Thailand is a country of mountains, tropical rainforests and flat plains. For many years agriculture was the main employer. But from the 1980s a thriving, rapidly-growing economy attracted large numbers of Thais to the expanding industrial and services sectors. Bangkok expanded rapidly with the influx of workers during the boom years. It is one of Asia’s most vibrant, and heavily-congested, cities. (Source: www.bbc.co.uk).
Political uncertainty and the global financial crisis since 2008 weakened Thailand’s economic growth by reducing domestic and international demand for both itsgoods and services (including tourism). Due to minimum exposure to toxic assets, Thai banks experienced limited direct impact from the global financial crisis.
Thailand’s southern border provinces have long been host to an ethno-nationalist Malay Muslim separatist movement rally around a regional “Pattani” identity. Since 2004, separatists have conducted an increasingly violent insurgency in the provinces of Narathiwat, Yala, Pattani, and Songkhla against symbols and representatives of central government authority, as well as against civilians, both Buddhist and Muslim, which has resulted in thousands of deaths.
Thailand still has an estimated 1 million children not in primary school or who are enrolled late. A disproportionate number of them are from minority groups in remote or very poor areas, often along Thailand’s borders with Cambodia, Laos PDR, Malaysia and Myanmar. Children in these groups also account for the vast majority of the nearly 1 million children without birth registration documents – which severely restricts their access to education, health, and other services.
terre des hommes Germany’s long involvement in Thailand is marked by continuous support for children’s rights to nationality, education and health, protection from violence, psychosocial care; support to social advocacy and human rights groups; and, coordination with government units. The main target area and groups of the project partners in Thailand are in the rural and urban areas.
terre des hommes Germany has its longest engagement in Southeast Asia with many Thai partners. After a series of Thai Partners’ Meetings, Thai partners have defined their social concerns in the following fields where projects are being implemented or will be extended.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
Children should grow up to become an important force for social development. However, many Thai children are still abused and affected by various forms of domestic and social violence. Implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is therefore a major agenda of Thai partners, who will concentrate on the following activities:
o Workshops about UNCRC and the CRBA and, Child Protection Programmes for national citizenship for children of ethnic minority groups.
o Promotion and Documenting the rights of the child to participation
o Documenting child rights violations for public education campaigns.
o Organizing forums for children at local, regional and national levels where they can speak out about their own rights.
o Programmes for nation citizenship for children of ethnic minority groups
o Protection of children from trafficking, prostitution and exploitative labour.
Because women in Thai society still have inferior status compared to men, partners organizations seek to contribute to greater gender equality though carrying out the following activities:
o Joining the campaign on End Violence Against Women
o Surveys of current issues, understanding and interest in gender issues
o Projects in rural areas which help enhance the role of women in development and society.
Continuing efforts are directed towards identifying the impact of modern agricultural practices such as monoculture, use of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), and patent regulations, particularly on children and women, the environment and on food security. Monitoring is also done on how these issues negatively affect the rivers, especially on the Mekong River. Partners also monitor incidences of biopiracy, and bring these to the attention of the authorities.
Partners in Thailand
- Association for Community and Ecology Development (ACED)
- The Center for the Protection of Children’s Rights Foundation (CPCR)
- Community and Children Network Development Center (CNDC)
- Development Center for Children and Community Network (DCCN)
- Foundation for Women (FFW)
- GABFAI Community Theater (GABFAI)
- High Land People Education and Development Foundation
- Hill Tribe and Community Development Foundation (HADF)
- The Mirror Foundation
- Stateless Children Protection Project Committee