On Friday, 22 October 2010, a two-part workshop titled “On the Brink: Human Rights in Thailand” was held at the Australian National University in Canberra.

Australian, Thai and other scholars, students, and community members gathered to talk about the present crisis for human rights in Thailand, as well as its historical origins in particular forms of sovereignty and illiberalism. Amidst the crisis, the panelists talked about the risks of uttering dissenting speech and considered various repressive mechanisms within Thailand. The reason why the event was called ‘On the Brink’ is that the future of rights in Thailand is anything but decided. The use of human rights discourse by a range of actors means that this is a very intriguing time. Instead of ‘rights’ being dismissed by the state, ‘rights’ are another terrain in which the state and the people – and the permutations and articulations between them – are battling for dominance and the determination of truth.

Introduction and Panel 1, which includes:

  • Andrew Walker and Nicholas Farrelly, “International Academics and Human Rights in Thailand: Reflections from New Mandala” (listen here).

Panel 2, which includes:

  • Craig Reynolds, “Crimes Against the Sovereign Body”
  • Thanet Aphornsuvan, “The il-liberalism of Thai politics or the political ignorance of the bourgeoisie”
  • David Streckfuss, “Certain Inconvenient Realities and the Lese Majeste Law in Thailand” (listen here).

The public event was the first part of a longer process of building an international network of scholars, students, practitioners and others concerned with human rights in Thailand. Stay posted for further details in the coming weeks!