Children’s Day But Are Their Rights Respected?

Celebrating Children’s Day in Thailand is a mixed bag of contradiction, with yearly repeats of military might against a backdrop of Thai children. Uniformity, the high expectations of the ruling army generals, of their children and those who call the land of smiles their home.

Delayed flights, annoyed travellers and tourists, all stuck at the Don Muang international airport, as airlines were forced to delay their journey. The air force was busy with their aerial shows, to the gasps of urbanites in Bangkok, and the applauding officers who seem to be vastly impressed. They would say, all for the children, I am sure.

And then there’s this issue of recognition of children as subjects of rights. Is Thailand aware of its non-performance within the framework of the rights of the child? The right to be listened to and taken seriously. Their right to freedom of expression, and the right to education that promotes democracy and human rights. But then again, that’s all forgotten under the junta and the ultra right-wing.

After all, children are best seen but not heard, particularly marginalized children, who are ostracised because they are poor, living in the slum, working in the rubber plantation, detained in refugee camps, homeless, without identity or simply because of their non-conformist ways.

So how now?

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