Buddhist clerical sexual abuse in the Netherlands


This video from Thailand, with English subtitles, says about itself:

2 March 2014

Protection of Children’s Rights Foundation (Thailand) produced this video to campaign for laws against possessing child sexual abuse material and raising awareness of foreigners arrested in Thailand for child sex abuse jumping bail.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Sexual abuse among Buddhists in Netherlands

Today, 15:56

By NOS-Net editor Bas de Vries

Buddhist monks and teachers in the Netherlands have been guilty in recent decades of sexual abuse of students, both men and women. In some cases the victims were minors. There are abuse scandals in, eg, Waalwijk, Middelburg and Makkinga (Friesland province).

People have been silent about the abuse for decades in some cases. But after the scandals in the Catholic Church now victims of abuse by Buddhist leaders are telling their stories.

Thai monk

In recent months, the NOS spoke together with Buddhism scholar Rob Hogendoorn, among others with three victims of a Thai monk who after his arrival in the Netherlands in the 1970s for at least twenty years abused young men or attempted to do so.

This Mettavihari, according to those involved, in the early 1980s had to leave his temple in Waalwijk. The reason is said to have been a message to the police about the molestation of a minor.

Earlier this month a number of Mettavihari’s former followers decided, after a silence of decades, to speak out about “repeated inappropriate behavior”. Their statement shows that they already known this for decades. The reason to speak out now, according to them, is that their recent own research showed that the abuse was worse than they thought until now.

Scandals

This affair of Mettavihari, deceased in 2007, does not stand alone. The NOS also investigated two other major scandals involving teachers abusing their dominant position with respect to often very vulnerable students. In both cases, the people involved went to the police, but ultimately did not lodge official complaints. Those issues were in various places.

– A Buddhist center in Middelburg, where ‘Kelsang Chöpel’ (the Austrian Gerhard Mattioli) was guilty in the period 2001-2008 of harassment and sexual abuse of female students. In minutes of the Buddhist Union of the Netherlands (BUN) the former president spoke of “a self-proclaimed lama (teacher) who in a horrible way has wreaked havoc.” The BUN sent several people to speak with the victims and gave no further publicity to the scandal.

– A monastery in the Frisian Makkinga. End of 2001, ‘Dhammawiranatha’ (then again Pierre Krul from Den Haag) resigned as a monk after he was confronted with the many sexual relationships he had entered with women. Also in this case the people involved appealed to the BUN. A board member noted: “The stories were truly staggering: brainwashing, instigation, ruining financially, sexual relationships with (usually mentally dependent) women, but also with very young, underage girls.” This issue is the only one which made it to the press. The website of his organization gives the impression that Krul in any case last year was still active as a teacher.

Also very recently, there were cases of abuse in Buddhist circles. The Buddhist teacher Frank Uyttebroeck reports that since 2010 at least five other people who were abused by five different teachers, have sought help from him. Two of them were so traumatized that he referred them to the medical community. He does not mention the names of these teachers, in his own words because he had pledged that to the victims.

Culture of silence

The victims who are willing to come out think the time is now to end the culture of silence, as has happened in the Catholic Church. They cite the example of the United States, where hundreds of Zen teachers last January published an open letter in which they offered their apologies for their “collective failure” in the fight against abuse.

Professor of practical theology Ruard Ganzevoort, specializing in religion and trauma, is not surprised that now among the Buddhists this problem is surfacing. “You can see in every religious tradition that if you bring vulnerable people in contact with people reputed to have much authority, with too little oversight, abuse will occur.”

Codes of conduct

Most Buddhist organizations in the Netherlands are now beginning to think about measures to stop sexual abuse in their own circles and to help victims better. After questions by the NOS about this the executive of the Buddhist Union in the Netherlands recently sent an appeal to the more than forty affiliated centers.

In it, the BUN, the contact point of the Dutch government for the 50,000 to 65,000 Buddhists in the Netherlands, poins out the importance of precautions. “For example, through confidants, codes of conduct or otherwise.” The administration warns individual Buddhists “to orientate well and think” before they join a particular organization or teacher.

“I want to particularly say this to make it clear that you should act immediately if something is wrong,” said Patrick Franssen, who was abused in the 1970s from his 19th year in his own words forty to fifty times by Mettavihari. “You have to stop it early, otherwise even worse things will happen. And do not be afraid of negative publicity. Buddhism can take criticism, it is much larger than these issues.”

The Dalai Lama and sexual abuse among Buddhists: here.

Thai military dictator threatens to kill critical journalists


This video says about itself:

Thai PM Prayuth Chan-ocha Warns Reporters

25 March 2015

BANGKOK: Thai junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha lashed out at journalists today, saying he would “probably just execute” those who did “not report the truth”, in the latest outburst aimed at Thailand’s media.

Last month Mr Prayuth said he had the power to shut down news outlets. Today, he took an even harsher line.

“We’ll probably just execute them,” said Mr Prayuth, without a trace of a smile, when asked by reporters how the government would deal with those that do not adhere to the official line.

During the Vietnam war, there was a military dictatorship in Thailand. That dictatorship were allies of the Pentagon and the ‘free world’ against ‘atheist communism’.

Now, in 2015, the Warsaw pact and the Soviet Union have ceased to exist decades ago.

Again, there is a military dictatorship in Thailand. That dictatorship are allies of the Pentagon and the ‘free world’ against … against whom? Against the 99% of people becoming to critical of the richest 1%?

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Leader of Thai junta threatens to ‘execute’ journalists who ‘do not tell the truth’

Prayuth Chan-ocha issued a stark warning to reporters who prove problematic for the Government

Heather Saul

Wednesday 25 March 2015

The leader of the Thai junta has threatened to execute journalists who “did not tell the truth” in shocking comments aimed at Thailand’s media.

Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters, “we’ll probably just execute them,” when he was asked how the Government would deal with journalists and media outlets that did not adhere to the official line, according to Reuters.

The news agency claims he made the menacing remarks on Wednesday without “a trace of a smile”.

Prayuth leads the National Council for Peace and Order which deposed the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in a coup last May following months of protests.

The coup saw Thailand placed under martial law, giving the army full control over citizens, the way the country is run and providing the junta with sweepings powers over arrest and detention.

Prayuth has lead a crack-down on dissenters and claims Thailand is still not ready for martial law to be lifted.

In January, the junta forced a German foundation to cancel a forum on press freedom. Prayuth was particularly critical of the Thai-language Matichon daily newspaper, accusing the paper of siding with ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his allies.

“Don’t think I don’t know that your writing is pro the previous administration,” he was quoted as telling a Matichon reporter. “The previous Interior Ministry bought many advertising spaces from you.”

THAI army-installed Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said yesterday that he planned to lift martial law but bring in a measure his opponents dub the “dictator law”: here.

Last month Thailand’s dictator, former general Prayuth Chan-ocha, announced the lifting of martial law, which was imposed in May 2014 shortly before the army seized power in a coup. Far from restoring democratic rights, however, the US-backed junta has activated article 44 of its interim constitution, which gives unlimited powers to Prayuth: here.

A draft constitution drawn up by Thailand’s military junta, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), was released to the media last month. It confirms that the US-backed regime, which seized power in a coup in May 2014, intends to stay in control indefinitely, despite proposing to hold elections next year: here.

Thai environmentalists pay for activism with their lives: here.

Thai dictatorship jails theatre makers for play


This video says about itself:

29 December 2014

Two Thai students have admitted insulting royalty in a play they performed about a 1973 uprising.

Patiwat Saraiyaem, 23, and Pornthip Munkong, 25, face up to 15 years in jail under lese majeste laws, which protect the royals from any insults.

The play called Wolf Bride featured a fictional king and his advisor.

Thailand’s lese majeste laws are the world’s strictest, but critics say they are often used to settle personal rows or silence political opposition.

The play was performed at Bangkok‘s Thammasat University in October 2013, but the pair were not arrested until August this year.

Both students have been denied bail, and have been held in custody since their arrest.

Several other people involved with the performance are also facing charges.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Two Thais jailed for ‘insulting’ royal family in university play

Activists sentenced to two and half years in jail as the junta intensifies its crackdown on slurs against the royals under controversial lese majeste law

Monday 23 February 2015 01.08 GMT

Two young Thais accused of insulting the monarchy in a university play were jailed for two and a half years on Monday as the ruling junta intensifies its crackdown on perceived royal slurs under the kingdom’s controversial lese majeste law.

Patiwat Saraiyaem, 23, and Porntip Mankong, 26, were sentenced after admitting defamation after their arrest last August, nearly a year after The Wolf Bride, a satire set in a fictional kingdom, was performed at Bangkok’s Thammasat University.

The pair were originally sentenced to five years in prison each but the term was reduced to two years and six months due to their confessions, said a judge at Ratchada Criminal Court in Bangkok.

“The court considers their role in the play caused serious damage to the monarchy and sees no reason to suspend their sentences,” he said.

They were each charged with one count of lese majeste linked to the play, which marked the 40th anniversary of a pro-democracy student protest at the university that was crushed by the military regime in October 1973.

Police are hunting for at least six others involved in the performance for allegedly violating “112” – the feared section of the Thai criminal code which carries up to 15 years in jail for each count of insulting the king, queen, heir or regent.

Of those on the wanted list, at least two have fled Thailand, joining dozens of academics, activists and political opponents of the coup in self-exile amid a surge in royal defamation cases since the military seized power in May.

Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 87, is revered by many in the country as a demi-god and shielded by one of the world’s most draconian royal defamation laws.

The Paris-based International Federation of Human Rights said at least 40 people have been arrested since the coup – seven of them have already been sentenced to between three and 15 years in prison.

Rights activists as well as local and international media are forced to censor discussion of cases as even repeating details of charges risks breaking the law.

Under junta rule Thailand has seen a rapid deterioration in civil rights with the military crushing any criticsm of the coup from banning protests and censoring the media to arresting and detaining opponents.

The Wolf Bride was performed in October 2013, several months before the coup, but the case is just one of many driven through by the junta, which is bolstering its self-designated role as protector of the monarchy.

Critics say the lese majeste law has been used as a tool to suppress political dissent, noting that many of those charged have been linked to the opposition Red Shirt movement.

Before the ruling, Andrea Giorgetta from FIDH said the surge in lese majeste cases looked set to continue.

“We’re expecting a lot more people to go to jail in the next month. Almost all cases have been backdated (for alleged offences) before the coup,” he told AFP. “It’s a very grim situation for rights in Thailand.”

Recent 112 convictions include a taxi driver jailed for two-and-a-half years after his passenger recorded their conversation on a mobile phone, while a student, 24, was sentenced to the same period of time for defaming the monarchy in a message posted on Facebook.

Analysts say the most recent chapter of Thailand’s long-drawn political turmoil is fuelled by anxieties over who will run the country when the more than six-decade reign of the ailing king, the world’s longest-serving monarch, eventually ends.

Discussion on succession is also restricted in Thailand under the lese majeste law.