By WICHIT CHAITRONG
The World Bank’s Thailand office yesterday revealed the results of its survey which suggests high discrimination against the group in workplaces in the country.
According to responses, discrimination and exclusion of LGBTI people persist despite Thailand’s progressive status regarding LGBTI inclusion, said the report entitled “ Economic Inclusion of LGBTI Groups in Thailand,” released by the World Bank.
Discrimination practices are prevalent when LGBTI people look for a job, access education and health care services, buy or rent properties, and seek legal protection, according to report.
Few LGBTI and non-LGBTI people surveyed are aware of the laws prohibiting anti-LGBTI discrimination. 51 per cent of LGBTI respondents and 69 per cent of non-LGBTI respondents say they are not aware of any such laws.
“I’ m not surprised with the finding of the survey, as the LGBTI children are treated badly in their families and are bullied at schools,” said Commissioner Angkhana Neelapaijit, National Human Rights Commission of Thailand.
Among LGBTI respondents, transgender people report the most frequent and severe discrimination and exclusion in society. Lesbians report worse outcomes than gay men.
The same pattern emerges when trying to access government services, education and training, life or health insurance, and financial products as well as renting property, according the report.
More than one-third of non-LGBTI survey respondents find it acceptable for employers to discriminate against LGBTI individuals. Almost half found it reasonable for LGBTI people to experience some form of discrimination when seeking government services.
The World Bank proposes developing and implement public campaigns to promote awareness, establishing a high-level government commitment to LGBTI inclusion, and affirming equal rights for all.
Ulrich Zachau, director of Thailand, Malaysia, and Regional Partnerships of World Bank, said that the survey is the first step and the World bank is now working with government agencies and the priv ate sector to promote economic inclusion of the LGBTI.
The World Bank also suggests that Thailand implement equality and non-discrimination in employment and occupation law, establishing effective monitoring mechanism, promoting the role of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and encouraging social dialogue between different groups.
At the same time, the bank wants Thailand to adopt a national same-sex partnerships law, fully integrating SOGI in the Gender Equality Act of 2015, explicitly including lesbians and bisexual and transgender women in all efforts, and strengthening and enforcing legal protection against all forms of gender-based violence.
Angkhana agreed with World bank’s suggestions by saying that the current Gender Equality Act of 2015 has limitation and it should be amended. The current law allows too much scope for discrimination practices, she argued and pointed out that the second paragraph of the section 17 of the Gender Equality Act should be deleted.
The second paragraph allow actions executed in line with religion principle, and national securities are not considered to be discrimination against gender.