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Rights groups call for laws to stop child marriages

The Thaiger & The Nation

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

“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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Bangkok

Bangkok-based Filipino visa service provider arrested over alleged fraud

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Bangkok-based Filipino visa service provider arrested over alleged fraud | The Thaiger

PHOTO: (left to right) Emily Fontanilla Fabe, Ronygene Esmeralda Atregenio & Ernest Rey Basilio Salarza 

The administrator of a Facebook group SWD Kapamilya Thailand (has more than 30,000 Filipino members), Ernest Rey Basilio Salarza (aka. Rhey Keen Ayala), was arrested yesterday (Tuesday) in Bangkok after the court issued an arrest warrant.

Basilio, commonly known as Rhey Keen Ayala, another SWD Kapamilya Facebook admin Emily Fontanilla and Best Care Provider owner Ronygene Esmeralda Atregenio (aka Nokie and Caroline Maxim) have also been charged with fraud under Thailand’s Computer Crimes Act.

At least nine Filipino have already been accused and arrested for posting allegedly fraudulent information to obtain funds by deception.

Many more victims are expected to file additional cases this week. The case started when Nokie of Best Care failed to provide visas and work permits to the Filipino victims. Each of them paid 33,000-38,000 baht to Best Care Provider.

16 Filipino victims have so far come out and sought help to get their money back. There were at least 30 victims who paid the same amount but never received the paperwork promised to them by Best Care.

Atregenio, aka. Nokie and Caroline Maxime are the owners of Best Care, while Salarza popularly known in social media as Rhey Keen Ayala is one of the company founders.

Meanwhile, Emily or ‘Em Fabe’ is the promoter of the company using her Facebook group SWD Kapamilya Thailand. Rhey Keen is also the administrator of Pinoy ADOBO Facebook group which is also being used to promote Best Care Provider.

A string of criminal cases under the Thai Computer Crime Act are also expected to be filed against Em Fabe and Rhey Keen for alleged libellous comments and personal attacks on Facebook against other Filipinos.

SOURCE: Pinoythaiyo.com

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Southeast Asia

Sri Lanka attacks ‘retaliation for Christchurch’ – Government minister

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Sri Lanka attacks ‘retaliation for Christchurch’ – Government minister | The Thaiger

The Islamist suicide bombings that killed 321 people, and injured many others in Sri Lanka at the weekend, are believed to have been carried out in revenge for last month’s attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Fifty people were shot dead on March 15 at two mosques in the South Island, New Zealand city by an avowed white nationalist.

This revelation from the state minister of defence Ruwan Wijewardene as he spoke to parliament yesterday.

The death toll from the Sunday bomb attacks on churches and up-scale hotels, mostly around the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, is now at 321 with hundreds more wounded and still in hospital.

Wijewardene says the group behind the Sri Lanka bombings was the little-known National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ), an extremist Islamist group previously blamed for defacing Buddhist statues.

Police have detained at least 40 people as they investigate the worst act of violence in the country since a civil war ended in Sri Lanka a decade ago.

More than a thousand people gathered yesterday at St Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, north of the capital, which was among those hit in the blasts, to pay tribute to the dead.

Sri Lanka attacks ‘retaliation for Christchurch’ - Government minister | News by The Thaiger

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Southeast Asia

LATEST: Sri Lanka bombings

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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LATEST: Sri Lanka bombings | The Thaiger

A wave of explosions rocked Sri Lanka up-scale hotels and churches on Easter Sunday around the capital Colombo. This is what we know…

• At least 215 people have been confirmed dead with up to 450 more injured in a series of bombings targeting churches holding Easter services and hotels in Sri Lanka. The toll is likely to rise during today or at least become more precise as officials tally information from emergency responders.

• Most of the dead are said to be Sri Lankans, but officials say up to 40 foreigners have lost their lives.

• Three UK nationals and two US-UK dual nationals were among the dead. One Dutch, one Chinese, one Portuguese and two Turkish nationals have been killed, their respective foreign ministries have confirmed.

• There were six initial blasts, at three hotels and three churches, before two more explosions some time later, at a guest house and housing scheme, with two people reported to have been killed at the former. A government minister says the last two blasts appeared to have been carried out by the culprits as they fled from police.

• No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks but Sri Lanka’s defence minister Ruwan Wijewardene claims the culprits have been identified and were religious extremists. He said suicide bombers were responsible for the majority of the morning’s bombings and that the wave of attacks was the work of a single group.

• Eight people are reported to have been arrested so far.

• The Sri Lankan government has issued a curfew and shut down social media and messaging services to prevent the spread of disinformation.

• Sri Lanka’s PM, Ranil Wickremesinghe, has condemned the “cowardly” attacks and urged people to remain “united and strong”.

• The archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, called it “a very sad day” and is urging the government to identify the attackers and “punish them mercilessly because only animals can behave like that”.

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