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Thai academics have urged the UN to investigate human rights abuses as the Thai junta increases its crackdown on political dissidents ahead of the referendum on the draft constitution.

The BBC Thai reported that 12 academics from leading universities in Thailand on Thursday, 5 May 2016, submitted a letter to the UN, urging the UN human rights office to investigate the increasing violations and abuses of human rights done by the Thai authorities.

The letter was submitted to Laurent Meillan, officer in charge of the UN’s Human Rights Office for South-East Asia (OHCHR).

In the letter, the group states that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), the formal name of the Thai junta, has increasingly invoked its authorities under Section 44 of the Interim Charter and the NCPO’s orders No. 3/2015 or No. 13/2016 to arrest and prosecute political dissidents.

The academics pointed out to the recent case of the eight abducted junta critics who are charged with the Sedition Law and the Computer Crime Act as an example of the increasing political repression under the military regime.

Anusorn Unno, the dean of the Sociology and Anthropology Faculty of Thammasat University said that he hopes that the UN regional office will bring the case to the UN’s human rights office in Geneva, Switzerland, to come up with certain measures to pressure the Thai government.

“The issue that [we] want to bring to the government is the demand on the rights to freedom of expression of the people,” the BBC Thai quoted Anusorn as saying. “The measures [of the authorities] nowadays prevent people from expressing different opinions.”

Other academics of the group are Bencharat Sae-chua and Sriprapha Petcharamesree from Mahidol University, Aphichat Satitniramai and Pichit Likitkijsomboon from Thammasat University, Naruemon Tabjumphon and Prapas Pintoptang from Chulalongkorn University and Komkrit Uitekkeng from Silpakorn University.  

Anusorn hands the letter to the group to Laurent Meillan, officer in charge of the UN’s Human Rights Office for South-East Asia (OHCHR) on 5 May 2016 (courtesy of the BBC Thai)

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