Students across Asia petition the UN for day recognizing right to expression

Students from across the Asia Pacific region are petitioning the United Nations to establish a day which recognizes the right of young people to express themselves politically.

Students from Chulalongkorn University in Thailand began the petition to establish “The International Day for the Protection of Students’ Freedom of Expression” to coincide with the 45th anniversary of the October 6 massacre.

The October 6 massacre was carried about by the Thai state in 1976 with security forces killing unarmed student pro-democracy protesters on the grounds of Thammasat University.

“Despite the fact that the massacre took place and was recorded on film, and despite a photographic reportage that ended up being awarded the Pulitzer Prize, there has been no gesture of apology on the part of the state for the crimes that were committed in 1976,” Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, a student activist, wrote in the petition.

The petition, countersigned by dozens of parties from across the region, aims to establish a day in which the voices of young people and students are respected and recognized.

It should also “provide a venue for the remembrance of those who lost their lives and the various cases of brutality that have taken place in various academic institutions around the world ever since.”

The students points to ongoing violence against students in Thailand, Hong Kong, Myanmar and beyond.

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