The enactment of this Act stems from the absence of effective measures to counteract unjust gender discrimination. See the article on LGBTQ rights in Thailand. Note however that currently, there are no safeguards in place to ensure fairness and protection for those experiencing such discrimination. Consequently, there exists a compelling need to establish this law as a means of offering protective measures to individuals facing gender-based unfairness. See also the Female Title Act of 2008 as well as the Persons Name Act. This is the Thailand Gender Equality Act.
Moreover, this legislation serves the additional purpose of forestalling further instances of gender discrimination. This aligning with Thailand’s international human rights commitments and obligations. Consequently, the promulgation of this Act is deemed necessary. We will recap this again from the LGBTQ issues in Thailand.
At present, it is known that a person’s “gender” does not depend on the gender of their body parts. This or gender at birth only. But there are still people of various genders whose existence and the identity of such groups of people has become more widely revealed in almost every area of Thai society.
However since the law came into force in 2015. There were a total of 27 complaints, which were fewer than expected. And most of the complainants are transgender women. There were quite a few females and no males at all which reflects that some people may not yet know. (Thai Senate – Sept. – Oct. 2020) . See the Thailand Gender Equality Act added below or a summary of the Thailand Gender Equality Act.
In this initial chapter, we delve into the establishment and composition of the “Gender Equality Promotion Committee,”. Likewise also referred to as the “SorTorPor Committee” for brevity. This committee, presided over by the Prime Minister as the Chairperson and the Minister of Social Development and Human Security as the Vice Chairperson. This comprises several members, including eleven ex officio members representing various government ministries. Likewise nine expert members appointed by the Cabinet. Furthermore, the Director-General serves as a member and secretary of the Committee and has the authority to appoint up to two officials from the Department to serve as assistant secretaries.
Moving on, we outline the qualifications required for expert members of the SorTorPor Committee. These members must meet specific criteria. Likewise, including being Thai nationals by birth, above the age of thirty-five, free from bankruptcy or disability, and without prior dismissal from government positions due to disciplinary issues. They must also have no criminal record beyond minor offenses. Likewise must not have been found guilty by the Committee on Consideration of Unfair Gender Discrimination (WorLorPor) or had their assets confiscated by the State due to unusual wealth. Additionally, they should have no history of sexual abuse or harassment and must not hold political office or positions in political parties.
This section explores the tenure of expert members, stipulating a three-year term. In case there is no appointment of new expert members upon completion of this term. The existing member may continue to serve until a replacement is appointed. Furthermore, expert members can be reappointed for a maximum of two consecutive terms.
The circumstances under which an expert member would vacate office are detailed here. These include situations such as death, resignation, dismissal by Cabinet resolution due to various reasons like inability, dishonesty, or malpractices. If they cease to represent women’s organizations or organizations focused on gender diversity’s rights, lack qualifications, or acquire prohibited characteristics as specified in Section 6, they will also vacate office.
Section 9 outlines the process of replacing an expert member who vacates office before their term concludes. It highlights that a replacement will be made. But if the remaining term is less than ninety days. Then a replacement might not be necessary, resulting in a SorTorPor Committee consisting of the remaining members until a replacement is appointed.
This section outlines the extensive powers and duties of the SorTorPor Committee. Likewise, emphasizing its role in establishing policies, measures, and action plans for gender equality promotion across public and private entities. Additionally, it plays a pivotal role in recommending policy changes to the Cabinet, providing guidance for assisting victims of unfair gender discrimination. Likewise examining and advising on the operations of officials and state agencies regarding the Act’s execution. The Committee also promotes studies, research, and knowledge dissemination related to preventing unfair gender discrimination, encourages data collection, and establishes relevant regulations.
Section 11 introduces the functioning of SorTorPor meetings. Requiring a quorum of at least half the committee members. In cases where the Chairperson is absent or unable to perform their duties. The Deputy Chairperson presides, or in the absence of both. Likewise, a chairperson is elected from the attending members. Decisions are made by a majority vote. This with each member having one vote. In the event of a tied vote, the chairperson holds a casting vote.
This section grants the SorTorPor Committee the authority to establish sub-committees to handle specific assignments. The rules applied during sub-committee meetings mirror those outlined in Section 11.
Chapter 2: Committee on Consideration of Unfair Gender Discrimination (WorLorPor) and Department of Women’s Affairs and Family Development.
Chapter 2 focuses on the establishment and powers of the “Committee on Consideration of Unfair Gender Discrimination” (WorLorPor Committee) and the Department of Women’s Affairs and Family Development.
In this section, we introduce the WorLorPor Committee, highlighting its composition. Which includes a chairperson and eight to ten committee members appointed by the Minister. These committee members are selected based on their qualifications and expertise in areas. This such as the protection of individuals facing unfair discrimination and gender equality promotion. Additionally, the Director-General has the authority to appoint officials from the Department to serve as secretary and assistant secretary.
Section 14 enumerates the powers and duties of the WorLorPor Committee. Which includes making decisions on complaints of unfair gender discrimination, issuing temporary protective measures, issuing orders, submitting complaints to the Ombudsman in certain cases, and performing other actions as mandated by law.
This section emphasizes the application of specific sections. Including Sections 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, and 12, to the WorLorPor Committee as well, highlighting the consistency in their enforcement.
Note that section 16 delineates the responsibilities of the Department of Women’s Affairs and Family Development. This in overseeing the administrative and academic functions of both the SorTorPor Committee and the WorLorPor Committee. The Department’s duties encompass receiving complaints related to gender discrimination, supporting research and education, coordinating with various organizations, preparing and submitting reports, and performing other tasks assigned by relevant authorities.
Chapter 3 is dedicated to the inspection and prevention of unfair gender discrimination. It outlines prohibitions on policies, rules, or practices that exhibit characteristics of unfair gender discrimination, with exceptions provided for certain cases such as the protection of safety, welfare, and national security.
Note that Section 17 elucidates the prohibition of policies, rules, regulations, projects, or procedures displaying unfair gender discrimination characteristics. While this prohibition is stringent. There are exceptions which are granted when such policies are implemented to ensure safety, uphold religious principles, or safeguard national security.
Section 18 introduces the process for individuals who believe they have suffered or may suffer from unfair gender discrimination. They must submit complaints to the WorLorPor Committee for consideration. The Committee has the authority to determine whether an act constitutes unfair gender discrimination. Additionally, the section acknowledges the right of complainants to pursue legal action for damages independently. Likewise it permits the court to prescribe compensation beyond monetary relief if the discrimination was intentional or due to gross negligence.
Likewise Section 19 empowers the WorLorPor Committee to issue temporary measures during the consideration of unfair gender discrimination cases. This to protect or alleviate the suffering of victims.
This section grants the WorLorPor Committee the authority to issue specific orders when it determines that unfair gender discrimination has occurred. These orders include actions to be taken by government agencies, private organizations, or individuals to rectify and prevent such discrimination.
Section 21 outlines the process for the WorLorPor Committee to refer cases involving unfair gender discrimination that is contradictory to the constitution to the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman will then submit the case to the Constitutional Court to determine if the legal provision in question is unconstitutional.
This section delineates the powers and duties of officers, sub-committees, and competent officers assigned by the WorLorPor Committee for executing the Act. It includes provisions for entering premises with search warrants and issuing inquiries or summonses to gather evidence and information relevant to the cases.
Section 23 specifies that officers, sub-committees, and competent officers involved in the execution of the Act are considered competent officers under the Criminal Code. They must also present their identification cards when performing their duties, with the format of these ID cards announced by the Minister.
Chapter 4 delves into the compensation and remedy provided to injured parties who have suffered unfair gender discrimination.
This section stipulates that individuals who have been determined as victims of unfair gender discrimination by the WorLorPor Committee are entitled to compensation and remedy. They must submit a request within one year from the date of the Committee’s decision. The right to compensation and remedy is non-transferable and cannot be inherited.
In cases where the injured party is a minor, quasi-incompetent, or incapacitated individual who cannot submit a request for compensation and remedy, this section permits parents, guardians, caregivers, spouses, or other individuals to submit requests on their behalf, following regulations announced by the Director-General.
Section 26 outlines the forms in which compensation and remedy may be provided to injured parties. This includes compensation for lost income during periods of inability to work, compensation for the loss of commercial opportunities, reimbursement of medical expenses (including physical and mental rehabilitation), and other forms or characteristics as appropriate. The rules, procedures, and payment for compensation and remedy are to be determined in accordance with regulations established by the SorTorPor Committee.
Section 27 clarifies that receiving compensation and remedy from the WorLorPor Committee does not waive the injured party’s right to initiate a lawsuit to seek damages through the appropriate court. Furthermore, it allows the court to order compensation in forms other than monetary relief, particularly when discrimination was intentional or due to gross negligence. The court may impose punitive compensation of up to four times the actual amount of damages in such cases.
Chapter 5 introduces the “Gender Equality Promotion Fund” and its role in promoting gender equality as outlined in the Act.
This section establishes the Gender Equality Promotion Fund within the Department to support gender equality promotion efforts as stipulated in the Act.
Section 29 enumerates the sources of the Fund, which include government subsidies, financial support from relevant agencies, donations, fines collected as penalties against Act violators, returns earned from the Fund’s investments, and other income sources. Notably, money and assets acquired in accordance with these sources are directly allocated to the Fund without being remitted as state revenue.
Section 30 specifies the objectives for which the Fund shall be used. These objectives encompass supporting gender equality-related activities, preventing unfair gender discrimination, assisting, compensating, providing remedies, or mitigating the suffering of those subjected to such discrimination, overseeing and advising on the Act’s implementation, promoting studies and research, facilitating communication and coordination with relevant entities, and undertaking other appropriate activities as determined by the SorTorPor Committee.
Additionally this section introduces the Fund Executive Committee, with the Director-General serving as the Chairman, and representation from the Bureau of the Budget, Comptroller-General’s Department, and four expert members appointed by the SorTorPor Committee. The Committee also has the authority to appoint up to two officials from the Department to serve as assistant secretaries.
Note that section 32 highlights the application of specific sections, including Sections 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, and 12, to the Fund Executive Committee in a manner consistent with the Act.
Likewise this section details the powers and duties of the Fund Executive Committee, which include managing the Fund’s finances, overseeing compensation and remedy payments, and submitting reports on the Fund’s financial status and management to the SorTorPor Committee.
Note that Chapter 6 outlines various offenses and associated penalties under the Act.
In addition, Section 34 establishes penalties for individuals who violate orders issued by the WorLorPor Committee under Section 20(1). Violators may be subject to imprisonment for up to six months, a fine of up to twenty thousand baht, or both imprisonment and a fine.
Note that Section 35 prescribes penalties for individuals who violate Section 22(2) of the Act. Offenders may face imprisonment for up to three months, a fine of up to ten thousand baht, or both imprisonment and a fine.
Likewise Section 36 provides provisions for settling cases of offenses under the Act. Competent officers may decide not to impose imprisonment or prosecution in certain cases, including those committed in Bangkok Metropolitan areas or other provinces. If a person found guilty during an investigation agrees to settle the case, it must be submitted to the authorized individuals for resolution. Once the alleged person pays the settled fine within thirty days, the case is dismissed according to the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code
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