Stop Targeting Children For Speaking Out in Thailand

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Thai authorities are prosecuting and harassing child human rights defenders for peacefully exercising their right to protest. Some children are facing charges that could see them imprisoned for up to 15 years.

In 2020, young people, including university and secondary school students under 18 years old, started a wave of peaceful protests across Thailand. The demonstrations spread from schools and universities to the streets.

Originally triggered by calls for democratic reform, the youth-led protest movement had encompassed calls for constitutional change, social reforms, an end to official repression of government critics, improved education, and school safety. Participants also campaigned for the rights of women, indigenous people, LGBTQIA+ people and ethnic minorities.

Children who participated in peaceful demonstrations or shared their views in public speeches or online have faced detention, long-running legal proceedings, intimidation, harassment, and surveillance by Thai authorities - particularly after the protests focused on calls for reforms related to the Thai monarchy.

Authorities have prosecuted the majority of the children for violating official restrictions on public gatherings imposed to control the spread of Covid-19 under the Emergency Decree, which allows for two years' imprisonment and/or a fine, and which are no longer in force.

Children also face charges that could see them imprisoned for up to 15 years.

LGBTQIA+ campaigner Thanakorn ‘Petch’ Phiraban has been sentenced; ‘Sand’ is on trial, Chan Tonnampetch, an indigenous land rights activist, and 15-year-old protester “Yok” are under investigation.

We need to show the Thai authorities that there are thousands of people calling for them to stop targeting children who are simply exercising their right to freedom of expression. Please sign the petition now.