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Editorial note.

As tens of thousands of people are staging protest against Thailand's Prime Minister Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra in the streets of Bangkok and outside of Government house, shouting "Thaksin Get Out", this edition of "Voices of Thai Women" focuses on the changes needed to achieve equality for women in Thailand and commends some recent examples of positive amendments for women. The Foundation for Women celebrates civil society's right to take public concerns into the streets. What does sadden us is that while one individual's gain of 73 billion Baht can motivate people to become united and mobilized, the violence, discrimination and abuse women experience every day in Thailand, fails to outrage the general population.

More than a year after the Tsunami hit the Andaman Coast on December 26th 2004, long term relief works addressing the needs of marginalized women are still lacking. We present to you the myriad of struggles seven Tsunami affected women are now facing. Their backgrounds are diverse but their problems are akin; without adequate support, they will have to raise a generation of children under conditions of poverty, trauma, and depression. The Foundation for Women has been appealing to the government and relief providers throughout 2005 to acknowledge that gender equality is more than a goal in itself, but a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable growth and building good governance"--Kofi Annan. Through our Weaving New Lives with Andaman Women and Children project we have been privileged to witness the ability of women to support each other through such tragedy.

Seeing some women recover from the loss of loved ones and scrape together to provide for their children has been uplifting. But the need for long term support remains cavernous.

The National Reconciliation Committee (NRC), established 10 months ago, is a state initiated mechanism made up of 48 members who recommend neutral strategies to the government based on consultations with people affected by the violence and massacres in the southern provinces of Thailand. The NRC is a good example of governmental response which acknowledges the underlying causes of a social problem. Chaired by Mr. Anan Panyarachun, the NRC is currently finalizing a 74 page report which includes recommendations to develop a Peace and Reconciliation Bill. After submission of the report, the Reconciliation Commission's first objective will be complete and the structure of the committee will change. The Women and Peace Network, established by FFW, gave demands and recommendations to the NRC and enjoyed much success in bringing together women polarized by the violence which destroyed their families. Read our "Weaving Peace" article to find out more about the achievements made by these women.

In January 2006, representatives of the Thai Government, the Foundation for Women, Tsunami affected women, and the Women for Peace Network attended the United Nations CEDAW committee meeting to monitor and assess Thai laws and policies for their compliance with CEDAW. The Foundation for Women presented a statement to the committee and outlined areas where progress for women is wanting--such as the lack of a domestic violence suppression act and the wording of the law which continues to give impunity to marital rape.

We hope you enjoy reading the 2006 edition of "Voices of Thai Women".
COPYRIGHT 2006 Foundation for Women
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Voices of Thai Women
Article Type:Editorial
Date:May 1, 2006
Previous Article:Study visit to Uzbekistan.
Next Article:Tsunami: Weaving New Lives with Andaman Women and Children.

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