Previously, in all aspects of Thailand’s development, the youth participation in a meaningful way, which is a major force, has always been neglected by adults, both at the decision-making and operational levels. Although efforts have been made to hear “the youth’s voice” in various forums on the country’s national reform, these voices are still faintly heard and could not catch any serious attention.

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Previously, in all aspects of Thailand’s development, the youth participation in a meaningful way, which is a major force, has always been neglected by adults, both at the decision-making and operational levels. Although efforts have been made to hear “the youth’s voice” in various forums on the country’s national reform, these voices are still faintly heard and could not catch any serious attention.

For this reason, 3C4TEEN Platform for Positive Sexuality of Young People under the Thai Volunteer Service Foundation (TVS), funded by the awarded grant from UNFPA Thailand, has arranged the 1st Forum for Youth Rights, with the theme of “Engaging Young Activists in Social Change.” On November 20-22, 2015 at The Ambassador Hotel Bangkok, groups of young people who want to play a part in changing Thai society participated in this workshop, a gathering to make sure their voices will be clearly heard.

The 70 participants were from 17 groups of young advocates from across the country who are currently working on 6 issues: education, creating children and youth participation, politics and human rights, out-of-school children, environment and community rights, and gender role and equality. They came together to review the lessons learned from their past works in their own communities and to propose policies to pave the way to create the real social change. Suggestions can be concluded as follows:

Education:

To cooperate with parents, community, education personnel, and a diverse group of organizations on educational administration, in terms of model concepts and work procedures in education design to achieve the curriculum and programs that are: wide open; appropriate for individual learners according to their aptitudes; learner-centered; increasing self awareness and self esteem; appreciating values that are local context oriented; and, bringing about new values in education.

The Children and Youth Council of Thailand:

  • To see a city that is child-and-youth-friendly where they can live happily in the society;
  • To have a situation where children and young people can have the freedom to work, in terms of both policy-making and implementation, from the provincial to national levels, with the Children and Youth Council as an intermediary between the state agencies and the children and the youth;
  • To call for a set up of provincial children and youth center in all provinces;
  • To obtain a provision of welfares to the Children and Youth Council, e.g. life insurance; and,
  • To receive an allocation of budget to support the Children and Youth Council continuously.

Politics and Human Rights:

  • The army to be under the civilian government and the conscription to be canceled;
  • The institution to be under the Constitution and the Privy Council and Section 112 to be canceled;
  • Provinces to be under self-administration and the State to be decentralized while citizens to determine their own political rights;
  • In terms of justice system, civilians not to be subject to enforcement of military jurisdiction;
  • Human rights to be integrated into school curriculum and instruction; and,
  • Independent Regulatory Agencies’ works to be closely linked to the people.

Environment and Community Rights:

  • Provincial/Local administrative organizations to have full authority in environment and community management;
  • The provincial governors to be elected by the people;
  • The authentic local curriculum for local community to be integrated into school curriculum;
  • The State to disclose information that are factual and well-rounded with an accountability;
  • The State to implement both the social and economic development at the same time, as well as to balance human needs with environmental conservation; and,
  • The relevant agencies to be engaged in the local development.

Quality of Life of Out-of-School Children:

  • To provide the children with a creative platform to develop their own learning process so that they can initiate the changes by their own potential; and,
  • To develop the children-and-youth-appropriate education system to reduce disparities between the rich and the poor.

The Promotion of Gender Equity and Equality:

  • To provide educational and work opportunities to keep adolescents with unintended pregnancy in schools, preventing the stigmatization leading to a school dropout;
  • The Ministry of Education to integrate the comprehensive sexuality education program into the national basic education curriculum;
  • To ensure that each school has a To Be Number One Friend Corner to provide sex counseling to the youth in the schools;
  • To strengthen the youth’s immunity with media literacy; and,
  • To coin new terminology and definition used to refer to the target groups working on gender and sexuality to prevent the stigmatization on the target groups by initiating the national agenda for new terminology and a campaign to change the address terms.
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