Rung, Thailand

Asked to describe herself, Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, says she’s “humble and quiet”. The student and amateur violinist was once shy, but today she’s a leading voice in Thailand’s youth democracy movement.

Rung – which means “rainbow” in Thai – became politically active while studying sociology and anthropology at university in the capital, Bangkok. She bravely took part in protests for social and political change throughout 2020. By August, she had become a protest leader. Watched by thousands, Rung called for equality, freedom of expression and – what is a highly sensitive topic in Thailand – the reform of the monarchy. This unprecedented act propelled her onto the national stage and the authorities branded her a troublemaker.

Rung continued to lead protests for constitutional and social reform. Accused of provoking unrest, she was arrested in March under a lèse-majesté law that outlaws criticism of the monarchy. She was imprisoned for 60 days during which she was diagnosed with Covid-19. The authorities denied her bail six times. In defiance, she went on a 38-day hunger strike and was released on 30 April 2021.

Rung faces dozens of charges against her and, if found guilty, life imprisonment. “Once you step into the prison; you will no longer feel that your humanity is still intact,” she says.

  1. Write to the Prime Minister of Thailand

Write your own letter or use the sample letter below.


Dear Prime Minister,

Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul is a promising university student who, like many other young people, has been peacefully protesting

as part of Thailand’s democracy movement. She and her peers are campaigning for a society where public concerns are heard and acted upon – not silenced. Because Panusaya dared to publicly and peacefully call for change, she faces multiple criminal charges against her and the possibility of life in prison. The Thai authorities need to encourage and enable all people in Thailand to enjoy and exercise their human rights, including peaceful protest. I urge you to drop all criminal charges against Panusaya.

Yours sincerely...

Address your letter to...

Prime Minister of Thailand

The Office of the Permanent Secretary

Government House

1 Nakhon Pathom Road

Dusit,

Bangkok 10300

Thailand

Add a stamp and post your letter.

2. Send a message of solidarity Rung

Help Rung keep her spirit strong

Send her your message of solidarity and hope.

Draw pictures of rainbows (Rung’s name means “rainbow”) to accompany your message, take a photo, and post it to your social media, tagging Rung when you do.

Then, mail your message to the address further below. Don’t forget to follow her!

FACEBOOK:

www.facebook.com/panusaya.sithijirawattanakul

TWITTER:

@PanusayaS

INSTAGRAM:

@overttherainbow

Send written messages to:

Amnesty International Thailand

139/21, Soi Lat Phrao 5

Chom Phon, Chatuchak

Bangkok 10900

Thailand

Thank you.