CAHR continues to work on 3 related initiatives. Each of these initiatives is motivated by establishing an effective human-rights based approach (HRBA) in the design of the built environment. This is focused first on architecture and intended to fulfill CAHR’s mission statement and to improve our understanding of the HRBA.
- UNESCO Chair proposal
This initiative began with a conversation with Darryl Macer, then the UNESCO Bangkok Regional Adviser for Social and Human Sciences in Asia and the Pacific. Together with KMUTT we developed a proposal to establish a UNESCO Chair in human rights and community architecture. After the approval of the proposal by KMUTT and by the Thai UNESCO Commission, it was sent to UNESCO Paris. It was approved by Paris in the spring of 2016.
KMUTT, the host university, was not able to fulfill the agreement with UNESCO. As a result, CAHR has been searching for a university partner since the October of 2016. There are criteria necessary for a host university (here) and, in conjunction with the host university, funds would have to be raised to implement the education, research and building programmes. The original proposal is available here.
- UIA Work Programme proposal
In advance of the 2017 Seoul congress of the International Union of Architects (UIA), CAHR proposed to the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) – the Canadian organization having membership in the UIA – that it put forward a proposal to the UIA Council that a new Work Programme be established on architecture and human rights. The proposal is here. The RAIC has approved the proposal and CAHR is now recruiting volunteer architects from each of the 5 UIA regions. We hope to have the Work Programme approved by the UIA Council in time for the 2020 Congress in Rio.
- Mobile schools for construction camps
In 2008, together with KMUTT architecture students, we began working with migrant construction workers in camps in and around Bangkok. It was out of this work that a design was developed for a community building to provide daycare for their children and to provide a place for adult education. With funding from CAHR, the Canadian Embassy in Thailand, the Alberta Association of Architects and the international trade union, Building and Wood Worker’s International we built a bamboo school in Samut Prakan (see report here). The school is now being run by the Mercy Centre in Bangkok.
We are looking to building more schools/community centres for migrant construction workers and their families. The main obstacles we face with that is with the operation of the schools. We are considering a number of approaches to that now and are looking to fabricate a new design for a mobile school in 2019.