'Netiwit' rejects Human Rights Youth Award from National Human Rights Commission

Netiwit Chotipatpaisal, a M.5 student who has led a national campaign against compulsory haircuts in school since last year, has rejected his nomination for a National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) award, stating that he doubts whether the NHRC really takes the human rights issues seriously. 
 
The National Human Rights Commission last week decided to nominate Netiwit or ‘Frank’ for its Human Rights Youth Award for his role in the Thailand Educational Revolution Alliance which has successfully advocated changes in the law after months of campaigning for reform in Thai schools.
 
He said judging from the past role of the NHRC in the 2010 political violence as well as its role in protecting rights to political expression, he doubted whether the NHRC is sincere in its role in protecting human rights. 
 

Netiwit Chotipatpaisal or 'Frank'
 
“I’m not sure how many persons in the current Human Rights Commission who are actually working, sincerely care about victims of violations of human rights,” he said in an open letter to the NHRC. 
 
“In the case of the April-May 2010 violence, it seems like the Commission barely cared, even though they’re also citizens. Not to mention about state violations of freedom of thought,” said Netwit. 
 
The 17-year-old boy has spoken out against oppressive rules in Thai schools, and joined university student groups to call on the Ministry of Education to reform its curriculum to be more transparent and conducive to more critical thinking. He also planned to fight to revoke the discourse of “Thainess” whose use by teachers, he said, was prevalent in schools. 
 
Netiwit, a student from Nawaminthrachinuthit Triam Udomsuksa Pattanakarn School, suggested that Tai Prueksakasemsuk, son of Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, a red shirt activist who was imprisoned for 10 years for lèse majesté, should receive this award either on behalf of his father or as a youth fighting for human rights. 
 
“If [the Commission] could do that, it would be redemption for the NHRC and an apology for its past neglect of the right to the freedom to speak, publish and write,” he stated.