Chonthicha Jangrew (Lookkate)
Pro-democracy and human rights defender from Thailand
Photo by: Justice & Peace Netherlands
Lookate is a pro-democracy and human rights defender, student, and MP candidate from Thailand.
Currently, the royal defamation act, known as Lèse-majesté, punishes whoever defames, insults or threatens the monarchy with up to 15 years in prison. This means that any criticisms or calls for democracy by citizens are silenced.
This is why Lookkate fights for freedom of expression and the right to protest within civil society and politics. As the co-founder of the Democracy Restoration Group (DRG), she organizes peaceful protests. Beyond that, she pushes the agenda to reform the monarchy and to work towards the amendment of a law that ensures freedom of expression.
“We cannot just promote democracy and not talk about human rights. And we also cannot promote human rights and ignore democracy or political participation.”
In her work as an activist, she emphasizes the role of women to promote human rights and participate in politics. Despite great obstacles in her way, Lookkate thinks that everyone can be a human rights defender. She urges solidarity and awareness about issues in Thailand beyond being a holiday destination. People should inform themselves about different issues in the country and stand in solidarity in the Netherlands.
Through her participation in the Shelter City initiative, Lookkate was able to find some rest in Maastricht away from the difficult, stressful and dangerous environment in which she was living. Taking a break to recharge made a positive impact on her mental health and participating in protests in the city re-energized and motivated her to continue her work in Thailand.
Written by: Marie Theis, with the support of Chonthicha Jangrew (Lookkate) and Justice & Peace Netherlands