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Copyright (c) 2012 Indiana University School of Law
Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies

ARTICLE: Vertical and Horizontal Perspectives on Rights Consciousness

Summer, 2012

Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies

19 Ind. J. Global Leg. Stud. 423


David M. Engel*



Nearly one hour's drive from the city of Chiangmai in northern Thailand stands a small schoolhouse in a village surrounded by rice fields and longan orchards. Longan, known in Thai as lamyai, are a delectable fruit, similar to the lychee, and the villagers have found ready markets for their products throughout Thailand even during bad economic times. Despite the popularity of locally grown lamyai, youth in increasing numbers have left this village for the city, and many adults have sought wage labor far from the community in which they were born. Several years ago, as the student population dwindled, the school was closed and the children were sent to classes in a nearby town. Villagers still use the schoolhouse from time to time as a meeting center.

One December day several years ago, I traveled to this schoolhouse with a group of Thai graduate students to practice their interview skills in a class on rights consciousness. 1 As the students dispersed with village volunteers in small interview groups seated on chairs and benches in the schoolyard, a poster on the wall of the old school building caught my eye. Entitled Rights of Children, it had apparently been sent to thousands of primary schools by Thailand's Ministry of Social Development and Human Security. The poster featured colorful cartoons of Thai children and adults, and beneath each cartoon a short statement summarized the rights that every child holds. These included the right to an education, the right to health, the ...
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