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Foundation for women and acitivities in 2002.

Activities and results

During the year 2002, FFW has conducted activities in three main areas, which are 1) providing direct assistance to women and children, 2) working with communities to promote human rights of women and children, and 3) advocacy work including collaborating with other GOs and NGOs in formulating policy on the social issues pertinent to the security and development of women and children.

1. Direct assistance

Throughout the year 2002, there were altogether 488 cases that FFW has provided assistance. They can be classified as follows:

Domestic violence is increasing in number after the media reported on the case of homicide committed by a husband who is a lecturer in a prestigious university in Thailand. After the court ruled out for the light punishment, FFW organized a public talk and joined other agencies to petition the Attorney General on the court ruling. More women who have similar problems contacted FFW for counseling. To date FFW also continues to provide legal aids to 5 women who were charged of killing their husbands. These women have record of being abused and maltreated by their husbands and in the course of fighting they accidentally killed their abusive husbands. At the end of the year the courts in different provinces ruled out and two women were acquitted from the charge. One woman was sentenced to imprisonment for 20 months and was freed on that day since she had been detained longer than that period already. The fourth woman was sentenced for five years and the last one was sentenced to 7 and a half-year and is now under appeal.

FFW is documenting the court proceeding and will work with lawyers' group to draw lessons learned to prepare for defending women in the similar situation in the court.

The problem of unwanted pregnancy among students and married women is becoming more serious in numbers in Thai society. The rigid rule on the legal abortion makes it more difficult for affected women to find best solution to their problems. FFW participated in drafting recommendations with agencies working on the reproductive health for amending the abortion law in order to include more reasons for women to have legal abortion and reduce the risk on their lives and health. But the process has been always confronted with the moral approach and it seems to be a long way before

The number on human trafficking case is higher than the last year as there were 30 Thai women sent back from UK. According to the record, they were trafficked to work in prostitution and rescued by the police. None of them, however wanted to press charge against their traffickers. Nevertheless, there was a 17 -year girl who was required by the British police to be witness in the court to prosecute her traffickers in Britain.

On the other hand, 220 foreign women migrants and 104 foreign children were assisted. In collaboration with the authority at the IDC, FFW started to organize activities with women from Uzbekistan outside the detention cell. As a result, FFW gained more understanding on the situation of Uzbek women as well as the trafficking mechanism. The report is under preparation and will be publicized to improve the public understanding about Uzbek female migrant. FFW will hold similar activities with women and children of other nationality in the IDC. Tthe series of discussion with women confined in the IDC enables, FFW foresees to identify trafficked persons from illegal migrants and co-ordinate with authorities to tranfer them to Kret Takarn Welfare Home where they can get access to social and health services as well as some skills training. FFW's workers go once a week to visit and follow-up cases at the Kret Takarn Home.

2. Advocacy work

Campaign on marital rape (article 276)

FFW has worked with other members of the Alliance for the Advancement of Women (AAW) to launch campaign to collect support signatures for the amendment of the criminal code, article 276 to include marital rape as a crime. The article states that "....anyone who rapes woman other than his wife will be punished ..." The campaign urges the deletion of the term other than his wife in order to extend its legal protection to all women regardless of their relationship to rapist. As the result, for the period of March 8 (International Women's Day) to November 25 (International Day to End Violence against Women), more than 10,000 signatures have been collected. Local volunteers also played an active role in raising community awareness to participate in signing the petition while both local and National media took part of the campaign.

In order to achieve the aim of the campaign, FFW has produced information kit to explain the need to amend article 276, and collaborated with the Thailand Institute on Criminal Law, the AAW and the Women and Constitution Network to organized regional public fora. On the occasion of the Day to End Violence against women (25 November), FFW also organized a public talk on Discourse on Violence Against Women focusing on the case of marital rape. FFW has documented different views and reaction towards the campaign for the amendment of article 276.

Campaign on the court ruling

A university lecturer was charged of homicide by beating his wife to death. The lenient sentence of the court created strong reaction from the public. The court ruled that he should be under probation for three years and do social work by teaching in education institute for 50 hours.

Press conference and public discussiond were organized to inform the public on the justice system that is insensitive to the problem of violence against women. The alliance of women's groups submitted a petition to the Attorney General and finally the Court decided to reopen the case.

Campaign for women charged of homicide

To mark one year anniversary of campaign raising fund for women who are charged of homicide, FFW organized a public talk and press conference to report on the cases of accused women that FFW provided legal and social assistance.

Protection of Victim in the case of human trafficking

FFW cooperated with the National Human Rights Commission and the Anti-Slavery International to organize a public launch of Anti-Slavery International Report on "Human Traffic, Human Rights: Redefining Victim Protection". FFW participated in the research project of the Anti-Slavery International by gathering information on the legal protection of trafficked victims in Thailand. The report was translated from English to Thai, in order to sensitize the audience from GOs and NGOs to set up mechanism that provides adequate protection to trafficked victims who are witness in the court case against traffickers.

3. Community work

Working with TAOs and local volunteers

FFW hold two consultation meetings with local volunteers and TAOs' (Sub-district Administrative Organisation) members in the community to review the work of the local volunteers, impact and outcome of their work in the community as well as the lessons learned.

FFW followed up the distribution of TAO's budget

Two TAOs allocated annual budget to support projects of young people in the community. TAOs suggested that local volunteers should promote themselves so that community members would understand and know them better. They suggested for having more local volunteers to work for the protection of women's and child's rigths.

Working with indigenous community

In order to promote participation of indigenous people in solving their problems, the Children Center in Wang Mai village in Lampang was set up in collaboration with local volunteers and community leaders in December 2002. Wang Mai is a hill tribe village, which was moved from the water shed area many years ago. They can not continue working in agriculture since the land they received from the government is infertile. As a result, many of them migrate to work in the big town and some engage in the drug trade and prostitution. When the parents were sentenced to jail, the children were left alone and they are vulnerable to exploitation by drug traders, sexual abusers and traffickers. The Children Center under supervision of village committee was set up to take care this vulnerable group of children. A space in a school was provided and renovated to be used as center where children can stay under the care of adults. The committee recruited two women as care-takers while FFW coordinated with other organizations to provide training for them. An exposure trip was also organized for committee members to exchange views with other organizations and improve their understanding on the work with children.

Conclusion

While working to strengthen the role of civil society and the local community in the promotion and protection of human right of women and children, FFW has paid special attention to the most vulnerable groups namely women and children in ethnic and remote community.

The various campaigns launched in the year 2002 have also revealed many points to shape future activities of FFW and other women's organizations. One most interesting point is that changing and making laws to promote and protect the rights of women need full participation of public in general and affected women in particular. There is a need to educate members in society to understand the problems women are facing.. The process of transforming attitudes, ideas and prejudices against women is as equally important as the end result that is obtaining either new policy or new law.
Direct assistance

numbers cases of
of case

149 domestic violence
148 unwanted pregnancy
54 trafficking in women
 and children
30 rape & sexual
 harassment
33 economic problem
23 health problem
15 unmarried pregnancy
14 cases required legal
 assistance
4 cases required
 information about
 marriage with
 foreigners
17 cases with family
 relationship problem, and
 missing family members
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Title Annotation:Foundation For Women
Publication:Voices of Thai Women
Geographic Code:9THAI
Date:May 1, 2003
Words:1609
Previous Article:Human traffic, human rights: redefining victim protection.
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