Thai artists make a stand on human rights

BANGKOK (ANN): The Delegation of the European Union to Thailand joined up with Rights and Liberties Protection Department (RLPD) of the Thai Ministry of Justice to mark Human Rights Day on Dec 10 to put on a mixed media art exhibition to promote a constructive dialogue on human rights and human dignity.

“The Art of Human Rights” exhibition, which continues at Bangkok’s Yelo House gallery through Sunday (Dec 22), features 13 original creations by young award-winning Thai artists, Nakrob Moonmanas and Naraphat Sakarthornsap and reflect their perspectives on freedom of expression, freedom from slavery and forced labour, gender equality, children’s rights, freedom of religion, and the right to non-discrimination, among others.

By using the universal language of art to communicate the importance of human rights, the Delegation of the European Union and the RLPD aim to foster constructive engagement with a broad range of stakeholders on the universality of human rights.

“The principle that human dignity is inviolable and human rights are universal is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and all other international conventions and treaties on rights and freedoms, ” said Pirkka Tapiola, the EU’s ambassador to Thailand at last week’s opening.

“With this art exhibition, we hope to generate a constructive dialogue on the universality of human rights and on how to ensure that every person’s rights and dignity are equally respected.”

Past celebrations of Human Rights Day by the EU Delegation to Thailand in partnership with the RLPD included a campaign in 2015 to promote a dialogue on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, and the Run4Rights charity run in 2017. In 2016, the EU also organised a campaign to raise public awareness of the challenges of being urban refugees and stateless people, whose rights are often neglected.

“We hope to continue working with all our partners to promote the principle of Human Rights for All, ” added Mr Ruangsak Suwaree, director-general of the RLPD.

“The most significant task for us is to raise awareness beyond the centre of government – to all the regions, provinces and communities, in order to ensure that everyone is aware of their own rights and the need to respect the rights of others. Only with that knowledge will we be able to prevent and reduce human rights violations and generate sustainable harmony within society.”

Nakrob and Naraphat have used collage and installation techniques to echo the social and political discourse of their generation. Both have earned positive reviews from art followers and popular online media for their previous works touching on the subjects of LGBT rights, cultural rights and freedom of expression.

“An artist’s work reflects their observation of what goes on around them.

But, sometimes, their work can motivate actions and inspire positive change in society, ” said Nakrob, the Thailand winner of the 2012 Asean-Korea Multimedia Competition.

“The Art of Human Rights exhibition is our reflection on human rights issues. We hope it inspires people to feel the same way we feel about human rights and human dignity.”

“We thank the EU and the RLPD for giving us a platform to reflect on this important issue, ” added Naraphat, winner of the Young Thai Artist Award 2016.

“We hope our work will encourage more people to ask the question why human rights are the basic ingredient for human dignity and motivate them to respect the rights of others.” - The Nation/Asia News Network

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