International Scholars of Thai Studies Condemn Coup

BANGKOK — Thai studies academics from around the world have condemned the Royal Thai Army's military coup and called for an immediate return to constitutional rule.

In a letter written to coup-leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha on 23 May, 2014, twenty-six scholars of Thai studies expressed their “grave  concern” over the military takeover yesterday and its swift curtailment of human rights. 

“The coup cannot be a measure for peace because the coup itself is the use of violence,” the letter reads.

The academics condemned the trampling of human rights that has already occurred under the first 24 hours of military rule. Since announcing the coup d’etat yesterday evening, the military junta has moved to censor the media, ban political expression, and detain numerous politicians and activists.

“The rapid speed and severity with which these restrictions were put in place makes Thailand notorious worldwide for the unjust actions by the coup group,” the professors wrote. “The international community cannot tolerate such actions.”

The academics who signed the letter hail from 20 universities in eight countries around the world. They said they believe it is especially important for the international community to speak out against the coup given the restrictions being placed on freedom of expression inside Thailand at this time.  

The letter urged the military to return to constitutional rule by a civilian government immediately.

“Constitutional rule by a civilian government, including both elections and the full participation of all citizens in rule, is the only path forward for the continued development of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Thailand.”


In the past twenty-four hours, the Thai military has been repeatedly condemned by foreign governments and international organizations for staging yesterday's coup d’état — the twelfth in modern Thai history.


The academics who signed the letter include: 

Dr. Andrew Brown, Lecturer, University of New England

Dr. Pongpisoot Busbarat, Research Affiliate, University of Sydney

Dr. Pavin Chachavalpongpun, Associate Professor, Kyoto University

Dr. Nick Cheesman, Lecturer, Australian National University

Dr. Michael Connors, Associate Professor, University of Nottingham, Malaysia campus

Dr. Eli Elinoff, Postdoctoral Fellow, National University of Singapore

Dr. Jane M, Ferguson, Research Fellow, University of Sydney

Dr. Jim Glassman, Associate Professor, University of British Columbia

Dr. Tyrell Haberkorn, Fellow, Australian National University

Dr. Kevin Hewison, Sir Walter Murdoch Professor, Murdoch University

Dr. Philip Hirsch, Professor, University of Sydney

Dr. Adadol Ingawanij, Senior Research Fellow, University of Westminster

Dr. Soren Ivarsson, Assistant Professor, University of Copenhagen

Dr. Peter Jackson, Professor, Australian National University

Dr. Andrew Johnson, Assistant Professor, Yale-NUS College

Dr. Samson Lim, Singapore University of Technology and Design

Dr. Tamara Loos, Associate Professor, Cornell University

Dr. Mary Beth Mills, Professor, Colby College

Dr. Michael Montesano, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies

Dr. Claudio Sopranzetti, Postdoctoral Fellow, Oxford University

Dr. Ben Tausig, Associate Professor, Stony Brook University

Dr. James L. Taylor, Adjunct Associate Professor, The University of Adelaide

Dr. Tubtim Tubtim, University of Sydney

Dr. Peter Vandergeest, Associate Professor, York University 

Dr. Andrew Walker, Professor and Deputy Dean, Australian National University

Dr. Thongchai Winichakul, Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison


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