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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.