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Joint Statement The Coalition of Women and Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LBTI) Women in Thailand on Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

un-cedaw_0We, the Coalition of Women and LBTI Women in Thailand on CEDAW (the Coalition) call on the Thai Government to effectively implement the recommendations adopted by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (the CEDAW Committee).

It has been 32 years since Thailand ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (the Convention). Since that time, we have had 14 different governments, both elected and self-appointed, yet the progress made in ending discrimination against women has been very slow. Since the military coup in May 2014, our struggle for justice and equality for women in Thailand has become even more difficult due to increasing restrictions of fundamental freedoms and ongoing discrimination.

 

On 5 July 2017, the CEDAW Committee reviewed Thailand’s periodic report on its compliance with the Convention in Geneva, Switzerland. Following the review session on the 24 July 2017, the CEDAW Committee published its Concluding Observations on Thailand. We were encouraged to see that the CEDAW Committee’s concerns reflect many of the key issues for women of Thailand, and were accompanied by clear, strong recommendations.

Between 14 and 15 August 2017, our Coalition met to identify the most pressing areas that need to be addressed for the Thai government to fulfill its legal obligations to the Convention and to remedy the serious situation of women’s rights in Thailand. Based on this meeting, our Coalition urges the Thai government to prioritize the following issues in line with the recommendations by the CEDAW Committee:


Access to justice & remedies

 

The CEDAW Committee expressed concerns in Concluding Observation para. 11(a) 25 (c) 27 (d) 31 (a) 22 (a) about the barriers women face in access to justice. All women, in particular women human rights defenders must not be in fear of judicial harassment and other criminal prosecution simply for doing their work.

 

All women must have simplified access to the Justice Fund and effective legal counsel.

 

The problem of overcrowding in women’s prisons and lack of adequate facilities must be urgently addressed.

 

In addition, law enforcement must adhere to legal practices and not discriminate against women and include sensitivity for sexual diversities in the entire justice system. In particular, the practice of entrapment and violent raids targeting sex workers (and survivors of trafficking) must cease immediately.

 

Law enforcement officials who are responsible for justice procedure for women and girls who are affected by violence and human trafficking should adopt a gender-sensitive approach in justice process. Relevant and adequate support to recover must be provided for all women and girls impacted by violence and human trafficking in particular migrant women.

 

Government must prioritize safety and justice for women affected by domestic violence over mediation and reconciliation.

 

 

Participation in policy and law-making process affecting lives of women and their families

 

The CEDAW committee also noted in Concluding Observations para. 11(d), 23 (b) (c), 27 (a), 43 (c) (d) that women have little representation at legislative level, local government and in all levels of decision making bodies. The level of representation by indigenous women, ethnic and religious minorities are particularly low. Women must be involved in all levels of governance, policy and law making.

 

We are the guardians of land, forest, mountains and rivers; therefore, we must be involved in all policy impacting natural resources and environment.

 

We are mothers and workers who are also key family providers. Women must be visible in formulating economic policy, development plan, public health policy, education policy at the national and local levels.

 

We are women living in conflict-ridden southern border provinces of Thailand and must be included and participated in peace building process.

 

We are women refugees, women migrant workers, women with disabilities, sex workers and LBTI must be fully involved in any changes to law or policy affecting our lives.

 

Equal protection under the law

 

The CEDAW Committee also recommended in Concluding Observation para. 11, 27 (f), 33(c) 12, 21, 23 (d), 31 (b), 43 (b), 44 that Thailand must ensure women are entitled to equal protection under the law.

 

Women identifying as LBTI must be protected equally under all laws including, but not limited to, laws that promote gender equality, provide redress for sexual assaults, rape, and domestic violence and laws prohibiting discrimination in rights to family creation, public health services, education and employment.

 

Women deprived of liberties in any and all detention facilities must be treated according to Thai national laws and international obligations.

 

Women workers must be protected under national laws protecting labour rights including the enforcement of the labor laws to protect all workers in entertainment places.

 

Local government should adopt special measures to facilitate birth registration for children of all women including rural women and indigenous women.

 

Women human rights defenders must receive the full protection and rights guaranteed under the laws.

 

Respect for diversity

The CEDAW Committee recommended Thailand in Concluding Observation para. 19 to promote respect for diversity order to eliminate stigma and discrimination against women based on ethnicity, religion, social, economic, and political background, sexual orientations, gender identity, sex characteristic, occupation, and legal status. The Thai government also needs to address stereotypes and discrimination within governmental agencies and by government agencies with responsibility to provide social services.

 

Temporary special measures

In view of the seriousness of the discrimatory policies and practices impacting women, the CEDAW Committee has again recommended in Concluding Observation para. 17 that Thailand introduces “temporary special measures … to accelerate the realization of women’s substantive equality in all areas…”

 

the Coalition of Women and LBTI Women in Thailand on CEDAW is committed to working together to ensure these urgent issues raised are prioritized and addressed. We look forward to seeing within one year the progress made towards implementing the CEDAW Committees recommendations by the Thai Government.

 

Lastly, we call on relevant Thai authorities to translate and publicly disseminate without delay the Concluding Observations and conduct raising awareness and understanding of CEDAW among government agencies and institutions.

 

Signatories

Khon Rak Ban Kerd Group

Southern Peasants Federation of Thailand

Rak Lahu Group

Empower Foundation

People Empowerment Foundation (PEF)

Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF)

Protection International Thailand

Togetherness for Equality and Action (TEA Group)

Suwannimit Foundation

SHEro Project

Rainbow Rice Surin and Sikhoraphum Youth Group

Foundation for Women (FFW)

Women and Children Protection Foundation

Social Agenda Working Group

Patani Working Group

Indigenous Women Network of Thailand

Gender and Development Research Institution (GDRI)

Live Our Lives Group

Fairly Tell

Women’s Network for the Advancement and Peace

Women’s Movement in Thai Political Reform (WeMove)

Buku’s Gender, Sexuality and Human Rights Classroom

Migrant Workers Federation (MWF)

Community Resource Centre Foundation

Duay Jai (Hearty Support) Group

Human Rights Lawyers Association

Union Civil for Liberties

Sangsan Anakot Yawachon

CSO For gender Equality Network

Global Campus Chiangmai

Homenet Thailand

Sustainable Development Foundation

Rainbow Sky Association of Thailand

Migrant Working Group

 

 

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