* The present document is being issued without formal editing.
Information received from Thailand on follow-up to the concluding observations on its combined sixth and seventh periodic reports *
[Date received: 24 April 2020]
1.The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women considered the sixth and seventh periodic report of Thailand (CEDAW/C/THA/6-7) on 5 July 2017. In its concluding observations (CEDAW/C/THA/CO/6-7, para. 58), the Committee requested Thailand to provide written information on the steps taken to implement the recommendations contained in paragraphs 23 (b) and (e) and 43 (c) and (d).
Follow-up information relating to paragraphs 23 (b) of the concluding observations (CEDAW/C/THA/CO/6-7)
2.The situation in the Southern Border Provinces (SBPs) is rooted in various factors including socio-economic disparities, criminal elements and local political interests. Perpetrators of violence have caused incidents in the area against both security personnel and innocent people. The context of the SBPs concerns domestic law enforcement to ensure public safety and security for which domestic criminal law and human rights law are applied, whereas international humanitarian law is not applicable. Nonetheless, Thailand is committed to fulfill its obligations under core international human rights instruments that Thailand is a party to, and reaffirms its continued commitment to the Geneva Conventions.
3.Thailand is a multicultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-religious society. A number of laws, regulations and policies are in place to ensure religious freedom and peaceful coexistence of its citizens regardless of their gender. For instance, the Southern Border Provinces Administration and Development Plan B.E. 2560 – 2562 (2017–2019) promoted a multicultural society which recognizes different ethnicities and religions, as well as languages used in the SBPs.
4.The Government has systematically allocated a budget to improve facilities and conditions in public places, especially in local education institutions where people can continue their way of life and religious practices. In 2019, 12 billion baht (375 million USD) was allocated for the development and security of the SBPs, including the implementation of different projects and programmes creating transformative conditions and progressive approaches to end the violence in the SBPs, for instance, poverty alleviation programmes and income generation activities for all members of society, including women and persons with disabilities.
5.Government policies have yielded positive impacts on local dynamics and conditions in the SBPs. The number of incidents of violence in the area has decreased, especially over the last five years. In the 4th quarter of 2019, the number was 95, which was a 26.11% decrease compared to the 4th quarter of 2018 (134).
Legal and policy framework
6.Several laws and policies are in place to promote and protect the rights and freedoms of women and children. They include: the National Child and Youth Development Promotion Act B.E. 2550 (2007); the National Child Protection Strategy 2017–2021; the Protection of Victim of Domestic Violence Act B.E. 2550 (2007); the Gender Equality Act B.E. 2558 (2015); the Child Protection Act B.E. 2546 (2003); and the National Women’s Development Strategy (2017–2021).
7.Safety is provided indiscriminately in sensitive areas and soft locations such as schools, temples and markets. Security personnel are instructed to strictly follow the rules and guidelines in accordance with relevant laws while providing safety in any area. Should security personnel need to enter school compounds, transparent and verifiable procedures in line with local religions and cultures have been strictly followed.
8.The Government has given continued commitment to child protection in all circumstances, as well as the promotion and protection of the rights of children. Thailand welcomes the principles and spirit of the Safe School Declaration and is considering the possibility of its adoption. Meanwhile, relevant agencies, in particular the Department of Children and Youth and the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre (SBPAC), are already working on the protection of children in all circumstances, while also applying some of the principles of the Safe School Declaration in the child protection system where deemed appropriate.
Capacity-building and training programmes
9.Several government agencies have organized a series of programmes and training courses for government officers, including law enforcement and armed forces officers, in order to enhance the effectiveness of the implementation and the application of laws and regulations, as well as Thailand’s obligations under international human rights treaties. The international community (UN-Women, UNICEF, UNDP and ICRC) also assists in shaping the programmes in accordance with international standards. The detailed activities to disseminate knowledge on human rights and related information and education can be found in the combined fourth to eighth reports submitted by Thailand under article 9 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD/C/THA/4-8, Appendix).
10.Human rights and international humanitarian law are included in the core curriculum of the Sergeants School. One of its courses – ‘GE 21102: Human Rights for Police Officers’ – covers, among others, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women.
11.The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security (MSDHS) has developed a capacity building programme on child protection legislation, Islamic law and security laws for multi – disciplinary teams in the SBPs. Since 2018, more than 260 representatives of line agencies and CSOs in the area have participated in the programme.
12.The Government continues to pursue dialogues and consultations with all stakeholders to improve the situation in the SBPs. In 2018, the SBPAC has established a multi-disciplinary working group comprised of relevant government agencies and women representatives from civil society organizations to coordinate activities on women and children affected by the situation in the SBPs.
13.In June 2019 the Coordination Center for Children and Women in Southern Border Provinces (CCWC-SBP) was established by the SBPAC in cooperation with MSDHS and in partnership with UN-Women and UNICEF. The Center serves as a cooperation platform for government agencies and CSOs to synergize their efforts to improve the living conditions of children and women in the SBPs and move forward human rights promotion and protection for them.
14.In 2019, the CCWC-SBP received 10 million baht (312,500 USD) for 40 projects proposed by local CSOs. The Center has been tasked to drive forward the Strategic Plan for Children, Women and Families in the SBPs B.E. 2562-2564 (2019–2021), covering the areas of: (1) inclusive participation in a multicultural society; (2)equal access to quality public services; (3) innovation for effective development; (4) promotion of a positive attitude towards gender equality; and (5) data collection and analysis.
Empowerment of women and girls
15.The MSDHS has implemented programmes and projects that incorporated modules on empowerment and capacity-building for women and children, in order to provide them with better understanding of the situation and approaches to address challenges and opportunities. Some participants became agents of change in their communities and further promoted dialogues between the authorities and local communities.
16.The Government has also worked with civil society organizations to empower women and children affected by the situation in the SBPs. For example, the Government collaborated with the Association of Women for Peace to include the needs of women and children in the decision-making process. In selected communities, they participate in pilot projects in local tourism and market management that lead to sustained dialogues and community development.
17.In 2018 and 2019, the SBPAC annually provided grants to 80 villages under the village and community development project to enhance the participation of women in the villages’ committees, including in the process of development planning.
18.The Peace Operations Centre, Internal Security Operations Command Region 4 (Forward Command) and the Ministry of Education have engaged children including girls through the Association of Educational Inspiration for Southern Border Provinces in the promotion of sport skills for students in the SBPs. A memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Education and the Association has been concluded to this end.
19.On violence against women and children, the Government has established various protection and prevention measures and mechanisms to empower women and children in such cases. The many mechanisms include the 1300 telephone – hotline service and the Social Assistance Centre which provides social assistance to those in need across the country. In parallel, gender discrimination complaints can be filed either directly with the Department of Women’s Affairs and Family Development of the MSDHS, or to the eight Women and Family Development Learning Centres in different regions. The submitted complaints will then be considered by the Committee on the Consideration of Gender Discrimination to ensure that the victims of gender discrimination receive legal remedies and compensation.
Follow-up information relating to paragraphs 23 (e) of the concluding observations (CEDAW/C/THA/CO/6-7)
20.Thailand firmly supports the UN’s Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda under UNSC Resolution 1325 (2000). The Government has established the Sub‑Committee on Women, Peace and Security under the National Committee on the Policies and Strategies for Women Advancement as the primary policy body on the WPS agenda, comprising representatives from relevant government agencies and civil society members such as women advocacy groups.
21.Since 2016 Thailand has adopted the National Measures and Guidelines on WPS (2017–2021), which is equivalent to a national action plan on WPS. With both an internal and external outlook, it provides a framework to enhance the role of women to address conflict, political and social unrest at national and international levels, as well as to promote the protection of women, access to justice for all, women’s participation in peacebuilding and security, and other areas of the UNSC Resolution 1325 (2000). It also sets out a coordinated whole of government approach in partnership with the international community, including partner governments, multilateral organizations and civil society.
22.To review the National Measures and Guidelines Documents on WPS, the MSDHS, in collaboration with UN-Women and relevant stakeholders, has annually organized a national consultation on WPS with the participation of more than 100 female leaders from the SBPs. These national consultations have addressed women’s and girls’ needs in their local context and advocates for economic opportunities, social cohesion and community resilience. The outcomes of the national consultations were submitted to the National Sub-Committee on WPS and were subsequently presented as policy recommendations to the National Committee on the Policies and Strategies for Women Advancement.
23.The implementation of the National Measures and Guidelines on WPS has been further strengthened and supported by the CCWC-SBP, as mentioned in paragraphs 13–14. The CCWC-SBP has been tasked to serve as an important mechanism in the development of coherent and complementary programmes, policies and activities between the two frameworks for the effective promotion and protection of the rights of children and women across all aspects of peace and security, justice process, economic empowerment and sustainable development.
Follow-up information relating to paragraphs 43 (c) of the concluding observations (CEDAW/C/THA/CO/6-7)
24.Thailand attaches importance to effective consultations with stakeholders, including women and children. Section 77 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand, B.E. 2560 (2017), requires that prior to the enactment of every law, the State should (i) conduct consultation with stakeholders, (ii) analyze any impacts that may occur from the law thoroughly and systematically, and (iii) disclose the results of the consultation and analysis to the public, as well as to take them into consideration at every stage of the legislative process. It requires that when the law has come into force, the State undertakes a comprehensive evaluation of the implementation of the law at every specified period of time, for which consultations with stakeholders shall be conducted, with a view to ensuring that all laws are suitable to and appropriate for the changing contexts. To that effect, the Constitution obligates all State agencies to comply with, and the Council of State to ensure the compliance of, the relevant public hearing procedures when proposing a draft law.
25.Public consultations take different forms during the Thai legislative process, so as to ensure that implemented laws do not violate anyone’s rights. According to Section 77 of the Constitution, laws are introduced only to the extent of necessity. Thailand also continues to repeal or revise laws that are no longer necessary or unsuitable to the circumstances, or are obstacles to livelihoods or engagement in occupations, without delay, so as not to impose burdens upon the public.
26.Concerning any undertaking by the State or any person permitted by the State that may severely affect the natural resources, environmental quality, health, sanitation, quality of life or any other essential interests of the people or community or environment, Section 58 of the Constitution prescribes that the State shall undertake to study and assess the impact on environmental quality and health of the people or community and shall arrange a public hearing of relevant stakeholders, people and communities in advance in order to take them into consideration for the implementation or granting of permission as provided by the law. A person or community shall have the rights to receive information, explanation and reasons from a State agency prior to the implementation or granting of that permission. In the implementation or granting of the permission, the State shall take precautions to minimize the impact on people, community, environment, and biodiversity and shall undertake to remedy the grievance or damage to the affected people or community in a fair manner without delay.
27.The National Parks Act, B.E. 2562 (2019) replaced the National Park Act, B.E. 2504 (1961) and puts in place provisions to allow people who are landless and have resided in or utilized the national park within the timeframe under the Cabinet’s resolution of 30 June B.E. 2541 (1998) to reside in or utilize the national park for a tenure period up to 20 years per each permission on a case-by-case basis, subject to certain conditions and in conformity with the objectives to preserve, restore and maintain good conditions of natural resources, ecosystem and biodiversity of “the National Park” approved by the Cabinet. The organization of public hearing of all stakeholders is required before the establishment, extension and revocation of the boundary of the National Park (Section 8) and included in the management plan of the National Park (Section 18). The law requires that the assessment of land occupation in the protected areas be conducted within 240 days from the date at which the Act comes into force (29 May 2019). Not only does it for the first time provides opportunities for ethnic communities to secure land tenure, to continue a traditional way of life, including a traditional rotational farming system, and to preserve their cultural integrity, but it also helps to reduce land conflicts in the protected areas while strictly prohibiting land encroachment and land trespassing. The law is expected to benefit around 2,700 communities staying in the protected areas of about 5.9 million rai (0.944 million hectares), including the national parks and the wildlife sanctuary areas.
28.The Wildlife Reservation and Protection Act, B.E. 2562 (2019), which replaces the Wildlife Reservation and Protection Act, B.E. 2535 (1992), allows people who are landless and have resided in or utilized the wildlife sanctuary area or non-hunting zone within the timeframe under the Cabinet’s resolution of 30 June 1998 with the same conditions to those applied in the National Parks Act, B.E. 2562 (2019), to reside in or utilize the wildlife sanctuary area or non-hunting zone for a tenure period up to 20 years per each permission.
29.The National Land Policy Committee Act, B.E. 2562 (2019) was enacted in May 2019 as a legal basis for the work of the National Land Policy Committee, which successfully allocated 1,294,197 rai (207,071 hectares) (as of March 2019) to the public. The Committee continues to work on the policy on land allocation to the public and to approve under the said Act the allocations of land plots of various categories to the public with the rights to access and utilize without ownership.
30.The Community Forest Act, B.E. 2562 (2019) allows those local residents (not less than 50 people) living in the same district (‘Amphur’) as forests, which do not form a part of the reserved forests (under the Community Forest Act) and areas that belong to the government to submit a proposal to authorized agencies on the utilization and conservation of the forest with a renewable five-year plan. Permission will be granted directly by a community committee, as opposed to a local authority. This Act addresses the national interest in conserving and rehabilitating forest areas with the assistance of the forest – dependent community, and at the same time protecting the rights of the community on natural resources.
31.On provision of adequate compensation, the 2017 Constitution, the 20-year National Strategy (2018–2037) and the 11 supporting National Reform Plans reaffirm the ground rules of human rights promotion and protection, including in ensuring access to effective remedies for victims of human rights violations. Section 58 of the Constitution clearly illustrates the State’s obligations to remedy the grievance or damage for the affected people or community in a fair manner without delay, as mentioned in paragraph 26. In addition, various positive developments for judicial remedies have been recognized by the report of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises (A/HRC/41/43/Add.1, para. 76–77).
Follow-up information relating to paragraphs 43 (d) of the concluding observations (CEDAW/C/THA/CO/6-7)
32.Thailand attaches importance to the principles of gender equality and promotion and protection of the rights of women and girls and their dignity on the basis of values enshrined in international instruments and highlighted in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly Goal 5 and related goals and targets.
33.The Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council has developed a national road map to realize each of the Sustainable Development Goals. Women and children are included in relevant goals and targets.
34.Thailand’s implementation of Goal 5 is also achieved through several related frameworks, including: the Women Development Strategy (2017–2021); the Action Plan on the Women Development Strategy; the plan to promote the roles of female civil servants in the decision-making process; as well as programmes to protect women in vulnerable situations and their families and equip them with skill sets necessary for living and building resilience. Thailand is currently developing an Action Plan on the Elimination of Violence against Women and reviewing laws and regulations related to the promotion and protection of women’s and children’s rights, including women’s empowerment, access to justice for women and the roles of women in the judicial system.
35.To address the health aspects of Goal 5 for rural women, the Ministry of Public Health has established the One-Stop Crisis Centres operating in district hospitals and, since 2013, in community health centres across the country. Thailand has also initiated a number of projects and measures to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, including in improving women’s and children’s health, addressing adolescent pregnancy and developing guidelines for gender study and life skills.
36.On rural women’s empowerment, Thailand has put an emphasis on ensuring equal access to education for all. The Gender Parity Index (GPI) illustrates the growing number of women and girls with access to education at schools, especially in rural areas. According to the World Bank, the GPI of girls attending primary and secondary school increased from 0.978 in 2015 to 0.989 in 2018. In addition, eight Women and Family Development Learning Centres have been established in different regions across Thailand. More information on women’s empowerment can be found in paragraphs 15–19.
37.Thailand recognizes that WPS and SDGs 5 and 16 are closely linked since a society can only achieve sustainable peace through an integrated, inclusive approach, incorporating development and human rights for all. Relating to paragraphs 20–23, the WPS Agenda is also a platform to boost women’s catalytic role in advancing peace and security, which is the cornerstone of sustainable development.