Thai Student Activist Says Military Junta Is Monitoring Her Actions


Screenshot of Nattanan Warinarawet during her interview with the author.

As the military junta ruling Thailand places greater restrictions on free assembly and expression and threatens more punitive measures, student activists are increasingly speaking out — using social media tools to communicate with the world.  

The junta has imposed a new set of rules on the country's education system. Dissent is prohibited on campus. Memorization of the “12 Values” — a core group of statements that focus on deference to authority and “correct democracy” — is mandatory. The junta has also required removing references to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in all history text books. 

Nattanan Warinarawet is the 17-year old secretary-general of a group called Education for Liberation of Siam. Since speaking out against the mandatory implementation of “12 Values” into Thai education curricula, Warintarawet has been informed that the military junta tracks her movements and actions through her teachers. Despite the risk involved, Warintarawet spoke with Global Voices Online contributors about her experience.

“I couldn't believe that the thing that I did, just stating my opinions, just sharing my voice about the 12 values, would cause the military junta to monitor my actions,” she said.

Right now in the junta regime, anything could happen, but I still have hope and I think it has a positive effect on my life. I feel empowered by this. I feel like even a girl like me can make a huge change. I am motivated to fight for freedom of expression even more because right now I am aware of how important this is.

Watch the rest of her interview below:


  • Tony

    Why are students opposed to these 12 values which include honesty, hard work, and mutual respect for others? Oh yeah, that’s right! These are supporters of ousted mass murderer and dictator Thaksin Shinawatra who put to death 3,000 innocent human beings in 2003 under the guise of a “drug war,” and another 80+ unarmed protesters the following year in a single day for having the audacity to oppose his vicious policies in Thailand’s far south.

    These aren’t students – they are Shinawatra’s red shirts still trying to stir division, violence, and chaos in Thai society. All they are doing now is reminding us all how lucky we are to finally be rid of their corrupt, criminal, murderous political order. Why didn’t “Khun Somchai” who wrote this not also have an entry on Global Voices about how the red shirts persecuted homosexuals in their northern stronghold of Chiang Mai?

  • Roy Anderson

    Tony is lying in support of the illegal military junta that is persecuting all dissenters. Thaksin was NEVER prossecuted for the war on drugs as stupidly he obeyed orders from above. The figure often quoted of 3000+ deaths in the war on drugs includes all sorts of crimes against the person and not only from the police.
    Yes I support the red shirts but not Thaksin.
    Tony, stop being a sop to the generals and if you want to criticize anyone then criticize the illegal coupsters who are much more corrupt than Thaksin ever was.

  • Hamptons

    Roy Anderson, the crimes of Thaksin’s “war on drugs” were well documented by Human Rights Watch, who wrote in their report:

    “In February 2003, the Thai government, under then Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, launched a ‘war on drugs’, purportedly aimed at the suppression of drug trafficking and the prevention of drug use. In fact, a major outcome of this policy was arbitrary killings. In the first three months of the campaign there were some 2800 extrajudicial killings. In 2007, an official investigation found that more than half of those killed had no connection whatsoever to drugs.”

    The red shirts are also on record as committing atrocious human rights violations. In their 2010 uprising, they employed heavily armed “black shirt” provocateurs to execute security personnel and political opponents. In the words of Human Rights Watch:

    “…Human Rights Watch’s research, including extensive interviews with UDD [red shirt] leaders and protesters, found that UDD claims to be a peaceful mass mobilization were undermined by the presence of highly skilled and deadly armed groups, including the “Black Shirts,” who were responsible for a number of attacks against soldiers and civilians…”

    Thailand’s security forces would be outright negligent if they did not keep groups responsible for such violence under surveillance.

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