The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 raises the problem of how the concept of human rights are compatible with the cultures and practices of those civilizations where the concept has not taken a firm root. The concept of human rights, as expressed in the UN Declaration, is regarded as alien, or as an imposition of foreign, namely Western, powers on the lives and minds of non-Western people whose cultural development does not go alon~ the same path trodden by the West. In the case of Thailand (formerly Siam), which was not directly colonized by any Western powers, the concept is also generally regarded as foreign, and the Thai word for human rights - Sitthi Manussayachon - still rings an unfamiliar sound. For most Thais, the word simply conjures up the image of someone who disregard the traditional. pattern of compromise and harmonization of social relations; someone, that is, who is quite out of touch with the traditional Thai mores.