the administration to discuss their diverse perspectives is essential.

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Or scroll to keep on reading the perspectives of our guest speakers as they share insights and ideas about the government's performance over the past six months. Discover what these reflections mean for Thai democracy and the human rights situation in the future. At Manushya, as we consistently emphasize, we strongly believe that their voices deserve to be heard! ⤵️

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Mind opened up our discussion by asking whether over the past 6 months, the Pheu Thai-led new government under Srettha Thavisin has made tangible action steps regarding its recent election campaign promises.

A member of the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration (UFTD) expressed their concerns that the government has not yet painted a clear enough picture of its goals and process. While the new government seemed to have focused on the digital wallet and Thailand’s soft power, challenges remain with the potential return of military personnel to their expertise areas, and the delayed realization of promises such as the commitment of a new constitution:

  • “It appears the government is not as receptive as it claimed to be before the vote…the issue is [also] related to Section 112, something that the new government claimed during its campaign would not be used as a political tool. Today, it is evident that Section 112 is still being wielded to suppress and eliminate political opponents. [...] What was communicated to the public appears to have succeeded is the government being able to fulfill its promise to bring the former Prime Minister back home.”

Tanruthai “Pim” Thanrut from Mokeluang Rimnam acknowledged the government's progress in the Marriage Equality Bill. However, she also expressed concern about pre-election policy campaigns that have yet to materialise in parliament, showing no signs of realisation: 

  •  The government's policies seem to be floating and fluctuating, such as the digital wallet, facing daily challenges and various criticisms [...]. Regarding political activists, human rights violations persist, potentially leading to a chilling effect on society. This has led to SLAPP cases, defamation lawsuits, and the arrest of activists, including Busbas, facing over 20 cases with an initial sentence of 50 years in prison. It appears that, in these six months, I feel that this government is against the democratic movement.” 

Furthermore, Mind asked our speakers about the current government’s behaviour as compared to its predecessor. MP Tunyawaj “Kru Tun” Kamolwongwat of the Move Forward Party, highlighted nuances and contradictions in the ruling party’s behavior:

  • In the past, [the new government] articulated a certain viewpoint, while today, they provide a different rationale. Regarding the concept of soft power, there were high expectations from the Pheu Thai Party. [...] One thing that remains consistent from the previous government is that today when Pheu Thai talks about soft power, it doesn't seem any different from what we heard before. [...] You understand soft power, but when it comes to making it influential in the economy, it seems unchanged, resembling the previous administration, making it feel like nothing has truly changed. 

Kru Tun echoed the youth activists’ statements regarding the ongoing political cases made against dissenting voices: 

  • “Regarding [the issue of] political cases and pro-democracy activists, this is a matter of top priority…we should address this first because it is urgent, and involves fundamental freedoms. The urgency lies in the rights and freedom of individuals who engage in activities to raise awareness or communicate with society. [...]Prioritizing and ranking these issues is crucial and signifies certain implications of this current government.

Mind then asked the speakers about the recommendations they would propose to the new government to rectify the arbitrary prosecutions of the pro-democracy activists. In response to this, Piputpong "Butae" Sriwichai of Young Pride Club expressed that…

  • “...they must stop prosecuting people for self-expression, and start listening to the people’s demands…if we really want to create a democratic environment for the whole world to see…the punishment of political activists needs to stop as soon as possible. Further…the Pheu Thai party proclaimed in a public announcement they would take on the task of creating a People’s Constitution [as part of their mission to build Thailand’s democracy]. I believe this is essential to address…it is an important first step.”  

Thapanawat “Japp” Wongprakon from the Coalition of Innovators for Thai Youth (CITY) reflected Butae’s sentiment in response to the next question addressing the government’s efforts to rebuild confidence in Thailand’s democracy amid challenges and criticisms faced by the previous administration:

  • “In the present day, Thai society has many internal conflicts. If the new government wants to solve these conflicts, I believe that the first step they can take to start rebuilding the Thai public’s confidence in its democracy is by turning to face the people and listening to their voices. The main issue with the previous government was that they did not listen to the people. Thus, if this government wants to start to remedy our society’s issues, they should start with this.” 

The next question was about the current state of human rights and democracy in Thailand and the government’s role in contributing to a positive and progressive future. Nutthanit “Baipor'' Duangmusit from Thaluwang responded by rallying the Thai people, urging them to stay vigilant and monitor the government’s actions for accountability. 

  • “...we need to see whether the government will escalate any conflicts or whether there will be issues arising from their policies unresolved. The political landscape can change anytime but I still believe in the power of the people and the movements in Thailand. Although the government wants Thailand to join (the UN Human Rights Council-UNHRC), the concerning state of human rights in the country raises questions about genuine belief in effective participation.” 

Mind wrapped up the discussion by providing each speaker an opportunity for concluding remarks. They left us with insightful words of youth wisdom; For example, MP Tunyawaj ‘Kru Tun’ Kamolwongwat of the Move Forward Party said: 

  • “The thing that will cause people with power to self-destruct is if they do not allow the people around them to speak. If people in power silence those around us and expect them to only say the things we want to hear…this creates an echo chamber. I believe that silencing people so that you can stay in your echo chamber does not do any good…I dream of a day where we can all live together in peace, have civil conversations, and work together to move forward as a society.

Conclusion and Solidarity Statement

This conversation was not only a very engaging one that took into account many perspectives from Thailand’s pro-democracy movements; it was also very timely, in light of recent circumstances. 

While our speakers acknowledged certain strides made by the new government, they asserted the need for the government to listen to the masses, underscoring that there is a considerable journey ahead. 

Recently, we witnessed the revocation of pro-democracy activist Netiporn “Bung'' Sanesangkhom's bail. Just a few months ago, Bung was in our “Is Thai Democracy in Regress or Progress?” X (Twitter) Space. Now, Bung is being detained, and has begun a hunger strike to protest this decision. Bung’s Thaluwang comrade, Baipor, shared updates on Bung’s situation in this  X (Twitter) Space.

✊Manushya Foundation stands in solidarity with all pro-democracy  and human-rights activists, in Thailand, Southeast Asia, and across the world. The aforementioned events demonstrate the resilience of Thailand’s pro-democracy activists, regardless of the injustices they face, and the sacrifices they make every day. We thank them for their energy for such an engaging X (Twitter) Space conversation, for their nuanced and empathetic words demanding accountability from the establishment, and their unshakable commitment to democracy and social justice.

✊This X (Twitter) Space is part of our #YouthPowerDemocracy series, which aims to fortify the influence of the Thai youth activists spearheading pro-liberation, pro-democracy, and pro-social justice movements in Thailand.

🎙️Intrigued? Listen to the full X (Twitter) Space!

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📍Inspired? Follow the Movement!

Below are some upcoming events and actions that you can follow and/or attend, if you would like to know more about Thailand’s liberation movements, how you can be involved, and how you can support our youth leaders ⤵️

  • 13 February 2024: Coming up very soon, We have another X (Twitter) Space from our #YouthPowerDemocracy project on the subject of Marriage Equality in Thailand, upcoming same-sex marriage legislation, and queer liberation in general, in advance of Valentines’ Day. Stay tuned and join us in centering the voices of Thai LGBTQIA+ activists, radically advocating for the universal right to freely love whoever you want, on your own terms! 🌈🤍

  • 1-14th February 2024 (around 4 days left!): iLaw’s ‘People’s Amnesty Festival’ event series aims to raise awareness for the youth-led Amnesty Bill proposal (that would grant amnesty for those affected by Section 112 charges), and engage the public in conversations surrounding relevant topics. Though the series began last week, there are still a few more days of the event left; click here for the full event schedule, and here to follow iLaw’s social media publicity on the series. 🌟

#WhatsHappeningInThailand #ยกเลิก112 #Abolish112 #LetsGetRights #FreeGet #PheuThai #MoveForward #ปฏิรูปสถาบันกษัตริย์ #MonarchyReform #พรบคอม #StopDigitalDictatorship #ThaiAmnestyBill #MarriageEqualityThailand #ปล่อยเพื่อนกู #ทะลุวัง #ThaluWang #โมกหลวงริมน้ำ #MokeluangRimnam #แนวร่วมธรรมศาสตร์และการชุมนุม #UFTD #YoungPrideClub #เครือข่ายนวัตกรเพื่อเยาวชนไทย #CITYThailand

While you’re here, read more about Thailand’s democracy movement and our work to support democracy, combating dictatorship, fighting for corporate accountability and climate justice, and powering women leaders, creating a safer, inclusive space online and offline for everyone ⤵️


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