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CrCF statement: Academic Freedom of Mahidol University’s Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies (IHRP) must be protected



Released on 27 February 2017


Academic Freedom of Mahidol University’s Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies (IHRP) must be protected


On 25 February 2017, Mahidol University’s Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies issued a statement on the exercise of power under Section 44 of the Interim Constitution of 2014, Amendment (No. 4) B.E. 2560 (2017). The statement said that only for the month of February, the National Council of Peace and Order (NCPO) had under Section 44 issued ten announcements or orders superior to the laws promulgated by the parliament, which is redundant, an exercise of absolute power, and unaligned with the rule of law. Hence it calls for the NCPO to cease its exercise of Section 44.  Later on 26 February 2017, Mahidol University released a new statement claiming that the IHRP’s statement was an act of arrogation committed by a group of people and not for the sake of academic freedom, therefore, it’ll conduct an investigation against the people behind the statement issuance.


In CrCF’s opinion, Mahidol University’s IHRP is an academic institution with a significant role in promoting and developing knowledge of the situations of human rights and peace in Thai society, and such procedure cannot be done without being in connection with the situation in the country. This specifically concerns the NCPO’s ruling with an absolute power, and the NCPO’s announcements and orders of which have an impact on the fundamental principles of human rights and the rule of law, both in the present and in the long run.


Thus, the statement released by the IHRP is an act committed in compliance with its academic obligations and academic freedom and it does not have to comply with the belief and opinion of the University’s board, any authority or scholar. Meanwhile, Mahidol University’s board has the same right to express an opinion opposing the statement of the IHRP, or an opinion in favor of the NCPO’s use of Section 44 without taking any disciplinary procedure.


CrCF has agreed that all parties shall accept the opposite views on wisdom and ideas. As individuals and academic institutions have various kinds of information and knowledge is an innumerable benefaction to Thai society that creates a well-rounded non-biased way of thinking. Also, this will prevent such thoughts concerning that the different opinion would encourage the wrongdoers to utilize it as a political tool since the released statement didn’t have the intention of supporting any current act in violation of the laws.


CrCF urges the Mahidol University’s board to review any act of oppression of academic freedom, and to drop the disciplinary procedure against any individuals at IHRP involved with issuance of the statement.


Released on 27 February 2017



Download: 2017_02_27_academic-freedom-must-be-protected_-mahidol-uni