Winds of Change
This month scenes of protests in Thailand were broadcast around the world, with people taking to the streets in largely peaceful demonstrations. Many of the protestors were students and youths seeking to challenge the establishment and exercise their democratic rights.
Initially the protests were organised by a group called the ‘Bad Students’ seeking reform the education system and call for an end to all forms of harassment against students, including corporal punishment. However, the protests have since snowballed into a much bigger movement with many other groups bringing grievances against the government and in some cases, the monarchy. Leaving the reasons for the protests to one side, Childline is most concerned about the safety of youths attending the rallies and how they should be treated if they are arrested by police.
By law, if someone is under 18 they must have a lawyer present immediately after their arrest. During the protests Childline shared this information and other updates on social media, reminding youths to stay safe. Around 80 protestors have been arrested to date, in an apparent contravention of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Thailand ratified in 1996 and protects the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
The protests have gained global support and with the power of social media, youth groups are determined to bring about winds of change.