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THAILAND - Students learn respect for others' human rights Print

THAILAND - Students learn respect for others’ human rights

Students  learn respect for others’ human rights thumbnail
High school students learn to respect the rights of others during a Church-run camp

RAYONG, Thailand (UCAN) — High-school students who attended a Church-run human rights camp say they plan to spread awareness of the need to respect people’s rights in their schools and communities.

“I have learnt to respect the rights of others, and will apply this knowledge in my school as I’m a member of the students’ committee,” said Apiwat Numbanthueng, an 11th grader who attended the Human Rights Youth Camp organized by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace.

His fellow participant, Supatra Chomsarn, a 12th-grade student, echoed his views. “This camp was very useful for me; I have learnt to respect others’ rights … I will share this knowledge with my friends,” she said.

Apiwat and Supatra were among 37 students from 12 government and five Catholic schools who attended the March 15-18 camp held at Khao Laem Ya National Park in Rayong province.

According to Patipat Paithrakulpong, a member of the commission, his organization has been organizing two such camps a year since 2007.

“Most of the capacity building activities in secondary schools” such as science and English camps, “are focused on academic subjects,” says commission coordinator Achara Somsaengsuang.

“There are inadequate activities that provide knowledge and experience in social areas … [such as] justice and peace issues,” she told UCA News.

Learning about issues that communities face

The Human Rights Youth Camp is thus organized to raise awareness among young people of human rights violations in Thai society.

During the recent camp, participants visited an agricultural community and learned how members were determined to fight the negative aspects of capitalism.

The community here had decided to stop using chemical fertilizers and herbicides, and used natural ones instead. This not only reduced the community’s expenses, it also helped them exercise their right of running their community the way they wanted to.

The students also learned about other basic human rights during the camp, including the rights of children, women and prisoners through group activities.

Patipat said that in previous camps, students visited communities facing problems from coal-powered power plants and other industrial issues.

“We are able to see the change in young people,” after attending these camps, said Achara. “Many of them, when they return to school, organize human rights exhibitions and speak about human rights abuses through their school radio … Many of them go on to study in related fields such as political science and law.”

She added that the youth camp helps give participants an understanding of what it means to be a “quality citizen.”

“This is a need in Thai society now,” she said.


 From: http://www.ucanews.com

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