LGBT+ activists in Thailand call for better marriage rights

admin   •   November 30, 2018   •   3779

 

 

LGBT + rights activists protesting in Bangkok, Thailand | REUTERS

Around 100 LGBT+ activists gathered in Bangkok on Thursday (November 29) to express concerns over discrimination in a law which will recognize “life partnership” between LGBT+ couples, marching in colorful costumes from Chulalongkorn University to outside a shopping mall in central Bangkok.

The demonstration also marked the 10th anniversary since Thai authorities officially started recognizing LGBT+ orientations as ‘diverse genders’. Before this, the official position deemed LGBT+ people mentally ill.

Thailand could become the first Asian country to legally recognize same-sex couples under a bill that would allow civil partnerships, but campaigners say it fails to address some major concerns of LGBT+ people.

Public consultations on the bill were held earlier this month and a revised version will go to the cabinet for approval by the end of the year, said a senior official at the government department handling the bill. It gives same-sex couples the right to register unions, as well as to property and inheritance, but does not recognize marriage between same-sex partners.

A largely conservative Buddhist society, Thailand has nonetheless built a reputation as a place with a relaxed attitude toward gender and sexual diversity. Homosexuality was decriminalized in 1956, and authorities actively promote the country as an LGBT-friendly destination.

A survey of social attitudes toward sexual orientation and gender identity found two-thirds of respondents had no objection to same-sex unions, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Yet LGBT+ people face considerable discrimination and stigma, and the civil partnership bill stops short of granting key rights, say activists. — Reuters

Schools across Thailand reopen after coronavirus cases slow down

UNTV News   •   July 1, 2020

Schools across Thailand re-opened on Wednesday (July 1) with coronavirus prevention measures in place, following months of closure.

Nearly 5,000 students returned to Sam Khok school, about 50 km north of Bangkok, wearing face masks and receiving face shields and temperature checks from the school.

“Once students arrive at school, teachers hand face masks to them because it’s mandatory to wear them. We (school) are also providing face shields for students’ project presentations or for eating,” said principal Chuchart Thiengtham.

He added that students were told to stay in home quarantine for 15 days before school re-started as an extra precaution.

The school has also turned old ballot boxes into classroom partitions to enforce social distancing between students.

“I feel safe, but annoyed at the same time because partition blocked my view,” said 17-year-old student, Soponwich Thianthong.

Thailand on Wednesday marked 37 days without a case of local transmission. The coronavirus has killed 58 people among its 3,173 infections.

The country has extended an emergency decree until the end of July in a bid to avoid the risk of a second wave of the coronavirus, although it is also set to ease more restrictions on Wednesday, including reopening bars and allowing some foreigners into the country. (Reuters)

(Production: Vorasit Satienlerk, Jiraporn Kuhakan)

No more touching: Thai mall installs foot pedals in elevators

UNTV News   •   May 21, 2020

No more touching in the elevators as a Thai shopping mall in Bangkok installed foot pedals for customers to step on instead of pressing the buttons, lowering the risk of having to be exposed to germs.

“Now everyone is worried about getting infected with the COVID-19 and the easiest way to get infected is that when you touch an object that has been contaminated with the COVID-19 virus, and then eventually touch your face and the virus will go into your mouth, your eyes or whatever. So, we came up with this idea of hand-free foot-operated elevator,” said Prote Sosothikul, the vice president of Seacon Development PLC which oversees the mall.

The foot-operated elevator pedal system is also welcomed by mall customers, saying they felt safer to use the lift without actually touching the buttons, reducing the risk of getting infected.

“I think they did a good job in preparing this. I feel much safer… Now that we can use our foot to press the elevator, it’s really great,” said 26-year-old Watcharaporn.

Thailand on Sunday (May 17) reopened malls and department stores for the first time since March in its second phase of relaxing measures as the number of new cases slowed.

Thailand has reported a total of 3,034 cases of the coronavirus and 56 deaths. (Reuters)

(Production: Artorn Pookasook, Juarawee Kittisilpa)

DOH asks public not to discriminate vs COVID-19 patients

Marje Pelayo   •   April 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday (April 5) asked the public not to mistreat or discriminate against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients.

Such behavior would definitely have an impact on the country’s efforts in fighting the disease.

“Nalulungkot po kami kapag nakakarinig ng mga kwento ng ating mga positive cases, kasama na rin ang ating exposed healthcare workers, na nakakaranas ng diskriminasyon at stigma, [It saddens us to hear stories of positive cases including exposed healthcare workers who experienced discrimination and stigma],” DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said at a briefing on Sunday.

“Gusto ko lamang pong sabihin sa lahat,  pakiusap (na) huwag mamahiya ng mga taong may COVID-19, [I ask everybody to please, do not shame patients with COVID-19],” she added.

The official said the ‘stigma’ against COVID-19 positive patients may lead to other positive patients to conceal their condition which consequently could compromise the national government’s efforts to address their condition.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) has urged the local governments to formulate measures that would penalize any act of discrimination and harassment against frontliners and COVID-19 positive patients.

IATF-EID spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles warned that acts of discrimination such as coercion, slander and physical injuries shall be dealt with under the law as well as dishonoring of contractual obligations like contracts of lease or employment of COVID-19 patients.

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