Human Rights and Human Development in Thailand

2000 Occasional Paper
By Muntarbhorn, Vitit

The roots of human rights can be found in Thai society, as elsewhere, in age-old traditions.1 Various religions prevalent in Thai society, including Buddhism, provide the moral and ethical underpinnings for the considerate treatment of human beings. The rise of Thailand as a nation state also attests to various origins of human rights. For example, in the Middle Ages during the Sukothai era, there was a royal stone inscription, which called for the humane treatment of prisoners of war and advocated the freedom to travel and to trade. At the pinnacle of society was the King, who could be called upon to render justice by the sounding of a bell by ordinary citizens at the royal palace.