Kingdom of Thailand
Ratcha Anachak Thai
Joined United Nations: 16 December 1946
Human Rights as assured by their constitution
Updated 10 December 2012
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due
to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower
population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than
would otherwise be expected (July 2012 est.)
Yinglak Chinnawat (Yingluck Shinawatra)
Prime Minister since 08 August 2011
Monarch is hereditary and selects the Heir Apparent
Next scheduled election: None
HEAD OF GOVERNMENT
Prime minister elected from among members of House of
Representatives; following national elections for House of
Representatives, the leader of the party positioned to organize a
majority coalition usually becomes prime minister by
appointment by the king; the prime minister limited to two
four-year terms; election last held: 3 July 2011
Next scheduled election: July 2015
|DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Thai 75%, Chinese 14%, other 11%
Buddhist 94.6%, Muslim 4.6%, Christian 0.7%, other 0.1% (2000 census)
Constitutional monarchy with 76 provinces (changwat, singular and plural); Legal system is a based on civil law system, with influences
of common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Executive: Monarch is hereditary; according to 2007 constitution, prime minister is designated from among members of House of
Representatives; following national elections for House of Representatives, leader of party that could organize a majority coalition usually
was appointed prime minister by king; prime minister is limited to two 4-year terms next election: TBD
Legislative: Bicameral National Assembly or Rathasapha consisted of the Senate or Wuthisapha (150 seats; 77 members elected
by popular vote representing 77 provinces, 73 appointed by judges and independent government bodies; members serve six-year
terms) and the House of Representatives or Sapha Phuthaen Ratsadon (500 seats; 375 members elected from 375 single-seat
constituencies and 125 elected on proportional party-list basis; members serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held on 2 March 2008 (next to be held in March 2014); House of Representatives - last election held on 3
July 2011 (next to be held by July 2015)
Judicial: Supreme Court or Sandika (judges appointed by the monarch)
Thai, English (secondary language of the elite), ethnic and regional dialects
Prior to the southwards migration of the Tai people from Yunnan in the 10th century, the Indochina peninsula had been a home to
various indigenous animistic communities for as far back as 500,000 years ago. Historians agree that the diverse Austro-Asiatic
groups that inhabited the Indochina peninsula are related to the people whom to date inhabit the islands of the Pacific. These
peoples were dispersed along the Gulf of Thailand, Malay Peninsula and Malay Archipelago, they inhabited the coastal areas of the
archipelago as well as other remote islands. The seafarers possessed advanced navigation skills, some of the seafarers sailed as far
as New Zealand, Hawaii and Madagascar. The most well known pre-historic settlement in Thailand is often associated to the major
archaeological site at Ban Chiang; dating of artefacts from this site is a consensus that at least by 3600 BC, the inhabitants had
developed bronze tools and also began the cultivation of rice. They date the founding of their nation to the 13th century. According
to tradition, Thai chieftains gained independence from the Khmer Empire at Sukhothai, which was established as a sovereign
Kingdom by Pho Khun Si Indrathit in 1238. A political feature called, in Thai, 'father governs children' existed at this time.
Everybody could bring their problems to the king directly; there was a bell in front of the palace for this purpose. The city briefly
dominated the area under King Ramkhamhaeng, who established the Thai alphabet, but after his death in 1365 it fell into decline
and became subject to another emerging Thai state known as the Ayutthaya kingdom, which dominated southern and central
Thailand until the 1700s.Another Thai state that coexisted with Sukhothai was the northern state of Lanna. This state emerged in the
same period as Sukhothai, but survived longer. Its independent history ended in 1558, when it fell to the Burmese; thereafter it was
dominated by Burma and Ayutthaya in turn before falling to the army of the Siamese King Taksin in 1775. The first ruler of the
Kingdom of Ayutthaya, King Ramathibodi I, made two important contributions to Thai history: the establishment and promotion of
Theravada Buddhism as the official religion — to differentiate his kingdom from the neighbouring Hindu kingdom of Angkor — and
the compilation of the Dharmashastra, a legal code based on Hindu sources and traditional Thai custom. The Dharmashastra
remained a tool of Thai law until late in the 19th century. Beginning with the Portuguese in the 16th century, Ayutthaya had some
contact with the West, but until the 1800s, its relations with neighbouring nations as well as with India and China, were of primary
importance. Ayutthaya dominated a considerable area, ranging from the Islamic states on the Malay Peninsula to states in northern
Thailand. Nonetheless, the Burmese, who had control of Lanna and had also unified their kingdom under a powerful dynasty,
launched several invasion attempts in the 1750s and 1760s. Finally, in 1767, the Burmese attacked the city and conquered it. The
royal family fled the city where the king died of starvation ten days later. The Ayutthaya royal line had been extinguished. Overall
there are 33 kings in this period, including an unofficial king. After more than 400 years of power, in 1767, the Kingdom of
Ayutthaya was brought down by invading Burmese armies, its capital burned, and the territory split. General Taksin managed to
reunite the Thai kingdom from his new capital of Thonburi and declared himself king in 1769. However, Taksin allegedly became
mad, and he was deposed, taken prisoner, and executed in 1782. General Chakri succeeded him in 1782 as Rama I, the first king
of the Chakri dynasty. In the same year he founded the new capital city at Bangkok, across the Chao Phraya river from Thonburi,
Taksin's capital. In the 1790s Burma was defeated and driven out of Siam, as it was now called. Lanna also became free of
Burmese occupation, but the king of a new dynasty was installed in the 1790s was effectively a puppet ruler of the Chakri monarch.
The heirs of Rama I became increasingly concerned with the threat of European colonialism after British victories in neighbouring
Burma in 1826. The first Thai recognition of Western power in the region was the Treaty of Amity and Commerce with the United
Kingdom in 1826. In 1833, the United States began diplomatic exchanges with Siam, as Thailand was called until 1939, and again
between 1945 and 1949. However, it was during the later reigns of King Chulalongkorn, and his father King Mongkut, that
Thailand established firm rapprochement with Western powers. It is a widely held view in Thailand that the diplomatic skills of these
monarchs, combined with the modernising reforms of the Thai Government, made Siam the only country in South and Southeast
Asia to avoid European colonisation. The Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909 made the modern border between Siam and British
Malaya by securing the Thai authority on the provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Satun, which were previously part of the
semi‐independent Malay sultanates of Pattani and Kedah. A series of treaties with France fixed the country's current eastern
border with Laos and Cambodia. The Siamese coup d'état of 1932 transformed the Government of Thailand from an absolute to a
constitutional monarchy. King Prajadhipok initially accepted this change but later surrendered the throne to his ten year old nephew,
Ananda Mahidol. Although nominally a constitutional monarchy, Thailand was ruled by a series of military governments, most
prominently led by Luang Phibunsongkhram and Sarit Dhanarajata, interspersed with brief periods of democracy. In early January
1941, Thailand invaded French Indochina, beginning the French-Thai War. The Thais, better equipped and outnumbering the
French forces, easily took Laos. The French decisively won the naval Battle of Koh Chang. After the end of World War II, Prime
Minister Pridi Phanomyong agreed to return the captured territories to France, as a condition for admission to the newly created
United Nations. On December 8, 1941, a few hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan demanded the right to move troops
across Thailand to the Malayan frontier. Japan invaded the country and engaged the Thai army for six to eight hours before Phibun
ordered an armistice. Shortly thereafter Japan was granted free passage, and on December 21, 1941, Thailand and Japan signed a
military alliance with a secret protocol wherein Tokyo agreed to help Thailand get back territories lost to the British and French
colonial powers and Thailand undertook to assist Japan in her war against the Allies. After Japan's defeat in 1945, with the help of a
group of Thais known as Seri Thai who were supported by the United States, Thailand was treated as a defeated country by the
British and French, although American support mitigated the Allied terms. Thailand was not occupied by the Allies, but it was
forced to return the territory it had gained to the British and the French. In the postwar period Thailand enjoyed close relations with
the United States, which it saw as a protector from the communist revolutions in neighbouring countries. Post-1973 has been
marked by a struggle to define the political contours of the state. It was won by the King and General Prem Tinsulanonda, who
favoured a democratic constitutional order. The post-1973 years have seen a difficult and sometimes bloody transition from military
to civilian rule, with several reversals along the way. The revolution of 1973 inaugurated a brief, unstable period of democracy, with
military rule being reimposed after a bloody right-wing coup in 1976. For most of the 1980s, Thailand was ruled by Prem, a
democratically-inclined strongman who restored parliamentary politics. Thereafter the country remained a democracy apart from a
brief period of military rule from 1991 to 1992. The populist Thai Rak Thai party, led by prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, came
to power in 2001. On September 19, 2006, with the prime minister in New York for a meeting of the UN, Army Commander-in-
Chief Lieutenant General Sonthi Boonyaratglin launched a successful coup d'état. In mid-2008, the People's Alliance for
Democracy (PAD) led large protests against the government of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, whom they criticized for his ties
to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. On 26 August 2008, the protesters illegally occupied several government ministries,
including the Government House which they sacked, to force the government to give in to demands. Beginning August 29,
protesters disrupted air and rail infrastructure, including Suvarnabhumi airport. They have never been prosecuted. The chaos ended
in December when three of the parties that formed the government were dissolved by the Constitutional Court for election fraud.
After this decision, many previous coalition partners of the government then defected and joined the main opposition party, the
Democrat party, and refusing elections to immediately form a new government in the favour of the old guard elites. On July 3, 2011,
opposition Pheu Thai Party won general elections in a landslide.
Source: Wikipedia: History of Thailand
With a well-developed infrastructure, a free-enterprise economy, generally pro-investment policies, and strong export industries,
Thailand enjoyed solid growth from 2000 to 2007 - averaging more than 4% per year - as it recovered from the Asian financial
crisis of 1997-98. Thai exports - mostly machinery and electronic components, agricultural commodities, and jewelry - continue to
drive the economy, accounting for more than half of GDP. The global financial crisis of 2008-09 severely cut Thailand's exports,
with most sectors experiencing double-digit drops. In 2009, the economy contracted 2.3%. In 2010, Thailand's economy expanded
7.8%, its fastest pace since 1995, as exports rebounded from their depressed 2009 level. Steady economic growth at just below
4% during the first three quarters of 2011 was interrupted by historic flooding in October and November in the industrial areas
north of Bangkok, crippling the manufacturing sector and leading to a revised growth rate of only 0.1% for the year. The industrial
sector is poised to recover from the second quarter of 2012 onward, however, and the government anticipates the economy will
probably grow between 5.5 and 6.5% for 2012, while private sector forecasts range between 3.8% and 5.7%.
Source: CIA World Factbook (select Thailand)
On October 7, 20008, Deputy Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh resigned and admitted partial responsibility for violence due
to police tear gas clearance of the blockade of the parliament, causing injuries to 116 protesters, 21, seriously injured. His
resignation letter stated: "Since this action did not achieve what I planned, I want to show my responsibility for this operation." But
after dispersal, 5'000 demonstrators returned and blocked all 4 entries to the parliament building. On November 26, 2008, the
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) issued a statement saying that the current crisis is a watershed moment for democracy
and rule of law in Thailand. It contains harsh critique of PAD and the criminal justice system of Thailand. This critique should not be
seen as one-sided as AHRC have a history of also being critical of the current goverment (per Nov 2008), the Thai Supreme Court,
the earlier military junta and the former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Since the rise of the new government of Abhisit,
Thaksin's loyalists vowed to oppose it. In April 2009, Thaksin's supporters, known as 'The Red Shirts', began its huge
anti-government demonstration aiming at the resignation of the prime minister and the dissolution of the House of the
Representatives. The major site of the demonstration was in Bangkok.
On May 3, the Thai Prime Minister announced he was willing to hold elections on November 14 should the opposition red shirts
accept the offer. The following day red shirt leaders accepted the proposal to leave the occupied parts of Bangkok in return for
election on the scheduled date. However, one week later, May 10, protesters had yet to disband despite accepting the 'road map'
proposed by the prime minister for early 2010 November elections. They placed new demands upon the Prime minister that Deputy
Prime Minster Suthep Thaugsuban, who was in charge of security operations on the clash of April 10th, must first turn himself in for
prosecution before they willingly disperse. May 11 Suthep presented himself to the Department of Special Investigation. The
red-shirt protesters however were not satisfied and demanded Suthep be formally charged instead by police. The red shirts failure
to disperse was taken as a decline of the conciliatory 'road map' and Prime minister Abhisit's proposal of early parliamentary
elections were withdrawn. This was followed by a warning issued from the Prime minister that protesters must disperse or face
imminent military action. Furthermore the 'red shirts' led another protest on the 19th May. 40 people were killed and over 600
Source: Wikipedia: Politics of Thailand
Separatist violence in Thailand's predominantly Muslim southern provinces prompt border closures and controls with Malaysia to
stem terrorist activities; Southeast Asian states have enhanced border surveillance to check the spread of avian flu; talks continue on
completion of demarcation with Laos but disputes remain over several islands in the Mekong River; despite continuing border
committee talks, Thailand must deal with Karen and other ethnic rebels, refugees, and illegal cross-border activities, and as of 2006,
over 116,000 Karen and other refugees and asylum seekers from Burma; Cambodia and Thailand dispute sections of boundary; in
2011 Thailand and Cambodia resorted to arms in the dispute over the location of the boundary on the precipice surmounted by
Preah Vihear temple ruins, awarded to Cambodia by ICJ decision in 1962 and part of a planned UN World Heritage site; Thailand
is studying the feasibility of jointly constructing the Hatgyi Dam on the Salween river near the border with Burma; in 2004,
international environmentalist pressure prompted China to halt construction of 13 dams on the Salween River that flows through
China, Burma, and Thailand; 140,000 mostly Karen refugees fleeing civil strife, political upheaval and economic stagnation in Burma
live in remote camps in Thailand near the border
Refugees (country of origin): 95,718 (Burma)
IDPs: undetermined (ethno-nationalist violence in South of country) (2010)
A minor producer of opium, heroin, and marijuana; transit point for illicit heroin en route to the international drug market from
Burma and Laos; eradication efforts have reduced the area of cannabis cultivation and shifted some production to neighboring
countries; opium poppy cultivation has been reduced by eradication efforts; also a drug money-laundering center; minor role in
methamphetamine production for regional consumption; major consumer of methamphetamine since the 1990s despite a series of
|HUMAN RIGHTS STATEMENTS, ANALYSIS AND CRITIQUES
|2011 Human Rights Report: Thailand
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
May 25, 2012
Thailand is a constitutional monarchy with a revered king who has traditionally exerted strong influence. A coalition government led by
Yingluck Shinawatra and her Puea Thai (For Thais) Party came to power in August following national elections on July 3 for the
National Assembly lower house that were generally viewed as free and fair. Security forces reported to civilian authorities.
The most persistent human rights problems included the following: a number of abuses by government security forces and local defense
volunteers in southern Thailand in the context of the continuing Muslim separatist insurgency; the continued reported use at times of
excessive force by security forces, including police killing, torturing, and otherwise abusing criminal suspects, detainees, and prisoners;
and continued government limits on freedoms of speech and press.
Other human rights problems included poor, overcrowded, and unsanitary prison and detention facility conditions; occasional arbitrary
arrests and detention; government limits on freedom of assembly; insufficient protection for vulnerable populations, including refugees;
violence and discrimination against women; sex tourism; sexual exploitation of children; trafficking in persons; discrimination against
persons with disabilities, minorities, hill tribe members, and foreign migrant workers; child labor; and some limitations on worker rights.
Authorities occasionally dismissed, arrested, prosecuted, and convicted security force members who committed abusive behavior, but
official impunity continued to be a serious problem, especially in provinces where the 2005 Emergency Decree, the 2008 Internal
Security Act, and martial law remained invoked.
In the southernmost provinces, the great majority of victims of the violence associated with the separatist insurgency were civilians not
taking an active part in hostilities.
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31 August 2012
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
6 – 31 August 2012
Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 9 of the Convention
Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
2. The Committee welcomes the combined periodic report submitted by the State party, which conforms to the Committee‟s guidelines
for the preparation of treaty-specific reports, despite the delay in submitting. The Committee also welcomes the submission of the
Common Core Document (HRI/CORE/THA/2012).
3. The Committee appreciates the open and frank dialogue it had with the large inter-ministerial and high-level delegation and welcomes
the supplementary information provided during the consideration of the report.
B. Positive aspects
4. The Committee welcomes the following legislative and other measures taken by the State party:
(a) The adoption of the 2012 Comprehensive Strategy on Resolving the Problems of Irregular Migrants;
(b) The adoption of the 2008 Civil Registration Act Number 2, which allows for the registration of all persons born in the State party,
irrespective of the origin or status of the parents;
(c) The allocation of moneys from a public budget to compensate the victims of the violence in the Southern Border Provinces and to
implement the Development Plan for the Special Area in the Southern Border Provinces for 2009-2012;
(d) The adoption of the 2008 Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act.
C. Concerns and recommendations
Domestic application of the Convention
7. Noting the State party‟s dualist system of reception of international treaties, the Committee expresses concern that the State party has
not taken sufficient measures to incorporate the provisions of the Convention in its domestic law.
The Committee urges the State party to take stock of existing legislation governing the elimination of racial discrimination with a view to
taking the most appropriate approach to give effect to all provisions of the Convention. The Committee also recommends that, in this
regard, the State party take account of the relevant recommendations in the present concluding observations.
The interpretative declaration
8. The Committee is concerned that the interpretative declaration on the Convention made by the State party, according to which it does
not recognize „any obligation beyond the confines of its Constitution and law,‟ is incompatible with the obligation of the State party
under article 2 of the Convention to use all means, including legislation, to prohibit and bring racial discrimination to an end. (art. 2)
The Committee urges the State party to build on the momentum gained through the Universal Periodic Review commitment to lift
reservations to international human rights treaties, and withdraw its interpretative declaration on the Convention.
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Thailand Rules Lese Majeste Law Constitutional, Extends Crackdown on Free Expression
Oct 12 2012 - 4:41pm
The decision by Thailand’s Constitutional Court to rule that Article 112 of the Criminal Code - the ‘lese majeste law’ - is a devastating
blow to freedom of expression and internet freedom in Thailand and contradicts the constitution’s mandate to protect human rights.
The Thai government has used Article 112 of the Criminal Code (Lèse Majesté) – which criminalizes defamation of the royal family – to
curtail the space for diverse political opinions and freedom of expression online and offline.
The constitutional court’s ruling was based on petitions submitted to the Criminal Court by two individuals—Somyos Prueksakasemsuk
and Ekachai Hongkangwan—who were charged under Article 112. Prueksakasemsuk has been in detention since April 2011 after
publishing two articles about lese majeste. Hongkangwan, a vendor, was released on bail after arrested for selling CD’s containing
content that ‘violated’ the lese majeste law.
“Convicting and imprisoning ordinary citizens for expressing their opinions, even if deemed insulting to the royal family, does less for
promoting national unity than for instilling fear and self-censorship among the population,” said Courtney Radsch, senior program
manager for the Global Freedom of Expression Campaign at Freedom House.
Thailand is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2012 and Freedom of the Press 2012, and Not Free in Freedom of the Net 2012.
Fines and imprisonment for defamation and criticism of the government are often used to silence government critics. The end of 2011
saw an increase in repressive practices through a new online monitoring agency and the expanded use of lèse-majesté laws. In
December 2011, U.S. citizen Joe Gordon was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for posting a link on his website to a book
that was critical of the monarchy. In May 2012, Ampon Tangnoppakul, known as “Uncle SMS,” died while serving a 20-year prison
sentence after he was convicted for sending text messages “offending the Thai royal family.” Tangnoppakul denied all charges against
him, claiming he did not even know how to send a text message. The same month, webmaster Chiranuch (Jiew) Premchaiporn was
handed an eight-month suspended prison sentence and forced to pay a fine for comments posted by visitors on her online forum.
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Thailand: Teachers and students targeted in Thailand
28 November 2012
TEACHERS AND STUDENTS TARGETED IN THAILAND
The lives of teachers and students in Thailand’s southern provinces are at risk. At least four teachers have been killed and two injured in
targeted attacks by suspected insurgents since October. The most recent occurred on 22 November, when a headmistress was killed in
On 22 November a headmistress died after two suspected insurgents shot her in the head and chest, 100 metres from her school. Since
October 2012 at least four teachers have been killed and two wounded in attacks by suspected insurgents in which the teachers appear
to have specifically been targeted. Teachers in southern Thailand went on strike on 27 November in a bid for greater state protection and
to protest against insurgent violence. This has led to the closure of over 300 schools in the region.
Since violence by separatist insurgents began in Thailand’s southern provinces in January 2004, government teachers and state schools
have been targets for attack. Media reports state that since 2004 suspected insurgents have killed more than 150 teachers and educational
personnel; wounded more than 140 school staff; and conducted numerous arson and bomb attacks on schools. After a two year lull,
arson attacks on schools restarted in 2012. Attacks carried out on military personnel providing protection to schools and school buses
have also led toteacher and student casualties.
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Thailand: Obama Should Press Yingluck on Rights
Strong US-Thai Relations Should Advance Justice, Free Speech
November 15, 2012
((Bangkok) – US President Barack Obama should publicly raise concerns about Thailand’s human rights record during meetings with
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in Bangkok on November 18, 2012. Obama will visit Thailand ahead of Burma and Cambodia for the
US-ASEAN Summit and the East Asia Summit.
The Thai government needs to address an extensive list of human rights problems, Human Rights Watch said, including lack of
accountability for security force abuses, restrictions on free expression, and the failure to protect the rights of Thailand’s large
population of refugees, asylum seekers, and migrant workers.
“President Obama doesn’t need to tread lightly in discussing Thailand’s rights record,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights
Watch. “An important benefit of having a close diplomatic relationship is that Obama can be frank and forthright in raising concerns.”
Obama should take up concerns about abuses by the military and police in Thailand’s southern border provinces, where the government
is fighting a separatist insurgency that has been responsible for numerous bombings and killings. Thai security personnel have been
implicated in extrajudicial killings, torture, and enforced disappearances. While abuses have declined since Yingluck took office in August
2011, no security forces personnel have been prosecuted for past or recent human rights abuses.
“Ensuring accountability is not only a matter of justice for victims of abuses, but evidence that the Thai government is committed to
becoming a rights-respecting democracy,” Adams said.
The right to freedom of expression, including on the internet, has become an increasing concern in recent years, Human Rights Watch
said. Thai authorities continue to bring prosecutions against individuals deemed to be critical of the Thai monarchy under the country’s
lese majeste laws, as well as against activists, journalists, and academics critical of the government. Prosecutions for criminal defamation
are often initiated by private individuals, including government officials.
Since December 2011, more than 5,000 webpages with alleged lese majeste content have been blocked by Thai authorities, Human
Rights Watch said. Lese majeste prosecutions also target intermediaries, such as web masters and magazine editors, which has led to
widespread self-censorship. Often people charged with lese majeste offenses have been denied bail and remain jailed for many months
awaiting trial. In many cases, those convicted receive very harsh sentences. Amphon Tangnoppakul, known as “Uncle SMS,” who was
sentenced in November 2011 to 20 years in prison for sending four lese majeste text messages in 2010, died in prison at age 62 on May
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UN Women commends Thailand’s progress and is ready to support the government in effort to promote women’s
December 6, 2012
The Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, Ms. Michelle Bachelet paid a courtesy visit to PM Yingluck
Shinawatra in order to exchange views and information on women-related issues and to build collaboration network between Thailand
and UN Women.
December 6, 2012, at 1400 hrs, The Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of United Nation Entity for Gender Equality and
Women’s Empowerment (UN Women), Ms. Michelle Bachelet paid a courtesy visit to PM Yingluck Shinawatra at the Ivory Room, Thai
Kuh Fah Building, the Government House. Gist is as follows:
Ms. Bachelet extended her humble wishes to H.M. the King and expressed her impression on the celebration for H.M. the King’s
birthday, which reflects profound loyalty of Thai subjects to H.M. the King. She also congratulated PM Yingluck on her achievement of
being the first female Prime Minister of Thailand which shows involvement of Thai women in political arena.
PM Yingluck emphasized the Government’s effort in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment and was glad to exchange
views with Ms. Bachelet, who is an experienced woman and has brought about positive changes to women around the world. Ms.
Bachelet was the first female Defense Minister and the first female President of Chile and Latin American Region by election.
Ms. Bachelet commended Thailand’s progress in the promotion of women’s empowerment and expressed her appreciation to HRH
Princess Bajrakitiyabha, who puts so much effort in the women issues. HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha’s role as UNIFEM’s Goodwill
Ambassador has created social awareness to end violence against women, and has resulted in the initiation of the Bangkok Rules, which
was developed with an aim to be supplement of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. Prime
Minister Yingluck is also a good role model in women’s empowerment to other countries for her establishment of “Women’s
Empowerment Fund” which enables women to access funds to strengthen their productive capacities, and generate incomes to support
their families. The Fund also promotes women’s rights to choose their community leaders, enhance their welfare, and ease their
problems. For this, UN Women is ready to provide support and share UN’s experiences with the Thai Government.
Moreover, PM Yingluck mentioned about Thailand’s draft legislative act on gender equality which is in compliance particularly with the
Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), and will truly empower Thai women. The draft
is now under the consideration of the Thai National Assembly.
PM Yingluck also reiterated Thailand’s support on the operations of UN Women in Thailand and in the regional and global levels which
includes the Every Women Every Child project, an initiative of UN Secretary-General. Ms. Bachelet appreciated Thailand’s collaboration
with UN in all areas and commended the country for an early achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Executive
Director of UN Women also reaffirmed collaborations with Thailand for post-2015 development agenda, and Sustainable Development
Goals (SDGs). It will also support Thailand’s membership in the UN Women’s Executive Board during 2013-2015.
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Open letter on suggestions towards an exception in Article 3 of the Gender Equality Bill B.E. ….
Subject: Suggestions towards an exception in Article 3 of the Gender Equality Bill B.E. ….
Referring to petitions received by the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand from several networks concerning the Gender
Equality Bill B.E. … that had been approved as a government cabinet resolution on 2nd April 2012 and is being prepared for submission
to the House of Representatives for consideration, the petitions indicated that certain contents of this Bill were not clear, particularly in
Article 3 which states that, “unfair discrimination based on sex” means an action or non-action that segregates, hinder or restrict any
right or benefit, whether it is directly or indirectly, without fairness because a person is a male or female or has expression different
from the person’s sex by birth, except there is an academic or religious reason or it is done for public interest.” Several parties are
concerned that this exception may lead to discrimination by legal implications in the future.
The National Human Rights Commission therefore organized a public forum to listen to views on “An exception in Article 3 of the
Gender Equality Bill B.E. … Is it discrimination?” The forum was participated by more than 170 persons who were representatives from
government sector, private sector, civil society sector, communities and members of the general public interested in the issue. Opinions
from the participants could be summarized into three main points as follows:
1) The exception in Article 3 of the Gender Equality Bill B.E. …should be carefully reviewed by taking into consideration the
internationally accepted principle of equality together with Thai cultural context to prevent discrimination and exploitation, and not to give
too many opportunities for law enforcers to use their personal judgment.
2) To draft a bill which is a public policy to create a society where everyone lives together peacefully in harmony, the responsible
agency should organize a process that has participation from all sectors in society.
3) Recommendations Thailand received after presenting its report on Thailand’s human rights situation to the Twelfth Session of the
UN Security Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group on 5th October 2011 in Geneva should be put into practice.
The recommendations propose that Thailand review its Gender Equality Bill and delete all exceptions in the bill which allow for
discrimination, and to speed up drafting and enactment of Gender Equality Act in order to create promotion and existence of genuine
gender equality in compliance with the UN Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
The Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand B.E. 2550 (AD 2007) has a provision concerning equality of persons in Article 30 as
“Persons are equal under the law and are protected equally by the law. Men and women have equal rights. Unfair discrimination because
of differences in terms of birth place, race, language, sex, age, disability, physical condition or health, personal status, economic or
social status, religious belief, education and training, or political views that are not against provisions of the Constitution cannot be done.
“Measures came up by the state to eliminate discrimination or support persons to be able to enjoy their rights the same as other persons
would not be considered to be unfair discrimination.”
In a remark of intention attached to Article 30, it is stated that in order to define equality and non-discrimination against persons of
difference, the state has a duty to eliminate obstacles and support persons to enjoy their rights and liberty the same as other persons to
comply with the important principle of human dignity. Actions to implement this duty would not be considered to be unfair
The National Human Rights Commission has taken into consideration all the points mentioned above and sees it appropriate to propose to
all those with responsibility and related agencies, that are the government, government cabinet, House of Representatives, Senate House,
Council of State, Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, and others, to review and delete all wordings that are exceptions
in Article 3 of the Gender Equality Bill B.E. … to prevent emergence of a chance for discrimination and promote genuine gender equality.
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Thai Ombudsman seeks 3G injunction
Don Sambandaraksa | November 09, 2012
Thailand’s road to 3G licensing hit a significant setback when the Office of the Ombudsman yesterday filed a lawsuit against the
regulator for breaching the constitution in the October auction.
As expected, the office of the ombudsman in a unanimous vote by all three members decided that the regulator had broken article 47 of
the constitution as well as as a number of articles of the frequency allocation act. Article 47 lays down the rules for an independent
The Ombudsman has filed a case with the administrative court and asked for both an emergency hearing and an injunction to prevent the
licences being issued.
The argument made is that the five-member telecommunications sub-board does not have the authority to ratify the auction nor to issue
licences. The constitution and the frequency allocation act clearly say that that right belongs to the regulator, which means the entire 11-
The telecom board members have argued that the NBTC board has delegated them the authority to do so in various meetings.
But the senator who drew up the case, Paiboon Nititawan, has said that the NBTC simply cannot delegate its constitutional
responsibilities to a third party.
NBTC chairman Air Chief Marshal Thares Punsri has refused to call an emergency meeting of the full 11-member board despite and has
recently said that the telecom sub-board was doing its work well despite the public outcry over the non-auction.
A separate case initiated by the ministry of finance is still with the counter corruption commission which focuses on the lack of
competition in the bid and alleges that the NBTC designed a fixed auction and not, as has been widely reported, that the three telcos
colluded in the bid.
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Phumiphon Adunyadet or
King since 9 June 1946
Crown Prince and Heir Apparent since 28 July 1972
Deputy Prime Minister since 28 October 2012
Charuphong Rueangsusan (Jarupong Ruangsuwan)
Deputy Prime Minister since 28 October 2012
Surapong Towijakchaikun (Surapong Tovichakchaikul)
Deputy Prime Minister since 28 October 2012
Deputy Prime Minister since 28 October 2012