List of abbreviations
Association of Southeast Asia Nations Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights
ASEAN Regional Forum
Chief Gender Equality Officers
Gender Focal Points
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Memorandum of Understanding
Ministry of Social Development and Human Security
National Statistical Office
Office of Women’s Affairs and Family Development
ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime
World Heritage Committee
1.Thailand acceded to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) on 9 August 1985, which has come into effect since 8 September 1985. To date, Thailand submitted five reports in 1987 (first report), 1997 (combined second and third reports) and 2002 (combined fourth and fifth reports). The present document is the combined sixth and seventh periodic report of the Royal Thai Government on the implementation of CEDAW, covering the period of 2003-2010. Recent developments are nonetheless included in the footnotes of this report.
Overall Progress and Challenges
2.Thailand has made serious efforts to implement its obligations under CEDAW, concluding comments and recommendations of the Committee. Dissemination of the Convention and encouragement all sectors to take actions according to CEDAW, its Optional Protocol and the Committee’s recommendations has been implemented. During the period of this report, Thailand has made significant progress in the elimination of discrimination against women. For example, the National Commission on Policy and Strategy for the Improvement of the Status of Women, chaired by the Prime Minister, was established. A number of legislative developments took place: the revision of Penal Code criminalizing marital rape; legal amendments concerning the right to choose one’s title and family name; and development of the draft Act on gender equality. More gender-sensitization programmes have been conducted among law enforcement officers. However, a number of challenges remain, including traditional attitudes and stereotypes, comprehensive sex-disaggregated data, and low participation of women in politics and decision-making positions. Thailand fully recognizes these challenges and is determined to address them, taking all possible legislative and practical measures.
3.At international level, under the leading and guidance of HRH Princess Bajarakitiyabha, Thailand has taken an active role in the global effort to the promotion and protection of the rights of women. In terms of ending violence against women, in 2008, HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha graciously accepted the role of UNIFEM (now the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women — UN-Women) Good Will Ambassador to lead the “Say NO to violence against women”. Her goodwill ambassadorship and personal credentials have lent unprecedented nationwide public awareness to end violence against women. With regard to the global effort, under the “Say NO to violence against women” campaign, to collect signatures of individuals supporting the elimination of violence against women, out of 5,066,549 signatures gathered around the world, 3,123,679 were generated in Thailand alone, demonstrating Thailand’s priority on this issue. Furthermore, Thailand contributed to the revision and formulation of prison and correctional facilities management policies for the treatment of female prisoners by introducing standards that take into account a gender perspective for female inmates to supplement the 1955 United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. The United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders or the Bangkok Rules, endorsed by the UN General Assembly at its 65th session. The Bangkok Rule is the first United Nations guidelines on the treatment of women prisoners, which serve as guidance for States in their work to improve internal laws and regulations pertaining to female inmates in correctional facilities.
Report Preparation Process
4.This report was prepared in accordance with the United Nations Compilation of Guideline on the Form and Content of Report to be submitted by States Parties to the International Human Rights Treaties (2008). Thailand places importance on the report preparation process, recognizing it as an opportunity to review progress made in this regard and to promote gender equality in the country. Also, Thailand takes a participatory approach, with involvement of all stakeholders. A working group for the report preparation was created and meetings were held to determine issues and framework of the report, with cooperation from government agencies, the civil society and the academic community. In addition, the workshop in cooperation with UNIFEM as well as two public fora was organized to encourage public participation in the process.
Article 1: The Definition of “Discrimination”
5.Article 30 of the Constitution of The Kingdom of Thailand B.E. 2550 (2007) stipulates against discrimination on various grounds including gender discrimination (Annex A).
6.As for the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee)’s recommendation that Thailand clearly defines direct and indirect discrimination against women, a new Act on gender equality has been drafted to protect persons from gender discrimination. The Act addresses substantive issues as follows: (1) the definition of gender discrimination; (2) the establishment of national committees to formulate policy and measures and to deliberate on acts of gender discrimination; (3) penalties; (4) compensation for victims; and (5) the fund for the promotion of gender equality.
Article 2: Policy Measures to Eliminate Discrimination
Rights and principles under the Constitution
7.In addition to Article 30, the Constitution guarantees the protection of women’s rights and gender equality, specifically in Articles 4, 5, 40 (6), 52 paragraph 2, 80 (1) and 82 (Annex A).
Mechanisms for the elimination of discrimination against women and the promotion of gender equality
8.In pursuant to Article 30 of the Constitution, mechanisms were set up to eliminate discrimination against women and to promote of gender equality at three levels:(1) parliamentary; (2) national; and (3) central, provincial and inter-agency networking.
Structure of mechanisms for promoting gender equality and women empowerment
Parliamentary MechanismSenate Committee on Social Development and Children, Youth, Women, the Elderly, the Disabled and the Underprivileged Affairs Committee on Children, Youth, Women, the Elderly and the Disabled, House of RepresentativesNational MechanismNational Commission on the Policyand Strategy for the Improvement ofStatus of WomenCoordinating mechanismOffice of Women’s Affairs and FamilyDevelopment (OWAFD), Ministry of Social Development and Human SecurityCentral, Provincial and Inter-agency Networking Central level:Chief Gender Equality Officers (CGEOs)Gender Focal Points (GFP)Provincial level: Office of Provincial Social Development and Human Security Inter-agency levelInternational organizations, NGOs, academics and the civil society
9.The Parliament of Thailand is a bicameral body, the Senate and the House of representative. The Parliamentary mechanism on gender equality are the Senate Committee on Social Development and Children, Youth, Women, the Elderly, the Disabled and the Underprivileged Affairs and Committee on Children, Youth, Women, Elderly and the Disabled of the House of Representatives. These committees are tasked with reviewing draft legislation, investigating or conducting studies on issues concerning children, youth, women, the elderly and people with disabilities, with cooperation from the civil society and international organizations. During 2003-2010, with a strong support of these Committees, the Parliament passed anti-discrimination and gender equality-related legislation, such as Domestic Violence Victims Protection Act B.E. 2550 (2007), the revision of Penal Code criminalizing marital rape, legal amendments concerning the right to choose one’s title and family name, among others.
10.National inter-agency cooperation on the promotion and the protection of women’s rights and gender equality, the National Commission on Policy and Strategy for the Improvement of the Status of Women, was established in 2008 by the Ministerial Regulation of the Office of the Prime Minister on the Promotion and Coordination of Women’s Affairs. The National Commission is chaired by the Prime Minister with the Minister of Social Development and Human Security as Deputy Chair. The Commission is a multi-stakeholder body, composed of high-level representative of government agencies, experts and the civil society. It is responsible for recommending to the Cabinet the policy and national plan for the promotion of women’s roles, legislative amendments and for monitoring and evaluating the plan.
11.The Office of Women’s Affairs and Family Development (OWAFD), Ministry of Social Development and Human Security (MSDHS) acts as a secretariat to the Commission. OWAFD is the coordinating body at the national level in formulating policies, guidelines, measures and mechanisms for women’s empowerment and promotion of gender equality and family development. In addition, the OWAFD coordinates with relevant government and non-governmental agencies to implement Thailand’s obligations under international women’s rights instruments.
12.Thailand wishes to respond to the concern of the CEDAW Committee that the relocation of the national mechanism for women’s affairs from Office of the Permanent Secretary, Prime Minister’s Office to the MSDHS may undermine the authority of the national machinery to carry out its gender mainstreaming efforts and coordination across all sectors. In fact, the former National Commission on Women’s Affairs was at a division level. While, the OWAFD is at a departmental level with more authority and budget. Moreover, the OWAFD has more flexibility and effectiveness in reaching out to women across the country, particularly at the regional level through provincial branches of the MSDHS in every province, details of which will be discussed below.
13.As of 2010, Chief Gender Equality Officers (CGEOs) and Gender Focal Points (GFPs) were established in 19 (out of 20) ministries, covering 131 agencies which can be broken down further into 127 departments and 4 independent agencies. All of these agencies have developed a master plan on the promotion of gender equality within their agencies.
14.Evaluation on the effectiveness of the CGEOs and GFPs was done annually by the OWAFD in order to learn from best practices and to improve the strategies of GFPs. The results show that during the period of 2004-2006, which was an initial stage of the establishment of CGEOs and GFPs, the functions of these mechanisms were confined to gender equality promotion for staff of the agencies, such as setting up a day care centre and conducting gender sensitization training for staff. From 2006 onwards, CGEOs and GFPs have taken a more proactive approach by integrating a gender perspective into their programmes and projects. Outstanding CGEOs and GFPs have been annually awarded for best practices in the promotion of gender equality. Some of the achievements include:
Royal Irrigation Department, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives was awarded in 2006 for a comprehensive collection of sex-disaggregated data at the central and regional levels and for welfare promotion which benefits both women and men.
Department of Skills Development, Ministry of Labour was awarded in 2007 for establishing a quota system to increase women’s participation in training programmes, developing training manuals to improve skill of women labourers.
Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives was awarded in 2008 for a collection of sex-disaggregated data, promotion of women’s participation in fishing activities, and establishment of a working group to mainstream a gender perspective into its work.
Department of Welfare and Labour Protection, Ministry of Labour was awarded in 2009 for conducting gender sensitisation training for employers and leaders of labour unions, and for the childcare centre initiative in the community and workplace.
Office of the Civil Service Commission was awarded in 2009 for the inclusion of sexual harassment issue in the Civil Service Act of B.E. 2551 (2008) and for the development of gender sensitisation training curriculum for civil service.
Department of Health, Ministry of Public Health was awarded in 2010 for initiating the draft Reproductive Health Act to address the special needs of women with regard to reproductive health.
15.At the provincial level, the Provincial Social Development and Human Security Office, under MSDHS, is responsible for the promotion and the protection of women’s and girls’ rights. The Office works closely with the financial and technical support by the OWAFD to formulate provincial policies and plans going in line with the Women’s Development Plan under the National Economic and Social Development Plan. Also, the Provincial Office cooperates with local women’s organisation and local authorities to empower and promote the rights of women. Many activities have been launched, for example, trainings community leaders to understand and be aware of gender issues, setting up women’s rights protection system in communities, establishing family development centres, organizing provincial assembly for women to raise their voices on the community and country development.
16.As the Royal Thai government has attached to a multi-disciplinary approach in gender equality promotion, non-governmental agencies (NGOs), the academics and civil society have important roles to play in the efforts to eliminate discrimination against women and promote gender equality. There have been public-private partnerships in many initiatives, such as the partnership among OWAFD Friends of Women Foundation and Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University to develop community systems to prevent and address violence against women in communities and conduct research and studies on women issues. In addition, women organizations and networks have strengthened their partnerships, as illustrated by Women Networks Reshaping Thailand which was formed with the aim of increasing participation of women in various reform committees to ensure that gender perspective is reflected in all processes and activities. Furthermore, a women development committee has been established at the provincial, district and sub-district levels since 1995 to increase involvement of women in economic, social and political development of the country. Gender equality and women development projects and activities have been conducted with technical and financial support from the government.
Article 3: Basic Human Rights and Freedoms
National Plan on Human Rights
17.The National Plan on Human Rights outlines strategies and obligations to promote and protect human rights. The first plan was initiated in 2000 and an action plan was developed for each identified target group, including women, stateless persons, children, the elderly and HIV/AIDS infected persons. The second plan (2009-2013) aims to raise public awareness on respecting human rights and human dignity as well as to empower human rights networks at all levels to protect human rights through various activities which has been integrated into the action plans of related agencies.
The Women’s Development Plan under the National Economic and Social Development Plan
18.During the reporting period, Thailand has implemented (1) Women’s Development Plan under the Ninth National Economic and Social Development Plan (2002-2006) (WDP/9th NESDP) and (2) Women’s Development Plan under the Tenth National Economic and Social Development Plan (2007-2011) (WDP/10th NESDP).
19.The WDP/9th NESDP emphasizes the following: capacity building of women in education, health care, occupation and employability; participation of women in decision-making; promotion of social protection; development of media; and institutional and administrative development. The evaluation at the end of the WDP/9th NESDP found that the participation of women in various development efforts has increased but the participation in decision-making remains limited, particularly in political and executive positions. Also, negative traditional attitudes remain deep-rooted and contribute to inequality and social problems such as violence against women and human trafficking.
20.The challenges identified in the evaluation report of the WDP/9th NESDP were considered for the development of the WDP/10th NESDP. The Plan aims to eradicate negative traditional values, beliefs and prejudices against women which are the root causes for discrimination against women and obstacles to gender equality. The goals of the Plan include:
(1)To achieve better respect of human dignity and gender equality among children, youth, women and men;
(2)To increase the number of women in politics and administration at all levels;
(3)To improve participation of women groups in the area of health policy formulation, and promote access to quality health care and reproductive health services;
(4)To decrease violence against women, while improving access to resources and services when such cases occur;
(5)To create condition for improved women’s economic participation and benefits sharing.
21.The WDP/10th NESDP has been implemented by relevant agencies including GOs, NGOs and civil society by developing activities and projects. For example, the Department of Local Administration has conducted trainings for executives and members of local administrative organizations on gender perspectives, leadership, and women’s participation in politics as well as relevant laws and regulations. The Office of Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion provides IT skills training for female SME entrepreneurs. The Ministry of Public Health requires gender sensitization training for medical and health-care personnel. The Ministry of Justice also trains law enforcement officers to be aware of gender issues.
22.The findings of the Mid-term monitoring and evaluation of the WDP/10th NESDP found that there was progress in mainstreaming gender issues in activities and services. However, challenges remain in relation to data collection, maintenance and reporting. These have been noted and addressed in the Eleventh Plan.
Mechanisms for Monitoring the Conduct of State Authorities and Protecting Human Rights
23.The Ombudsman is an independent mechanism for protecting human rights and acts as a channel whereby people can submit complaints against legitimate conduct by the government which is considered unfair. During 2002-2009, there were altogether 20,791 complaints filed with the Ombudsman, in which few cases concern delay of officials in handling sex-related crimes. The Ombudsman has expedited the investigations to ensure actions were taken efficiently and with respect to the rights of victims.
National Human Rights Commission
24.The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), an independent body under the Constitution, comprising one chairperson and six members, has the powers and duties to propose policies and recommendations to the government with regard to the revision of laws, rules and regulations for the purpose of promoting and protecting human rights.
25.During 2004-2009, the Commission appointed a Sub-Committee on the Promotion of Opportunity and Gender Equality, tasked with the promotion of respect for equal rights and opportunity as well as investigation of complaints on such issues. Two sub-committees were appointed in 2009: (1) the Sub-committee on Child Rights, Women’s Rights and Equality and (2) the Sub-committee on the Investigation of Violation of Human Rights of Children, Youth and Women in the Justice System.
26.During 2004-2010, the NHRC received 125 complaints on human rights violations concerning children, youth, women, and people of all sexual orientations and gender identities (Table 1). The NHRC has been providing assistance and advice, including mediation, on individual cases.
Article 4: Temporary Special Measures
27.Thailand recognizes that temporary measure as a means to achieve equality as Article 30 paragraph 4 of the Constitution stipulates that “measures determined by the State in order to eliminate obstacles to or to promote persons’ ability to exercise their rights and liberties in the same manner as other persons shall not be deemed as unjust discrimination”. Based on this provision, providing the same treatment without due regard to differences may result in inadvertent discrimination. Special treatments by the state for any particular group of people for the purpose of eliminating obstacles to or promoting their ability to exercise the same rights and liberties as others are not considered discrimination.
28.GOs and NGOs have joined effort to implement temporary special measures to redress the imbalance of male and female ratio in political participation, starting with the local administration. Association for the Promotion of the Status of Women under the Royal Patronage of HRH Princess Soamsawali proposed the Draft Tambon Council and Tambon Administrative Organisation Act, requiring the membership ratio in the Tambon (district) Administrative Organisations to be 1:1 for women and men. Training and public education campaigns have been organized by the public sector to build up understanding of this affirmative action. Efforts have been made to push for similar quotas for political parties’ candidates to run in elections. The proposal has remained under consideration of political parties on practical implication.
Article 5: Gender Stereotypes and Traditional Attitudes
29.Recognizing that traditional attitudes are obstacle to women’s advancement, the WDP/10th NESDP was issued in order to change the societal attitudes and mindset related to gender equality. A number of projects and activities have been implemented towards gender stereotypes at all levels of society.
(1)Family institution: Gender in Family training curriculum, aiming to address traditional attitudes regarding gender roles and responsibilities, was developed by the MSDHS for training of trainers, based on (1) respect and care for each other (2) responsibility and (3) effective/constructive communication. The curriculum addresses stereotypes by providing knowledge of (1) rights and laws (2)sex education (3) community network and equal participation (4) financial stability, and (5) media literacy.
(2)Educational institution: The Ministry of Education has promoted gender sensitization through trainings and seminars for educational personnel, teachers, and executives. In 2007, the Office of the Basic Education Commission conducted a review of textbooks, teaching tools and materials from kindergarten to secondary level and found 1,118 books that contained elements of gender biases. Policy recommendations on the revision of those materials were made based on the findings.
(3)Public sphere: Public campaigns have been launched, for example, short news and documentary entitled “Towards Gender Equality with the MSDHS” were produced. Also, annual awards for media in recognition of their efforts to promote gender equality and eliminate gender biases are granted. In addition, activities aiming towards attitudinal change targeting young generation has been implemented, for example, youth camps entitled “Youth Leaders for Gender Equality” and “Creative Media for Gender Equality Workshop”. The contents of those activities were structured around gender perspectives and mobilization of strategies to promote gender equality, through various types of media produced by youth.
Violence against women
30.Violence against women is manifested in various forms, such as domestic violence and sexual harassment. One Stop Crisis Centre (OSCC), which provides multidisciplinary assistance to victims, reported that 6,951 children and women seeking assistance from 70 centres around the country in 2004, an average of 19 cases per day. The number of people seeking assistance increased to 23,499 in 602 centres, averaging 64 cases per day, in 2009 and to 25,744 cases, averaging 70.5 cases per day in 2010. Forms of violence included 48.33% of physical violence, 43.54% of sexual violence, and 6.20% of psychological violence. Intimated partners and spouse are the main perpetrators, which accounted around 70% of perpetrators, while family members, including relatives, mother/father, and step-mother/father, account 6.64%, 2.53%, and 1.69% respectively.
31.Thailand has made considerable progress since 2003 in addressing violence against women, through cooperation between government and non-governmental organizations, in terms of legislative, preventive and rehabilitative measures as follows:
32.The Constitution provides for rights and protection against violence in Articles 4, 40 (6), 52 and 81. Specifically, Article 81 (2) and (5) stipulates that in pursuing directive principles of State policies in terms of legislation and administration of justice for the protection of rights and liberties of persons, the State shall provide support to the operation of private organizations in the private sector providing legal aids to the public, in particular to those affected by domestic violence. (Annex A).
33.The Protection of Victims of Domestic Violence Act B.E. 2550 (2007), aims to provide protection for persons from all forms of domestic violence on the basis of human rights and strengthening family institution. The Act emphasizes rehabilitation of victims and offenders, opting for behavioural change instead of punitive approach, to prevent repeating offences and to maintain relationships within families. The Act also provides for temporary measures to protect victims and requires the involvement of government multidisciplinary team, the public and the media in enforcing the law and providing protection for victims at every stage of legal proceedings from filing a complaint to conducting court proceedings, mediation and victim-sensitive media reporting.
34.The Act requires any person who witnesses an act of domestic violence to notify the authority. This helps create awareness that domestic violence is a social problem and everyone has to be concerned. Procedures for rehabilitation by multidisciplinary team are set under the Act. Victims are also provided psychological care and protection against repeated act of violence. In addition, the Act provides for the application of temporary protection orders to protect victims living in violent situations during investigation or court proceedings.
35.To ensure efficiency in practice and respect for the rights and dignity of victims, a coordination centre has been set up, emphasizing: (1) public relations and dissemination of the Act (2) introduction of relevant regulations (3) training of relevant officers, particularly law enforcement officers, investigators and mediators (4) establishment of an operation centre for the prevention of domestic violence in 76 provinces (5) development of data collection and reporting system using www.violence.in.th as a central database and (6) integration of efforts across agencies on the prevention, protection, rescue and rehabilitation.
36.Referring to the Committee’s concern that the Act emphasizes reconciliatory methods which may not be sufficient in ensuring the right of women to live a violent-free life, Thailand has taken measures to address this concern by providing training to government officials, law enforcement officers and other relevant personnel to sensitize them on women’s human rights, taking into account women’s willingness to employ the measures prescribed in the Act. Guidelines and regulations across agencies to ensure effective protection were introduced to law enforcement officials and related officials.
37.In addition, Thailand, in cooperation with the UN Country Team with the financial support of the UN Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund), has initiated Every Home a Safe Home Project. The three-year project (2010-2012) aims to ensure that women and girl victims of domestic violence receive gender sensitive protection and services provided through the establishment of a national multidisciplinary team prototype. Strategies for implementing the project include (1) establishment of coordination mechanism, (2) development of indicators and report preparation, (3) capacity building, and (4) carrying out a pilot project. Various activities have been implemented since 2010, including review of policies, plan of actions, coordinating mechanisms and capacities of relevant agencies; establishment of a technical working group on statistics and indicators; situation analysis of pilot project and in-depth research on gender sensitisation training.
38.Changing traditional attitudes and norms is a long-term challenge which requires consistent efforts. Thailand has given importance to campaign to end violence against children and women to send out the message that “violence against women and girls is not a private issue, but a public one”. Annual activities are organized in November, designated as a campaign month to end violence against children and women. In addition, the government also announced 2010 as the “End of Violence against Children, Women and Domestic Violence Year”.
39.With regard to civil society network to end violence against women, a community women’s rights protection system was established in 2008 to engage in surveillance and protection of women, children and families against violence. Pilot projects have been conducted in Bangkok and provincial communities and for vulnerable and ethnic groups. The project has been extended nationwide. In addition, Community Family Development Centres were established to serve as a central unit for surveillance, prevention and intervention and promotion of knowledge for families. In 2011, there were altogether 6,754 sub-district centres. Activities organized by these centres include, among others, a forum on gender equality and preventive and rehabilitative measures against domestic violence.
40.The Government, in cooperation with its partner organizations, has implemented comprehensive and efficient assistance emphasizing a multidisciplinary approach for victims.
(1)OSCC was established in every state hospital by virtue of the Cabinet resolution on 29 June 1999 to provide assistance and services to children and women who are victims of psychological, physical and sexual violence, through a multidisciplinary team. In 2011, there were 150 centres all over the country, a leap from 70 centres in 2004. It is expected that additional 734 centres will be established in community hospitals across the country.
(2)Prachabordi Hotline Centre 1300 provides 24-hour emergency services under the MSDHS. It is tasked with receiving complaints and providing counselling and emergency services through social workers and psychologists. In addition, a number of NGOs, such as Friends of Women Foundation, provide counselling and legal assistance to victims.
(3)Shelters for Children and Families have been established in all provinces as half-way homes for children and families in crisis. The shelters provide counselling and basic social services to victims, and liaise with relevant agencies, both governmental and non-governmental organizations, for referral and assistance. There are also shelters operated by NGOs, such as the Association for the Promotion of the Status of Women.
41.There are a number of good practices aimed at improving gender and child sensitivity in the justice system, for example, The Royal Thai Police has trained their officers on human rights, gender perspectives and psychological nature of victims to ensure efficient action and compliance with the Criminal Procedural Code B.E. 2542 (1999) concerning interrogation of women and child victims. Thonburi Criminal Court is a model of a child and women-friendly court, providing the following facilities: (1) separate court room with electronic equipment installed to avoid confrontation between victims and perpetrators, (2) special files for cases relating to children and women to distinguish them as sensitive cases, (3) training of relevant personnel in the justice system on equality, human rights and procedures for conducting trial in sensitive cases and (4) provision of psychosocial services.
Article 6: Trafficking and Exploitation of Women
42.Thailand is a source, transit, and destination country for human trafficking. Based on the data of the Immigration Bureau, the number of victims of human trafficking was 188 in 2006, 99 in 2007, 131 in 2008, 75 in 2009, and 70 in 2010 (Table 2). Human trafficking in Thailand is in many forms, including commercial sexual exploitation, forced labour and forced beggary (Table 3).
43.On 6 August 2004, the government declared anti-human trafficking as a national agenda, recognizing the problem as a serious violation of human rights, which requires multi-stakeholder cooperation to tackle the problem.
44.The National Policy and Plan on Prevention and Resolution of Domestic and Cross-border Trafficking in Children and Women was adopted on 1 July 2003, covering the period of 2003-2010. The plan incorporates seven main components: (1) prevention, (2) protection and assistance, (3) legislative measures and suppression, (4) rehabilitation and reintegration, (5) data collection, monitoring and evaluation, 6) development of institutional and administrative mechanisms, and (7) international cooperation.
45.The Cabinet approved a resolution on 11 May 2010 to adopt the National Policy, Strategies and Measures for the Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking of 2011-2016. It provides a guideline for all stakeholders to address the issue of trafficking in persons. It aims to: (1) improve and advocate preventive measures, assistance, policy mechanisms and data development, (2) promote the family and the community as the main mechanisms for the prevention of the problem, (3) promote universal access to services, and (4) ensure enforcement of laws and regulations, and actions against perpetrators and those involved in transnational organized crime.
46.The Anti-Human Trafficking Operational Centre has been established pursuant to the Cabinet resolution on 14 June 2005, to act as coordinating bodies for anti‑human trafficking, integrating relevant data, services and actions across all government agencies. At the national level, the MSDHS acts as the focal point and central coordinating body. At the provincial level, a provincial committee, chaired by a governor, has been established with representatives from relevant government agencies and other relevant sectors. Moreover, to address the problem occurring outside the country, ambassadors or consul-generals chair a committee comprising representatives from relevant government agencies and the Thai community abroad.
47.The Anti-Human Trafficking in Persons Act B.E. 2551 (2008) provides the establishment of two national committees: anti-human trafficking committee and anti-human trafficking coordinating committee. The first committee is responsible for providing policies and strategies on anti-human trafficking, while the second committee is responsible for ensuring implementation of such policies and strategies in line with Thailand’s obligation under the international human rights instruments to which Thailand is party. The said Act specifically stipulates human trafficking as an offence and imposes heavier punishment against offenders involved in human trafficking crime, victim assistance including provision of temporary shelter and protection taking into account the principle of human rights, establishment of the Fund for the Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking.
48.Training for law enforcement officers, relevant government officials, NGOs, and international organizations on the content of the said Act has also been conducted nationwide. During 2009-2011, 7,851 law enforcement officers and stakeholders participated in such training.
49.The provision on the confiscation of assets under the National Anti-Money Laundering Act B.E.2552 (2009) has also been applied in anti-trafficking interventions. During the period of the report, the Civil Court has ordered the confiscation of assets of offenders in 4 cases, with a total value of 7 million baht (USD 233,333).
50.Training has been organized by the Provincial Anti-Human Trafficking Operational Centres in 75 provinces to disseminate knowledge on the Anti-Human Trafficking Act B.E. 2551 (2008) and the threat of human trafficking to improve awareness on self-protection. There were 7,560 participants in 2011.
51.Media and communication materials were produced and distributed to raise awareness on human trafficking and encourage people to report suspected cases. Some of the best practices are: (1) The 5th of June has been designated the Anti ‑ Human Trafficking Day by the cabinet resolution on 15 July 2008. Activities have been organized to raise awareness of the important of this day since 2008, such as mobile public education campaigns both in Bangkok and risk border areas, workshops and discussion forums in Bangkok and in main public bus transit and train stations in risk provinces, and television spots featuring the Prime Minister as the lead campaigner and discussion forum targeting secondary school students. The Government also allocates budget to the Provincial Anti-Human Trafficking Operational Centres to implement activities and campaigns against human trafficking. (2) Civil society networks have been established to prevent children and youth from falling victims of human trafficking, including the development of student networks and peer-to-peer information sharing and networks of Thai women and volunteers abroad.
52.Efforts have been made to prevent migrant workers, within Thailand and from neighbouring countries from being victims of human trafficking. Awareness raising activities have been conducted for migrants to minimize the risks of being deceived or lured by traffickers, such as distribution of materials on risk of human trafficking in Myanmar, Lao, Khmer and Thai languages at immigration check-points, and training of community leaders, local administrative officials, and the general public. Apart from these attempts, the One Stop Service Centres were established to provide services for Thai migrant workers to protect them from unlawful agents.
Protection and Reintegration Measures
53.In 2009, the Anti-Human Trafficking Division, Royal Thai Police was established to provide protection to victims of human trafficking.
54.A screening procedure for victims of human trafficking was developed. The definition of “victims of human trafficking” was clearly made for more accurate screening whereby a multidisciplinary approach involving all stakeholders including social workers has been adopted in the screening of victims.
55.A number of Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) have been concluded among relevant agencies to provide common guidelines on how to address human trafficking at the local and national levels, focusing on the best interests of victims (Annex B). For bilateral, regional and international cooperation, please see number 59.
56.Shelters for Children and Families in every province of the country serve as emergency homes and provide initial assistance to victims of all forms of violence and exploitation. Victim identification for human trafficking cases, both Thai and foreign, are also conducted at the shelters. Victims are provided with comprehensive welfare and social services including accommodation, food, medical care, counselling service, psycho-social recovery, education, recreational services, vocational training and reintegration services. The 9 Protection and Occupational Centres across the country coordinate with relevant agencies in the source countries to ensure full protection of victims. A manual of operational guidelines was developed in this regard. During June-December 2008, there were 199 foreign and 7 Thai victims who received services from the centres. In 2009, a total of 530 foreign and 6 Thai victims received services from the centres.
57.Thailand has facilitated safe return of foreign victims, such as sharing of information with source countries during the national verification process and provision of interpreters to assist the victims throughout the process. In case of complicated cases, consultations among agencies involved, including from the source and destination countries, have been conducted.
58.Anti-Human Trafficking Fund was established under the Anti-Human Trafficking Act B. E. 2551 (2008) to provide financial support for victim protection and assistance, return and rehabilitation of victims and anti-human trafficking efforts of both government and non-governmental organizations. Expenditures for 2010 totalled 6,284,568 baht (USD 209,485), broken down into 107,024 baht (USD 3,567) for assistance to 15 victims and 6,177,480 baht (USD 205,916) for subsidizing 7 organisations in 13 projects for anti-human trafficking.
59.Thailand recognizes that human trafficking is a transnational problem, requiring cooperation from source, transit, destination countries, and all stakeholders. International cooperation in this regard includes:
(1)At the bilateral level, Thailand has concluded a number of bilateral MOUs to combat trafficking in persons with other countries, including with Cambodia in 2003, with the Lao PDR in 2005, with Vietnam in 2008, and with Myanmar in 2009. The MOUs with other countries, namely Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Japan, and Australia are also being developed (Annex C).
(2)At the regional level, the Government has strengthened cooperation against human trafficking through multilateral agreements among countries. For example, Thailand has played an active role in the Bali Regional Ministerial Conference on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime (Bali Process), particularly in relation to legislative framework and law enforcement. The Conference provides a forum for countries in the region to share best practices and knowledge which contributes to the harmonization of interventions and prevention efforts. Moreover, in the Mekong Sub-region, MOU on Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative against Trafficking (COMMIT) was signed on 29 October B.E. 2547 (2004). Member countries endorsed in principle the Sub-Regional Plan of Action III (2011-2013) which focuses on five areas namely; (1) Policy & Cooperation, (2) Legal Frameworks, Law Enforcement & Justice, (3) Protection, Recovery & Reintegration, (4) Preventive Measures, and (5) Monitoring, Evaluation & Anti-Human Trafficking Data Systems. In addition, Thailand, along with ASEAN member states, attaches importance to anti-human trafficking in many bodies of ASEAN such as ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC) and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). The ASEAN Declaration Against Trafficking in Persons, Particularly Women and Children was adopted in 2004. The Declaration focuses on law enforcement, victim identification, and heavier penalties for perpetrators.
60.Key challenges on anti-human trafficking efforts include:
(1)Human trafficking is closely associated with people smuggling and illegal migration, making it difficult to identify clearly trafficking victims. Practitioners as well as the media need to fully understand differences between ‘victims of human trafficking’ and ‘illegal immigrants’.
(2)Increasingly complex nature of illegal businesses and organized human trafficking networks has made it more difficult to tackle transnational organized crime. As countries in the Mekong subregion have long border lines, trafficking routes and routes for illegal entry are sometimes overlapped, making it even more difficult to identify the victims. Greater regional and multilateral collaboration is needed in this regard.
(3)There has been incomplete data on child and women victims of human trafficking due to many reasons, such as unwillingness of victims to reveal their identities, making provision of preventive interventions and assistance difficult.
(4)Human trafficking is a multi-dimensional issue involving a number of laws and regulations. Differences in domestic laws of each country with regard to victim assistance and prosecution of perpetrators have hindered the efficiency of victim assistance and repatriation.
Article 7: Political and Public Life
61.Equal rights of women and men regarding political and public life are stipulated in the Constitution in Article 87, 97, 114, and 152 (Annex A).
62.Women’s Development Plan under the Tenth National Economic and Social Development Plan (2007-2011) sets as one of its objectives equal participation of women in the political and public life and in the formulation of government policy, aiming to (1) improve the ratio of women candidates in national and local elections, (2) improve the proportion of women holding public office and perform public functions, (3) improve the ratio of women in national commissions responsible for formulating national policies and independent bodies. A national plan of action to execute the Women’s Development Plan (2007-2011) was adopted and implemented in cooperation with relevant agencies.
Women’s Participation in National Politics
63.Overall, women still have lower participation in politics than men. Nevertheless, the number of women in national and local politics has been gradually increasing. At national level, women represent 16% in the Senate for the 2008-2013 terms, which increased from 10.5% in 2000. Meanwhile, the number of female Member of Parliament has improved slightly from 10.38% in 2005 to 14.74% in 2007 (Table 4-6). In addition, five women, representing 14.2% of the cabinet, were appointed as Minister and Deputy Minister in the 60th Cabinet (17 December 2008-May 2011). The posts were Minister of Information Technology and Communication, Minister of Commerce, Minister of Science and Technology, Minister of Education and Deputy Minister of Public Health. At the local level, the number of women’s participation in local administrative politics and local government positions remained stable, which was 9.08% in 2006 and 9.47% in 2010 (Table 7).
Representation of Women in Political Parties
64.As of 20 September 2010, of the exiting 50 political parties, three were headed by women and had eight women as party secretaries. Information on members of political parties submitted to the Election Commission did not contain any sex-disaggregated data. As for the allocations of party list candidates, of which a maximum 100 are allowed for each party, the majority of parties had lower than 25% of women candidates, and women candidates were not listed on top of the lists.
65.Analysis of party policies of the top five political parties, namely Peua Thai Party, Democrat Party, Peua Pandin Party, Pracharat Party, and Prachakorn Thai Party, found that the majority gives recognition to the need to ensure equal rights and opportunities between women and men, including equal access to capacity building and welfare benefits. Puea Pandin Party has a policy advocating legislative amendment to improve equal rights of women and men and eliminate discrimination against women as well as a policy to improve the status and role of women both in law and in practice. Prachakorn Thai Party advocates equal rights for men and women in practice and before the law and equal employment opportunities, recognizing that women are valuable resources for the country’s development, politically, economically and socially. However, no parties have advocated temporary special measures to improve political participation of women.
Women’s Participation in Official Administrative Positions
66.At the central government administration, data during 2003-2010 showed that women holding executive positions had slightly increased, from 20.94% in 2003 to 24.44% in 2010 (Table 8). At the regional level, the statistics from the Ministry of Interior shows that female administrators appointed in 2011 were two provincial governors (2.63%) and eight deputy provincial governors (4.76%). In 2010, only 0.46% of deputy district officers and 24.96% of deputy district officers were women. The representation of women in executive positions in independent bodies under the Constitution had been more positive, increasing from 47.06% in 2006 to 55% in 2007. However, in 2010, women’s representation in such positions dropped to 25%.
67.Meanwhile, the number of women holding high ranking positions in the judiciary remained low. During the period, there were no women at the top level of the Office of the Attorney-General and there was less than 10% of female judges in senior positions. In regard to the high ranking female police, there were four women commissioners in 2009 (Table 9).
Women Participation in the Private Sector
68.Women still have low representation in decision-making positions of private organizations. According to the OWAFD and National Statistical Office, in 2007, only 21.65% of board positions of 218 companies listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand were women. Of the 540,000 public companies registered with the Ministry of Commerce, 35.37% of board members were women.
Measures to Promote Women’s Participation in Politics
69.Thailand has taken initiatives to increase the participation of women in politics over the past years through capacity building of women leaders, public awareness on the importance of having women in decision-making and advocacy for partnership and collaboration among government agencies, non-governmental organizations and women networks for increased women participation.
70.Some of the initiatives include:
(1)MOU on the Promotion of Women’s Participation in Politics among ten organizations was signed in 2007 to provide guidelines and directions on the promotion of women’s participation on politics.
(2)Capacity Building for Women Leadership Project was launched during 2007 and 2008 to build capacity of women to enter local politics. Training was organized for 5,500 women leaders to prepare women candidates before local elections.
(3)Awareness raising campaigns on the importance of women’s participation in politics were conducted by Regional Public Relations Offices. Public assemblies were held in eight provinces and broadcast on television and radio.
(4)Training was organized for local media to raise awareness on women and politics at the community level.
(5)Campaign activities were also conducted in 7 leading educational institutions to encourage young generations to promote participation of women in politics.
Article 8: International representation and participation
71.Thailand has supported the candidacy of Thai nationals to represent Thailand at the international level. During the report period, five Thai women hold high-level positions at the international level: Dr. Saisuree Chutikul as Member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) (2006-2010), Ms. Somsuda Leyavanija as Member of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) (2009-2012), Dr. Sriprapa Petchmeesri as Thai Representative to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) (2009-2012), and Dr. Saisuree Chutikul and Ms. Kanda Vajrabhaya as Thai Representatives to ASEAN Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) (2010-2013).
72.The increasing number of women in high-level official positions over the years, resulted in larger composition of women in the Thai delegations to international fora dealing with a variety of issues, not only concerning women.
73.Data from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) from 2003 onwards shows that the number of female diplomats posted abroad has increased at all levels. In 2010, there were 11 female ambassadors out of a total 70 or 15.71% representing an increase from 3 female ambassadors or 2.1% in 2001.
Article 9: Nationality
74.Referring to the concern of the Committee over discrimination that exists in the nationality law and recommendation for Thailand to revise the law to allow foreign nationals who marry with Thai men and women to have the same right to nationality. Thailand has taken actions as recommended, to amend the Nationality Act B.E. 2508 (1965) and passed the Amended Nationality Act (No. 4) B.E. 2551 (2008) with provision under Article 9 reducing a condition of foreign husbands of Thai nationals to acquire Thai nationality (Annex D). The legislative change nevertheless illustrates the efforts on the part of Thailand to improve its domestic laws to comply with the provisions of the Convention.
Article 10: Education
Overall Education Policy
75.Thailand has implemented an education for all policy. All children must receive 9 year compulsory education and are entitled to receive 12 year basic education under the National Education Act B.E. 2542 (1999) and its amendment (No. 2) B.E. 2545 (2002). This is further reinforced by the 15 year free education programme for all, from kindergarten up to high school level regardless of nationality.
Literacy Rate, Computer Skills and the Internet
76.Literacy rate has gone up in general. However, female literacy rate was slightly lower than that of men. In population aged six years old and above, literacy rates for female and male populations were 89.2% and 92.6% in 2000 to 91.4% and 94.7% in 2005 respectively. However, literacy gap between women and men has widened in population aged 40 years old and above, which were 82.4% and 91.2% in 2000, and 85.2% and 92.7% in 2005 respectively (Table 10). In terms of computer and internet skills, females have more skills than males. In 2005, 2006 and 2007, women with computer skill accounted for 51.9%, 53.5%, and 55.8% respectively, compared to 45.9%, 47.5%, and 48.3% for men over the same period.
Average Year of Education and Enrolment Rates
77.Average years of education in population aged 15 years and above increased slightly from 7.4 years in 2005 to 8 years in 2010. In 2010, the average years for women were 0.4 years lower than those of men.
78.According to the Department of Provincial Administration, in 2008, a ratio of enrolment rates between female and male was relatively equal. The enrolment rate of girls was slightly less than boys in primary education whereas the enrolment rates of female in secondary and tertiary education were higher than male (Table 11). Additionally, Thailand already achieved Target 3 A of the Millennium Development Goal: eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education and in all level of education before 2015 (Table 12).
Fields of Study
79.Participation in tertiary education nevertheless reflects traditional attitudes in the selection of fields of study. Women tended to prefer health and welfare, humanity, art, social science, business administration, law and science faculties whereas engineering and agriculture faculties were mostly dominated by men (Table 13). Also, at the vocational education level, male students outnumbered female students. Statistics from the Ministry of Education showed that in 2008 and 2009, women formed about third quarter of vocational school students (Table 14).
80.There have been many positive developments as far as women’s opportunity in education is concerned. In 2009, the Royal Police Cadet Academy opened for enrolment of women for the first time since its foundation 107 years ago. In addition, the academy signed an MOU with the OWAFD to develop gender equality curriculum to mainstream gender perspectives in the teaching and learning of the academy.
Non-formal and Informal Education
81.To promote lifelong learning, The Promotion of Non-Formal and Informal Education Act B.E. 2551 (2008) was passed, requiring the Office for the Promotion of Non-Formal and Information Education to be the lead agency in the promotion, support and coordination of non-formal and informal education to enable all Thais to receive equal and fair opportunities in education and ensure that the education provided is of high quality. According to the Office of Non-Formal Education, the number of females and males enrolled in non-formal education programs was relatively equal in 2008, 2,240,328 female students and 2,234,523 male students.
82.Since 2007, Community ICT learning centres under the supervision of the Ministry of Information Communication and Technology has been operating to enhance lifelong learning and create knowledge-based society. It serves as a centre for learning and development of skills and capabilities in information technology, where community members can find resources and seek self-improvement through the internet. In 2010, 879 centres were set up nationwide, a leap from 20 centres in 2007. Also, gender perspectives were applied in setting up the centres, focusing on, for example, women’s participation and the usefulness of the centres for different groups including housewives. The centres have had more women than men visitors. The number of women visiting the centre was twice more than that of men in 2007 and 2010.
83.According to the Office of the Civil Service Commission, in 2010, there were more female teachers and educational personnel than male, representing 61.76% out of 458,688. Though, the ratio of female teachers holding executive positions remained low, there was an increasing trend. In 2004, only 9.95% of school heads/executives were women, comparing to 14.14% in 2006, representing a 4.19% increase.
Minimizing Prejudices in Education
84.An improvement of the curriculum and teaching and learning materials to promote gender equality and eliminate stereotypes has been implemented. For example, training was organized for school administrators, teachers and educational personnel to increase their gender sensitivity. Schools were encouraged to organize activities to promote understanding of gender equality, guided by UNESCO’s Gender Mainstreaming Implementation Framework, to help teachers mainstream gender perspectives in teaching and learning. In addition, a review of gender prejudices in textbooks was conducted in 2007 with support from UNICEF. A total of 1,118 textbooks and extracurricular books for early childhood, primary and secondary education were reviewed. Of this number, 976 were textbooks and 142 were extracurricular books.
85.Scholarship opportunities for tertiary education both in Thailand and abroad are made available to disadvantaged students from every district (one district, one scholarship project). More girls received scholarship than boys. According to the Ministry of Education, in 2005, scholarships were given to 650 girls and 269 boys and in 2006, to 588 girls and 333 boys. Of a total number of 697 graduates in 2010, 478 were girls and 199 were boys.
86.Scholarships for Girls (Sema-Life Development): The Ministry of Education offers 10,000 scholarships annually specially to young girls completing Grade 6 to continue to lower secondary education. The project aims to deter girls from poor families from being lured into commercial sex industry. During 1994-2003, a total of 80,145 scholarships were awarded. Of this number, 48,172 completed lower secondary education, 965 dropped out of school and 31,008 were studying in Grade 7-9 in 2003.
87.The government provides Educational Loan Fund for students from low income families to continue their studies from upper secondary to the bachelor’s degree level (formal and vocational education) as well as non-formal education after lower secondary level (Table 15).
88.Since 1982, sex education has been organized continuously. Overtime, the curriculum has been reviewed to assess the appropriateness of content and approaches. Teachers have been trained to provide education in this regard. In 2002, the Ministry of Education, in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Health, integrated sex education into hygiene and sports subjects, covering (1) sexual development, (2) sexual health, (3) relationship, (4) sexual behaviours, (5) personal skills; and (6) society and culture. The curriculum also emphasizes solutions to teenage problems, including premature sexual relationship, safe sex and health facilities for teenagers.
89.There were successful efforts in implementing effective sex education in educational institutions. Teenpath Project was one good example of cooperation between the public and private sectors. The project, supported by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, aimed at promoting sex education and self-protection against HIV/AIDS among students in educational institutions. Implemented by PATH, an international non-governmental organization, the five year project was participated by 1,386 institutions. A total of 3,557 teachers were trained. Of this number, 67.76% was still involved in sex education. A database on sex education was also developed by PATH as resources for development partners, educational institutions, facilitators and teachers who participated in the project. Another good example was the sex education curriculum “The World Starts with Me” implemented by the Association for the Promotion of the Status of Women supported by the World Population Foundation. The curriculum was introduced in all Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s secondary schools with a positive feedback from the students and the schools.
Article 11: Employment
90.Women participated actively in labour force and was slightly fewer than men. According to the NSO, in 2010, women and men had different status of employment. The majority of men were engaged in their own business and in private sector, which was 37.1% and 34.4% respectively. Meanwhile, more women were engaged in household business and in private sector, which were 31.1% and 31.9% respectively (Table 16). In terms of job sector, more women are in service sector, at 44.4% compared to 36.7% of men.
91.According to the Ministry of Labour, during 2007-2009, gender neutral job advertisements increased. Consequently, women had consistently higher rates of being recruited than men. Also, more women participated in job counselling than men (Table 17).
92.In 2010, it was found that average working hours per week of women were 45.9 hours, compared to 47.1 hours of men. The lower average working hours of women was due to time spent doing household responsibilities, which was 6 hours per day for women and 3.5 hours per day for men (Table 18).
93.In regard to remuneration, Thailand has taken actions to ensure non-discriminatory practice. Though men earn higher wages/salaries, the gap has been narrowing and slightly different. In 2010, for employees, the average salary gap between men and women was only 200 baht (USD 6) (Table 19).
Policies Measures and Projects to Promote Equality in Employment
94.Thailand adopts international instruments as frameworks for the promotion of equality at work, notably the ILO Convention No. 122 concerning employment policy of 1966. The principle under this convention is used as a basis for the drafting of the Act on Job Placement and Job Seekers Protection of 1985 and its amendments of 1994 and 2001, and the Skill Development Promotion Act of 2002. Actions have been taken to promote equality in employment and job placement, skill development to enhance competitiveness and responsiveness to market needs, as well as vocational skills development in cooperation with the private sector.
Wages and Remuneration
95.The Labour Protection Act (No. 3) B.E.2551 (2008) have been enforced to ensure equal wages for both women and men in accordance with their skills and capabilities. Also, efforts have been made by encouraging workplaces to increase women’s access to education and skills development to gain better wages.
96.Thailand has collaborated with the private sector in organising training for women and men in working age to improve their skills in accordance with the needs of business and industrial sectors. A revolving fund has been set up for activities relating to skills development in pursuant to the Skill Development Promotion Act B.E. 2545 (2002). More women were beneficiaries of the training for skilled workers and independent occupations (Table 20). Furthermore, workplaces are encouraged under the School in Factory Project to organize formal and vocational educational programs for workers. In 2009, 124 workplaces participated in the project (21 in Bangkok and 103 in the regions) to set up schools in factories.
97.The Ministry of Labour has implemented special measures to guarantee access for women in skill training. For example, in newly recruited workers and independent occupation training, at least 30% of participants shall be women. Also, no less than 40% of participants of skilled workers trainings shall be women. In addition, relevant facilities, for example, dormitories, training venues and equipment, are also improved to accommodate particular needs of women.
Welfare for Women
98.Thailand has implemented measures to promote welfare and quality of life for employees. One of these involves promoting employers to provide welfare assistance to employees’ families through the establishment of day-care centres in workplaces. Breastfeeding corners are also established in workplaces with collaboration with the public and private sectors and international organizations, as part of the efforts to promote breastfeeding. This initiative benefits for infants development but also minimizes expenditures of families, saving approximately 3,000 baht (USD 100) per family per month. In 2009, 100 workplaces in Bangkok and its vicinity participated in this initiative.
Protection of Female Workers
99.Thailand ratified ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and many other ILO conventions, including ILO Convention 127 concerning the Maximum Permissible Weight to Be Carried by One Worker; Convention 29 concerning Forced or Compulsory Labour; Convention 138 concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment; and Convention 100 on Equal Remuneration. These international commitments form a framework for improvement of Thailand’s domestic laws to provide better protection to workers, improve their quality of life and raise wage levels on an equal, fair and non-discriminatory basis.
100.The Labour Protection Act B.E.2541 (1998) and its Amendment B.E. 2551 (2008) were enacted to provide better protection to women and children by addressing key issues as follows:
(1)Maximum working hours fixed at no more than eight hours per day and 48 hours per week.
(2)Protection for sub-contract workers doing the same work as contract workers to receive fair remuneration and welfare on a non-discriminatory basis.
(3)Revision of categories of inappropriate works to allow women to perform such works if not harmful to their health.
(4)Pregnant workers are prohibited from working during 22:00-06:00 hours, working during weekends and public holidays, with exception to female workers holding executive, academic, administrative and accounting positions where such works do not impact on their health and with consent from pregnant workers.
(5)Children below 18 years are prohibited from working in sex-related venues.
(6)Broadening protection against sexual harassment to cover both female and male employees.
101.The Thai Labour Standard System (TLS 8001-2003) was developed based on the principles of international human rights instruments, Labour Protection Act B.E.2541 (1998), Labour Relations Act B.E. 2518 (1975) and National Standard on Social Responsibilities (SA 8000). It aimed to encourage corporate social responsibility, improve quality of life of workers, promote equality in workplace and increase competitiveness. It serves as a tool for responsible agencies to monitor practices of employers in compliance with the labour laws. The areas covered included (1) forced labour, (2) remuneration,(3) working hours, (4) non-discrimination on the grounds of nationality, religion and sex, (5) disciplinary measures (sexual coercion and harassment), (6) child labour, (7) female workers (pregnant workers), (8) freedom of association and negotiation, and (9) health, safety and welfare. As of April 2010, a total of 1,334 workplaces in 41 provinces applied and accredited, benefiting 1,167,926 workers. The majority of these workplaces are in the manufacturing industry with a majority of female workers (2:1), resulting in a large number of female workers benefiting from working, welfare and safety protection.
Protection against Sexual Harassment
102.The Labour Protection Act (No. 2) B.E. 2551 (2008) extends protection against sexual harassment to cover all workers, both male and female and girls and boys, including sub-contract workers, with penalties up to 20,000 baht (USD 666). For serious offenses, such as rape or indecency, penalties according to the Penal Code will be applied. Sexual harassment has been included in the checklist for workplace inspection and under provisions concerning disciplining measures of the TLS-2008.
103.Centre for the Protection and Assistance of Women and Child Workers has been established in 75 provinces to provide assistance to female and child workers and to receive complaints. Collaboration was made with the private sector to create counselling service for female workers in the workplace. In 2008, 5,291 employees were trained as counsellors for 4,662 workplaces nationwide. In addition, public relations activities and campaigns have been organised to disseminate information about workers’ rights and protection against sexual harassment.
Occupational Safety, Health and Environment
104.Measures concerning the protection of occupational safety and occupational hazards have been put in place through the Ministry of Labour Regulation B.E. 2550 (2007) prescribing occupational hazards in line with the ILO list to provide better compensation. In 2011, the Occupational Safety, Health and Environment Act B.E. 2554 (2011) was approved to make a better protection through the establishment of the Occupational Safety Institute and Fund serving as an important implementing mechanism.
105.The government has also proclaimed “Safe and Healthy Work” as a national agenda to raise awareness on the issue with an operational framework covering the period of 2009-2016. In addition, the Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Public Health together established specialised clinics dealing with occupational hazards in 26 hospitals in Bangkok and the four regions. In 2010, 22 additional clinics were established. Services and treatment offered by such clinics cover Asbestosis and Byssinosis, commonly found in female workers.
106.Following the introduction of the Social Security Act B.E. 2533 (1990), women and men can relatively equal access to the Security Fund. In 2009, 50.07% of insured persons were female workers, while 49.92% of this number were male workers Moreover, the said Act is now under the process of amendment to extend protection concerning compensation as a result of death and reduction of contribution of insured persons. The Ministry of Labour is also in the process of revising a ministerial regulation concerning benefits for spouses and children of insured persons.
Female Workers in the Non-formal Sector
107.The number of male and female workers in the non-formal sector is relatively equal. The ratio was 1 female workers to 1.2 male workers (Table 21). However, the majority of workers in the non-formal sector were home workers, which females formed 76.6%, while 23.3% were male.
108.At present, non-formal workers have access to health-care benefits provided by the State through the universal health coverage scheme, including home-based and sub-contract workers. Registration of sub-contract workers has been carried out to ensure protection and provision of assistance such as skill development and low interest loan In addition, the Home Workers Protection Act B.E. 2553 (2010) has been implemented. Key provisions of the said Act include prohibition of pregnant women and children aged below 15 years to work, prohibition of hazardous work, and promotion of welfare benefits, such as medical and funeral allowances. Furthermore, the National Savings Fund Act B.E. 2554 (2011) has been issued to promote welfare after retirement.
Female Migrant Workers
109.Overall, the number of male migrant workers from Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia is greater than female. Male migrant workers are usually engaged in construction, agriculture, cattle raising and fisheries, whereas female migrant workers are usually domestic workers. Among domestic migrant workers, the number of female migrants from Myanmar and Laos was four times higher than that of male migrants and three times higher than that of male migrants among Cambodian migrant workers. The number of migrant workers doubled in 2009 from 2007 due to the government policy allowing both registered migrants and non-registered migrants to register for work permit (Table 22).
110.Migrant workers enjoy rights as prescribed by law similar to Thai workers, including: (1) minimum wage, working hours and entitlements and benefits in accordance with the Labour Protection Act B.E. 2541 (1998), (2) rights and welfare benefits in accordance with the Social Security Act B.E.2533 (1990), (3) right to compensations from work-related illness or accidents in accordance with the Workmen’s Compensation Act B.E. 2537 (1994), and (4) repatriation fund for returning home after the expiration of contracts or upon being repatriated in accordance with the Migrant Work Act B.E. 2551 (2008).
111.Thailand has incorporated human rights and humanitarian principles in its policies and measures concerning migrant workers and their families. Families and accompanying persons are granted one year temporary permission to stay in Thailand. Children of migrant workers born in Thailand will be registered at birth in accordance with the Civil Registration Act (No. 2) B.E. 2551 (2008) and the Convention on Rights of the Child. Children of migrant workers can access compulsory education provided by the state free of charge pursuant to the Cabinet resolution dated 5 July B.E. 2548 (2005). Migrant workers and their families or accompanying persons also receive health-care insurance under the Universal Health Coverage Scheme with the same standard as Thai workers. Moreover, the Ministry of Public Health has trained migrant workers to be health volunteers to promote health accessibility including reproductive health among themselves.
Elderly Female Workers
112.The Act on Older Persons B.E. 2546 (2003) requires the state to provide appropriate occupation or occupational training for senior citizens. According to data from the National Statistical Office in 2010, more elderly male engage in economic activities than their female counterparts (56.77% compared to 42.25%). The Ministry of Labour has promoted employment for older persons, for example, training on independent occupations, business knowledge, capital and marketing access. Elderly female accounted for 78% of all participants attended such trainings.
Article 12: Health
Overall Situation of Women
113.An average life expectancy of Thai women is on the rise: 75.4 years for the period of 2005-2010 and projected to be 76.5 years during 2015-2020. Leading causes of death among women were cancer, and HIV/AIDS (Annex E).
114.Under the National Health Security Act B.E.2545 (2002) which promotes universal health care, the health-care coverage for Thai citizens increased from 33.5% in 1991 to 99.47% in 2009. The Act is extended the coverage to all residents in Thailand regardless of their status and ethnicity.
115.In 2007, the National Health Act B.E 2550 (2007) was passed to guarantee the right to health of all Thai people and to encourage people’s participation in the formulation of policies through the Health Assembly, which provides a forum for women to voice their concerns.
116.The right to reproductive health is specifically mentioned in the National Health Act B.E. 2550 (2007). The National Reproductive Health Development Committee has been established as a mechanism to protect the right to reproductive health of Thai people and to draft the national polices and strategies. The Committee launched the First National Policy and Strategy on Reproductive Health (2010-2014). Moreover, the Reproductive Health Act is in the drafting process.
117.Regarding female offenders and inmates, the Criminal Procedures Code was amended in 2007 to enhance protection for pregnant women offenders by reducing penalties. Furthermore, The Kamlangjai Project (Inspire) under the royal initiative of HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha with the support of the Ministry of Justice has been launched to protect the rights of mothers, including assistance to pregnant female inmates and children of inmates to improve their conditions and prepare for reintegration.
Access to birth control and prenatal health care
118.Women receiving prenatal care have increased over the years. Pregnant women completing four visits to prenatal clinics increased from 73.2% from 2002 to 88.7% in 2005 and to 92.53% in 2006. Maternal mortality rate in Thailand has slightly declined. In 2008, the rate was 7.29 per 100,000 live births, compared to 7.08 per 100,000 live births in 2009.
119.A biannual survey was conducted in 2009 to obtain basic information on reproductive health in the country. According to the survey, contraceptive methods are: contraceptive pills (35%), female sterilization (23.7%), injection (14%), condoms (2.3%) and other methods, such as morning after pills, contraceptive implants, diaphragms and male sterilization (2.5%). The survey also found that only 15% of women in reproductive age and partners received counselling on family planning. The survey led to enhanced efforts to encourage family counselling before marriage and to reduce burden of contraception on women.
120.Legalization of abortion remains a debated topic in the Thai society. In certain cases, the Thai Medical Council’s Regulation on Criteria for Performing Therapeutic Termination of Pregnancy in accordance with the Criminal Code allows therapeutic termination of pregnancy due to the physical and mental health problems of pregnant women or in case of pregnancy as a result of rape. Public education has been promoted to encourage better understanding and improve access for women to safe services.
121.According to a reproductive health survey of adolescents aged 15-24 years in 2009, 85.2% received sex education in school, including family planning and sexual transmitted diseases. Despite this, teen pregnancy remains a challenge. According to the Ministry of Interior, birth registration in 2010 shows that from total 766,370 pregnancies, girls under 15 years accounted for 3,406 or 0.44% of the pregnancies. While those under 20 years accounted for 105,487 or 12.01% of the pregnancies.
122.The government has collaborated with private sector and civil society to tackle the problem of teen pregnancy in terms of prevention, assistance and data-collection system. Some of the key initiatives include:
(1)Prevention: Adolescent Clinics have been established to provide counselling, life skills development, family planning and contraceptive information. In addition, the “Sexual Wellbeing Promotion Plan”, focusing on the promotion of safe sex, has been developed by the Women’s Health Advocacy Foundation with a support from the National Health Promotion Fund. Furthermore, The Association for the Promotion of the Status of Women, in collaboration with Education Division of the Bangkok Metropolitan, has implemented a project to provide sex education and life skills training to students. Under this project, public education materials were produced and disseminated to provide information on prevention and resources for those in need.
(2)Assistance: Services for women and girls have been provided by the public and private agencies, in terms of shelters, health care, rehabilitation and vocational training. For example, Women’s shelter under the Association for the Promotion of the Status of Women has been implementing a project for adolescent mothers aiming at strengthening mother-child bond and supporting the teen mothers to continue their education and taking care of their children at the same time. The goal was to reduce the chance of the child being put up for adoption.
(3)Database collection system: The Ministry of Public Health has developed a data base to monitor teen pregnancy and birth delivery, using the birth registration records of the Civil Registration Office to analyse and project overall situation. Policy and plans have been developed aiming at reducing teen pregnancy.
123.To reinforce collaboration among agencies concerned, the government has initiated the Strategic Plan for the Prevention of and Solution to Adolescent Pregnancies, consisting of six components: (1) prevention; (2) assistance and rehabilitation; (3) role and knowledge of opinion leaders; (4) elimination of negative media influence; (5) policy advocacy; and (6) survey, implementation system and evaluation.
Article 13: Economic and Social Aspects
124.Since the previous report, the number of population living under the poverty line has continuously declined. According to the NSO, the number women living under the poverty line dropped from 20.3% in 2000 to 7.8% in 2009, while those numbers of men decreased from 21.7% to 8.5% over the same period.
125.According to the National Statistical Office, in 2010, the ratio of female-headed households increased to 34.70% from 26.8% in 2003. Female-headed households had less income than male-headed households in general. Nevertheless, an average income of female-headed households per month increased from 12,987 baht (USD 432) per month in 2004 to 17,039 baht (USD 567) per month. In addition, households categorized as poor were found less in female-headed households than in male-headed households (6.44% compared to 6.99%).
126.The government has taken measures to ensure equal access between women and men to loans and credits and debt reduction. One notable example is the establishment of the National Village and Urban Community Fund in 2001, which benefits people from all walks of lives nationwide. The Act on National Village and Urban Community Fund provides that the committee members must be consisted of women and men in a proportionate number. The Fund aimed at: (1) creating a revolving fund for vocational development, income creation and crisis mitigation; (2) capacity building for villages and urban communities in fund management; (3) promoting self-reliance of villages and urban communities in terms of learning and initiatives and self-sufficiency. At present, Thai nationals, women and men, have accessed to 79,255 such funds, from 7,125 at the beginning, with a total value of 80 billion baht (USD 2,666 million).
Small and Medium Enterprises
127.Thailand has improved capacity of women entrepreneurs through the establishment of the Thai Women’s Small and Medium Enterprises Association in 2007. The objectives of the Association include: extending networks of women entrepreneurs; capacity building of women entrepreneurs; counselling for women entrepreneurs; incentives provision; e-training; and development of ICT skills for career development, income creation and access to information relevant to their enterprises.
Culture and Recreation
128.The National Statistical Office in 2004 revealed that women had spent leisure time close to men. Although challenges remain since women spent more time on household work and taking care of family members than men, women spent leisure times approximately 3.4 hours per day while men spent 3.8 hours per day.
129.The Cabinet resolution dated 4 December B.E. 2550 (2007) allows women to enjoy the right to engage in religious practices. Public employees and civil servants are entitled for a leave of 1-3 months for meditation and merit making. Previously, only male civil servants and employees can take ordination leave.
Article 14: Women in rural areas
130.According to the data from the National Statistical Office, households outside the municipal areas numbered 10.7 million or 52.5% with a total population of 36.6 million. Of this, 18.5 million were women and 18.1 million were men. Households categorized as poor dropped from 18.5% in 2000 to 7.2% in 2009. Female-headed household had lower poverty rate than male-headed households, which was 6.5% and 7.5% respectively.
Self-help Groups and Cooperatives
131.The National Economic and Social Development Plans attach importance to cooperatives as an institution which promotes people’s participation in the management of finance, production and commerce. Cooperatives play a vital role in supporting rural women to access revolving funds and capacity building for career opportunity. In 2010, there were 7,837 cooperatives in Thailand, with 4.27 million female members and 6.292 million male members.
Participation of Women in Community
132.Rural women participate in the community through activities provided by community organisation included vocational development groups, community banking and community welfare. In 2008, there were 41,650 community organisations recognized by the Community Organisations Development Institute (Public Organisation) with a total of 116,116 community leaders (board members). Of this, 47.39% were women.
133.The government has increased the number of medical personnel to improve access of rural population to medical services that are responsive to the local way of life and specific needs of women. The Cabinet Resolution of 7 June B.E. 2543 (2000) approved the Collaborative Project to Increase Production of Rural Doctors as well as providing opportunities for rural students to study medicines. It is expected that, from 2001-2019, the project will be able to produce a total of 6,807 doctors.
134.A survey on reproductive health by the NSO in 2009 showed that women in the rural areas started reproduction period and got married earlier than women in the urban areas. Women in the rural areas had higher number of live births than women in the municipal areas (1.40 per person compared to 1.11 per person). Women living outside municipal areas also perform breast examination at a slightly higher rate than women in the urban areas (59.8% compared to 54.6%). In addition, women outside the municipal areas had higher rate of cervical cancer check-up than women in the municipal areas (64.3% and 52.1%).
Women and Natural Disaster
135.Lessons learned from the natural disaster management from the Tsunami in 2004, indicated that gender-blind disaster management leads to unequal treatment and access assistance between women and men. The Thai government, under the supervision of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, in collaboration with other relevant stakeholders, including the civil society and NGOs has jointly developed gender-integrated guidelines on disaster management, which will be used by all stakeholders including affected communities in their work. The guidelines stress the importance of women’s participation in the entire process of disaster management as well as reducing challenges that hinder women’s access to assistance in times of disaster. In addition, various trainings have been organized for related officials in the management of disaster and rehabilitation of victims with gender perspectives.
Women in the Southern Border Provinces (SBPs)
136.The situation of violence in SBPs — Narathivas, Pattani and Yala since 2004 has had impact upon the lives of children and women. Data from MSDHS in 2010 showed that as a result of the situation of violence, 4,035 children were orphaned and 2,104 women lost their husbands.
137.A committee, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister, was appointed to be in charge of providing assistance and rehabilitation of victims of the situation of violence in SBPs. The committee comprises representatives from relevant stakeholders. Assistance has been provided to 6,811 victims, totalling 187,059,000 Baht as compensation for deaths and injuries, rehabilitation, allowances, and vocational training, among others.
138.In addition, the Southern Border Provincial Peace Building Council was established to find a constructive solution through deliberating on religious issues, gathering opinions and making recommendations as well as promoting equality and human rights. The parliament approved the Southern Border Provincial Administration Act B.E. 2553 (2010), resulting in the establishment of the Southern Border Provincial Administration and Development Council. One positive development was that at least one woman representative from each province had to be represented on the Council.
139.As a result of the violence situation, women have been more active part in economic activities and as head of the household. At the same time, women have had better access to job opportunities. Jobs without gender requirement have doubled in number (Table 23).
140.A survey of ethnic population in 2002 found 1.2 million ethnic population, of which 590,000 were women and 610,000 were men. Of this number, 950,000 were granted Thai nationality. For the remaining population, a registration has been made with a view to granting them Thai nationality. Although they are considered illegal migrants under the Thai law, their rights to residence, education, employment and health care have been ensured nevertheless. For example, they can apply for work and live temporarily in Thailand on certain conditions relating to areas and type of work.
141.A channel of complaints is available through the National Human Rights Commission. The Government in cooperation with relevant stakeholders has improved their quality of life through vocational training and income generating activities. A school was established in the northern part of the country to provide education for ethnic women and girls.
Article 15: Equality before the Law
142.Men and women have equal rights to conclude contracts, administer property, and to proceed in judicial process under the Constitution.
143.Challenges concerning equality before the law include the knowledge of women on their rights according to the law. Thailand has continuously encouraged public knowledge of the law. Furthermore, legal assistance has been provided through such authorities for instance, Justice Clinic under the Department of Civil Rights Protection, Ministry of Justice and Legal Aid Office under the Office of the Attorney-General. There are some private organizations providing legal aid specifically for women including Women Lawyers’ Association of Thailand under the Patronage of Her Majesty the Queen and Friends of Women Foundation.
Article 16: Right to Marriage and Family
144.Thailand has taken serious actions to implement the recommendations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. Progress made includes:
Protection during Betrothal
145.Sections 1445, 1446, and 1447/1 of Civil and Commercial Code were amended to give equal right to both men and women in claiming compensation from any person who has had sexual intercourse or raped or attempted to rape his or her betrothed.
Protection during Marriage
146.Section 276 of the Criminal Code was amended to broaden rape offences to cover marital rape.
147.Domestic Violence Victims Protection Act of B.E. 2550 (2007) was issued in order to provide protection to victims of domestic violence and rehabilitation of offenders. The said Act also gives an importance on behavioural change and prevention of repeated offences in order to maintain family relationship. Procedures and methods in this regard are different from normal criminal cases.
148.The Civil and Commercial Code was amended to give equal right to husbands and wives to file divorce. The amended provision stipulates that if either husband or wife supports or honours another woman as wife or another man as husband or commits adultery or has sexual intercourse with another regularly, the other shall have the right to file divorce.
149.Bigamy is prohibited under the Civil and Commercial Code. In this regard, the Ministry of Interior established an online information system for marital registration that links official registries throughout the country. The ministerial regulation on marital registration was also enacted in 1998 to allow registrars to record marital information and check a person’s marital status before endorsing the registration of a marriage.
Management of Asset
150.According to the Civil and Commercial Code, husband and wife have the right to manage their own personal asset. For marital asset, there are cases as prescribed by law that both husband and wife have to manage jointly unless one of them does so with the consent of the other (Annex F).
151.Section 1566 of the Civil and Commercial Code stipulates that minors are to be under guardianship of their mothers and fathers. In case of divorce, such guardianship is subjected to the parents’ agreement. If the agreement cannot be reached, the court will make a decision, considering the best interests of the child and his/her well-being.
152.The Form of Address for Woman Act B.E. 2551 (2008) gives the right to women to choose either to use “Miss” or “Mrs.” voluntarily. In case of dissolution of marriage, a woman can also choose whichever title she wants to use (Annex G).
153.Women and men have equal right to choose family name. Formerly, a married woman was required by law to use her husband’s family name upon marriage. Currently, Article 12 of the Name Act B.E. 2548 (2005) stipulates that spouses have the right to choose either to use the other party’s family name upon mutual agreement, or their own family names.
154.In 18 July, 2012, Thailand withdrew its reservation to Article 16 of CEDAW.