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Southeast Asian governments are under the human rights radar

Thailand’s controversial lèse-majesté law and culture of impunity, regional fight against “fake news,” child marriage grows as Lao economy suffers.

October 22, 2022
Southeast Asian governments are under the human rights radar

Hello Globe readers,

This week’s stories feature a regional trend in the fight against human rights violations. As Thailand carries on pressing charges under the controversial royal defamation law, Laos is facing major challenges in reducing high rates of child marriage as the country is on the verge of economic default. In the meantime, in Indonesia, readers and writers are ready to gather at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival and discuss the issue of misinformation and disinformation across Southeast Asia.

As the infamous Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code hit again, Sulakshana Lamubol, a Program Manager at Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, analyses how Thailand has been using this lèse-majesté law to crack down on its citizens. In just two years, more than 200 people have been charged under the controversial royal defamation law.

As we approach the end of October, writers and readers from across Southeast Asia are preparing for the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in Indonesia, where they will discuss key regional issues, including “fake news.” Globe’s Stew Post ran a Q&A with Prodita Sabarini, a media director, public communications trainer, and the publisher of non-profit news publication, ‘The Conversation Indonesia’ ahead of the festival. 

Meanwhile, in Laos, the government and local NGOs are striving to reduce high rates of child marriage as the country faces one of the worst economic crises in two decades. Globe’s Beatrice Siviero reports on the mental and physical consequences of young Lao girls who are forced into underage marriage and how the country is tackling the issue.  

Seven years after the enforced disappearance and killing of Karen land rights activist Porlajee “Billy” Rakchongcharoen, Thailand continues surfing the wave of impunity culture. That is despite the passing of the Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance Act last August, Pornpen Kongkachankiet from Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) writes. 

That’s all for this week. Enjoy the features.

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