BANGKOK – Thailand is the seventh worst nation in relation to violence against women, a recent report from the United Nations revealed. However, this record might get better soon as the Kingdom has become a member of the UN Women’s executive board and the agency’s Asia-Pacific base is being set up in Bangkok.
According to UN Women, it is helping the government develop a national action plan on ending violence against women.
“Up to 44 per cent of women in Thailand have reported to have been a victim of violence at least once in their lifetime. Thailand will be strongly supported in eliminating and preventing violence against women and girls,” Michelle Bachelet, the under-secretary-general of the United Nations and executive director of UN Women, said.
“I am delighted that Thailand is a member of the Commission on the Status of Women [CSW] – an inter-government body that sets international norms and standards on gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s rights,” she said.
CSW’s 57th session on March 4-15 will focus on “Elimination and Prevention of Violence against Women and Girls”.
Bachelet said that through its participation in this session, the Thai government would be able to contribute to the commission’s conclusions and reflect the global community’s responsibility to guarantee a life free of violence for women and girls.
In her speech, she expressed appreciation for HRH Princess Bajra Kitiyabha’s work as UN Women’s goodwill ambassador since 2008, whose advocacy has helped catalyse large-scale support from the people of Thailand for the UN Women’s “Say NO-UNiTE to End Violence against Women” initiative.
She also congratulated Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra for becoming the first female premier of Thailand.
The Justice Ministry, meanwhile, has developed guidelines for judicial and security personnel to ensure full implementation of the Domestic Violence Act, including a pilot programme in which women do not need to face the perpetrators during court proceedings.
Thai authorities have come together in a formal agreement to improve access to services for survivors, with a One-Stop Crisis Centre being set up in 750 provincial and district hospitals.
“We are looking forward to continuing our work in other areas, including legislation to ensure equality of opportunity and non-discrimination on the basis of sex and gender,” Bachelet noted.
“The Thai Women’s Empowerment Fund, established by the prime minister, is an important resource for women seeking to strengthen their productive capacity and to innovate in the economic sector. UN Women stands ready to provide technical support for the management of the fund,” she said.
Bachelet added that UN Women would continue working with Asean committees that aim to empower women. She added that the agency would also work hard to ensure that after 2015, women’s rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment becomes part of the key commitment of governments. This would not only mean proper documentation, but the implementation of policies promoting good conditions for women in the country and the region.
“In Asean, I think more work needs to be done because some countries have more advanced policies,” Bachelet said.