A Handbook for Freedom Enthusiasts in Thailand
Human rights defenders fight on several frontlines in Thailand: Freedom of expression is limited; the country is a hotspot of human trafficking and slave work. Despite government assurances, there is no or only slow progress.
One reason for the situation is a lack of knowledge. Many citizens in Thailand do not have an understanding of what human rights really mean and how they relate to their everyday life. Believing that education is crucial for change, Friedrich Naumann Foundation and Amnesty International (AI) jointly developed an in Thailand unprecedented handbook: Human Rights Humankind.
The publication promotes the fundamental principles of human rights and highlights the personal responsibility to defend them. It not only teaches humankind’s struggle for dignity but also offers practical advice on how to spread the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights today.
Written specifically for practitioners, the publication delivers an important contribution to human rights education in Thailand. Earlier books on the topic were intended for academics and scholars. “Those academic human rights handbooks tend to use difficult vocabulary that makes it difficult for practitioners to understand,” says Saksinee Amasiri, Amnesty International Coordinator.
Instead, FNF and AI reach down to the grassroots level. The book offers guidelines and instructions for activities such as workshops, exhibitions or educational role-plays. For example, the book describes a workshop in which participants slip into the role of a refugee to get an understanding for the desperate situation of displaced persons. These practical tools make it a rich source for teachers, activists and youth leaders.
Amnesty International approached FNF Thailand as the foundation is known for translating difficult content into comprehensive teaching material. The team already developed successful games promoting democracy and freedom. For the handbook, FNF Thailand and AI collected additional expertise from activists and scholars who shared their experiences in detail.
The authors of the book followed the ideal of Kofi Annan. The former Secretary-General of the United Nations demanded: "Human rights education is much more than a lesson in schools or a theme for a day; it is a process to equip people with the tools they need to live lives of security and dignity.” The handbook Human Rights Humankind will facilitate this much-needed process in Thailand in the next years.