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Rights groups call for laws to stop child marriages

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Rights groups call for laws to stop child marriages | The Thaiger
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“This isn’t just a marriage, but may be child abuse.”

Defenders of Thailand’s children are calling for legal actions and amendments to laws to tackle the increasing number of “premature” marriages throughout the country. Activists say that such marriages harm the children.

The comments follow the controversy of a 44 year old Malaysian man who ‘married’ an 11 year old Thai girl, allegedly with the consent of the girl’s Thai parents.

Read the original story HERE.

Many Thais were shocked to hear of a marriage ceremony held in Thailand in mid-June between a 41 year old Malaysian imam and an 11 year old Thai girl.

“This isn’t just a marriage, but may be child abuse,” Angkhana Neelapaijit, Commissioner of the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand, said yesterday.

An unofficial medical examination report from Malaysia suggested signs of sexual intercourse had taken place “several years” before the marriage, she said. Angkhana Neelapaijit.

“Child abuse is a criminal offence. Authorities, along with religious leaders, must come forward to protect the child,” she said, and added that Narathiwat’s governor as well as police investigators must also intervene.

“Thailand has promised the world it will stop child brides,” Angkhana said.

Rights groups call for laws to stop child marriages | News by The Thaiger

Angkhana Neelapaijit, Commissioner of the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand

Thailand is bound by Article 16 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women to outlaw child marriage.

“All Malaysian men crossing the border to have their marriages held in Thailand must pay marriage fees,” Angkhana said.

But the problem is much wider than this one case. Thailand has one of the highest rates of youth marriages in the region, with UNICEF figures showing one of every seven Thai teen aged 15 to 19 being married. Premature marriage in Thailand occurs for many reasons, including cultural and economic. While the legal age of marriage is 18, the Thai Civil Code allows parents to approve marriage at age 17, and younger with a court’s permission. An exception is made for the four predominantly Muslim provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Satun where girls can get married after menstruation – which usually occurs around 12 years of age – under Islamic law.

“While some progressive Muslim communities want to set a clear standard (for a minimum marriage age), some religious leaders who benefit from organising these marriages don’t want to change and they use religious faith as their explanation,” Sanphasit said.

“This has led to many Malaysian men exploiting the loopholes to marry children,” he said.

In Malaysia, a religious court must approve a marriage involving a Muslim girl under age 16. Gary Risser, chief of child protection for UNICEF Thailand, said he wanted to see the government set a clear standard. He encouraged religious leaders to engage with the issue.

“Evidence around the world shows that child marriage is harmful to children in the long run. We need to work together towards finding solutions,” he said.

Risser said Thailand had the second-highest rate of premature marriage in Southeast Asia, after Laos. He noted that some countries, including Malaysia, do not report marriage data. Also, one in seven (14.1 per cent) of Thai females aged 15-19 were married or in a union, according to UNICEF’s Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey for 2015-16.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket officials concerned about virus risk from undocumented migrant workers

Maya Taylor

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Phuket officials concerned about virus risk from undocumented migrant workers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

The discovery that 3 Thai nationals infected with Covid-19 returned from Myanmar and bypassed health checks and quarantine, has officials in Phuket on high alert. Over the weekend, it was discovered that a 29 year old Thai woman had illegally crossed from Myanmar and subsequently tested positive for Covid-19 after admitting herself to a Chiang Mai hospital. 2 other women who worked with her have also tested positive for the virus.

Phuket’s deputy governor, Pichet Panapong, says news of the 3 infected Thai women who managed to enter Thailand without undergoing any health checks or mandatory quarantine, has officials on the southern island worried. He adds that local authorities are monitoring Burmese workers, calling on them to follow disease control measures if returning to Phuket from Myanmar. (It would appear he missed the bit about the 3 infected women being Thai, not Burmese)

In a report in the Bangkok Post, Pichet says officials are considering setting up a quarantine facility for any migrant workers already in Phuket illegally, adding that of the 59,900 registered migrant workers on the island, 80% are Burmese. The Thailand/Myanmar border is longer than 2,000 kilometres with hundreds of official and “natural” border crossings.

“People can also act as eyes and ears for the authorities. If they find something suspicious in their communities, they should alert immigration police or local police.”

Phuket has 21 alternative quarantine properties, offering over 2,500 rooms in total, but arrival numbers are low. It’s understood that only 11 people have applied to enter Phuket in the period December 4 – 12, and so far, only a single application has been received for January. There are currently 726 people in local quarantine, 20 in alternative local quarantine, and 4 people carrying out yacht quarantine. Since Phuket agreed to receive foreign-registered yachts, 6 vessels have entered its waters, with all passengers and crew carrying out quarantine on board, 6 kilometres from shore.

Pichet says that, at a meeting of the communicable disease control committee, the Thai Yachting Business Association submitted a proposal to manage cruise ships, and officials have also received a request to extend the opening hours of shopping malls over the New Year holiday.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

2 more cases identified in the northern Thailand Covid-19 mini outbreak

The Thaiger

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2 more cases identified in the northern Thailand Covid-19 mini outbreak | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Border crossing at Mae Sai district in Chiang Rai, Northern Thailand

2 more people have been confirmed as infected with Covid-19in the current mini-outbreak in Northern Thailand. In this case both women had crossed the Thai/Myanmar border and worked at the same bar in Myanmar as the original patient, feared to be a potential super-spreader. The 29 year old is now being treated at a hospital in Chiang Mai.

Chiang Rai public health officials report that the women, aged 23 and 26, illegally crossed the Burmese border at Mae Sai district, Chiang Rai, from Tachileik, a border town on the Burmese side of the border, last Thursday night.

All 3 went to work in Tachileik last month, but returned to Thailand after Burmese health authorities imposed a curfew from midnight to 4am. There has been between 1,300 and 1,700 cases announced each day over the past week in Myanmar.

2 more cases identified in the northern Thailand Covid-19 mini outbreak | News by The Thaiger

Thai public health officials say the new cases in Chiang Rai didn’t visit other public places, but stayed in a local hotel and ordered in food on delivery apps.

“We are less worried about the situation in Chiang Rai because they did not go out,” he said.

One of Patient Zero’s friends, the 26 year old, decided to get tested on Saturday after the news of her friend’s positive test result. Authorities then ordered her 23 year old friend to have a test as well. Both tested positive to Covid-19. Another 4 people have since been identified as “high risk” and are all being tested today. When added to the food delivery and hotel staff, the amount of people considered “at risk” could be up to 30.

Meanwhile, the Pattaya Mail is reporting that 2 of the women were arrested in Mae Sai and another 2 were arrested on a bus headed to Pattaya, via Bangkok.

Authorities say they will ramp up the border patrols but expect to see more infections coming from the original case in the next few days. Thailand’s border with Myanmar is more than 2,000 kilometres long, mostly inaccessible mountainous or forest terrain.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

2 more cases identified in the northern Thailand Covid-19 mini outbreak | News by The Thaiger

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Malaysia

Technical issues force Singapore aircraft to land on Malaysian highway – VIDEO

Maya Taylor

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Technical issues force Singapore aircraft to land on Malaysian highway – VIDEO | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Twitter

A single-engine prop plane from Singapore has been forced to make an emergency landing on a Malaysian highway due to technical difficulties. A report in Coconuts says the aircraft touched down on the hard shoulder of a highway in Johor, as cars sped past. The 2 pilots on board are believed to be in stable condition.

Chester Voo, CEO of Malaysia’s aviation authority, says an investigation has been launched to determine what went wrong with the plane, which has now been removed.

“Search and rescue teams have completed all required tasks. The investigation will be conducted by the Air Accident Investigation Bureau under the Ministry of Transport, Malaysia.”

It’s understood the plane left Seletar Airport in Singapore and was flying to Melaka when the pilots contacted Air Traffic Control at Johor, requesting permission to land at Senai International Airport, due to technical problems. However, Voo says the aircraft did not make it to the airport before it had to land on the highway.

Meanwhile, Thomas Ong from Premier Aero Singapore, who provide services at Seletar Airport, says his company provided immigration assistance to one of the pilots prior to departure, but doesn’t know what happened to cause the emergency landing.

“We only assisted Dr Yang in immigration formalities with the Seletar Airport Authority for his arrival and departure.”

SOURCE: Coconuts

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