On March 9, 2023, Human Rights Watch, Open Net, and over 50 Thai and international civil society groups sent joint letters to 25 of Thailand’s democratic allies and trading partners, urging governments to raise concerns with Thai leaders on the fairness of the upcoming elections in May, citing especially the freedom of speech.
Among other things, the Election Commission prohibits any references to the monarchy in election campaigns and has threatened to dissolve parties and prosecute party executives and candidates for any violation of this prohibition. In November 2021, the Constitutional Court ruled that criticizing the monarchy will be considered an act of treason.
Concerned governments should urge Thai authorities to release from detention and drop charges against political party members and supporters, human rights defenders, journalists, and pro-democracy activists detained for the peaceful exercise of their civil and political rights. The authorities should also end censorship of the media and allow freedom of speech, including by repealing or imposing moratoriums on the abusive lese majeste (insulting the monarchy) law, the computer crimes act, and sedition law.