On January 19, 2006, the Center submitted a shadow letter to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), highlighting issues affecting the reproductive health and lives of women in the Kingdom of Thailand. On February 3rd, the Committee issued concluding observations, highlighting the State’s responsibility to focus on and uphold women’s reproductive and sexual rights.
The Center's letter highlighted several concerns, including limited access to family planning, high incidence of unsafe abortion, vulnerability, especially of adolescent girls, to HIV/AIDS and other STIs, specific challenges facing rural and hill tribe women who experience relatively higher maternal mortality rates, and the government’s failure to take legislative measures to address sexual violence, specifically marital rape.
In its Concluding Observations, the Committee pointed to many of the issues outlined in our letter. To address these problems, the Committee recommended that the Thai government make access to effective contraception available to all women in order to reduce the number of illegal abortions. The Committee advised that the government take steps to provide reproductive health education for women, men, and adolescents and to raise awareness about contraceptive protection, HIV/AIDS, responsible sexual behavior and male responsibility. The Committee also recommended that the Thai government amend the Penal code to address marital rape as a criminal offense. The Center hopes that the Thai Government, in response to the Committee’s recommendations, will take measures to improve the reproductive health of women and girls and better ensure their rights.