Symposium in pursuit of justice and basic freedoms under repressive conditions: exploring the potential of researcher-activist collaborations

On May 29-30, 2024, the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies, in partnership with the Danish Institute Against Torture (DIGNITY), hosted an international symposium titled “In Pursuit of Justice and Basic Freedoms under Repressive Conditions: Exploring the Potential of Researcher-Activist Collaborations.” The event, held at Mahidol University’s Salaya campus, featured opening remarks by Dr. Bencharat Sae Chua, Deputy Director of Administration, and keynote speech by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Khoo Ying Hooi, a visiting scholar at IHRP.

The Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies and DIGNITY co-organized this symposium to explore the nexus between research and activisms in protecting and promoting fundamental rights and justice under repressive regimes. The gathering provided a secure environment for human rights researchers, academics, and activists to exchange insights and explore potential collaborations.

The symposium addressed the repressive contexts in which researchers and activists operate, strategies for creative resistance, and methods of care and resilience. Participants from across Southeast Asia shared their personal and professional experiences of working for human rights under “Asian-style of Democracy” where democratic elections are compromised and human rights values are undermined. The participants highlighted common challenges, including prosecutions, detention, state surveillance, and privacy violations. The symposium emphasized that collaboration between researchers and activists can foster more impactful, evidence-based efforts, enhancing understanding and empathy for those affected by human rights abuses.

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