Thailand's<font color="#ffff00">-==- proudly presents
All you need to know about a visit to Thailand.
Thailand may for some be inexpensive dining stands or the night life of Bangkok's big metropolis, while others think of hiking or bathing at Railey Beach. The Matador has published great urban stories to give you an overview of the best night life in Bangkok, and Backpacker's Secret Guides to less known places like Nan and the islands of Trang.
We also have a number of travel guidebooks that will tell you about duties, linguistic advice and backgrounds so you can better prepare your itinerary. How to become "green" in Thailand, where you can voluntarily sign up, go diving or practise Yogic, you will learn in the following article!
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Four years after the 2014 coup, Thailand suffers a humanitarian emergency. Under Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-ocha, the army branch has forbidden politics and assemblies, imposed press repression, imprisoned arbitrary dissenters and held civil servants in army shelters. Violations of the law in the conflicts between secessionist groups and the Thai authorities continue in Thailand's bordering southern provinces. However, the situation in the country is not yet clear.
More than three million immigrant labourers are systematically abused and exploited, even in the fisheries sector, despite the reforms promised by the state.
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Ayu, 11, got to marry Che Abdul Karim Che Hamid, 41, one afternoon this past year in a small rose deck on the Golok Riverside in the far southern tip of Thailand. Early in the evening Che Abdul Karim and his future children's wife had traveled across the Malaysian frontier to the Thai Narathiwat region for the marriage.
Following a brief 11 o'clock ceremonial and a journey to the Council's office to have their wedding certificates sealed, the pair returned across the frontier. Now Ayu was Che Abdul Karim's third woman. Meanwhile, in Malaysia, where men can lawfully get married to girl under the age of 18 if they get the consent of the Muslim Shariah tribunal, Ayu's case provoked a nationwide parliamentary cry and street protest.
However, behind the Thai frontier, where the disputed European bloc took place, the reaction of the governments and ecclesiastical agencies is clearly subdued. The Ayu (not her true name) was "mature," he said, so the wedding was Saw ( legally Sharia). Impam has persuaded Che Abdul Karim - himself an impam in a country town - to commit not to have sex with his young bride, but health checks have since shown that the 41-year-old has not kept his promises.
Thailand's stringent parental control legislation has not allowed anyone under 17 to get married since 2003, and sexual intercourse with a minors is a punishable offense. But in the South of Thailand's province - Narathiwat, Pattani and Yalla, the vast majority of which are Muslims - a gap in the legislation allows Moslem minorities to exercise Islam's right to deal with issues of families.
There is no legal requirement for marriages under this Act, and from a cultural point of view, young women are considered entitled as soon as they begin menstruation. Thus, infant marriages have persisted as an uncontrolled standard and remedy for maternity and juvenile delinquency - and the Thai authorities seem to close their eyes.
"Here, when a 16 year old unmarried young woman is already perceived as too young and no one will want to get married," said Amal Lateh, who is living in Thailand's Pattani district and was compelled to get married at 15 to a 10 year old relatives.
It has also left a gap in the law that has led to what Thai child right campaigner Anchana Heemmina called the "big deal of cross-border marriage" - Malaysia's men who travel to South Thailand to enter into minor or poly-game weddings for which consent in Malaysia would be either impractical or a very long procedure.
Working with more than 50 grooms a year, mainly a second or third woman, he never works with minors, but never minors. Particularly profitable is the practise also for unbelievers who practise on the Thai side of the Golok stream, who demand fourfold more for a Malay visit than for their own fellows.
Che Abdul Karim in Malaysia would have found it hard or even unfeasible to get approval to get married to Ayu; in Thailand he just payed the impram 4,500 baht (£105) and it was done. Since then he has been fined 1,800 ringgits (£340) by a Malaysian Scharia tribunal for complaining he was involved in poligamy and marrying without the court's consent.
Wanakanok, now 34, was just 13 years old when her mother and father coerced her into marrying and said that the experiment "haunts my spirit to this day". While there are no formal statistics on children's marriage in Thailand, Thai HRH representative statistics show that 1,100 young couples were born in 2016 alone in Narathiwat's municipal wards.
However, this does not apply to the three other counties where marriages for children are tolerated or to deliveries in hospitals and at home. The reason for their restraint was the sensibility towards the self-determination of Muslim minorities in the far southern part of Thailand. Since 14 years a civilian conflict rages in Narathiwat, Pattani, Yalla and sometimes also in the South of Songkhla.
It has its origins in the accession and capture of the Malaysian Patani State in 1909, which encompassed most of these states. Narathiwat N.R. Suraporn Prommul said he had recently discussed the matter with the Islamic Council. But the only amendment Ayu's case triggered was an arrangement that in cases where a young spouse and a non-national are involved, the pair must first go to the Islamic Council's offices to get remarried so that the committe can investigate the case properly.
Following the excitement in Malaysia about Ayu's wedding, the young woman and her relatives moved back to their home country Thailand this past Monday. Children's advocates are concerned that the Thai government's indifference in this matter will lead to Che Abdul Karim, who stays in Malaysia, never being accused of caring for and abusing children. "I' m afraid that this will be another case of children marrying that will legitimize the pedophilia that is brushed under the carpet," Heemmina said.
Throughout the world, the effects of marriage before the ages of 18 on young women are regarded as permanent harm, both emotionally and physically, but also as perpetuation of the poor life course. After their marriage, young women in the south of Thailand are often taken out of their schooling. A lot of people find themselves separated and with one baby before they are 18 years old.
Abdul Razak Ali, the Islamic Council's clerk, whose own mom was just 13 years old when she was marrying his 70-year-old dad, had permission to get under 18 years of age in order to avoid "heinous" cases of adultery or illegality. The same applied to minor girl victims who are assaulted to get their rapist involved.
The Thai envoy for humanitarian affairs, Angkhana Neelapaijit, told a recent case of a 15-year-old woman who was assaulted in her Yalla town. She was taken to an animal sanctuary, but two and a half nights later the Islamic Council came to see her to try to compel her to get married to her thug.
Nusantara, an Islamic NGO working with disadvantaged young women in South Thailand, defends the infant marriages because they protect young women from stigmatisation if they are captured with a man. "According to Islam, fornication is false and wicked, but if they forbid marriages between sons, I am afraid that fornication will become acceptable," he said.
But in the entire Muslim community there is a motion that forbids marriages of children. Algeria, Oman, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Egypt, Morocco, Morocco and Turkey have all fixed the 18 birthday limit for marriages, and Indonesia has recently drafted a Presidency Ordinance to fill the gaps in the legislation that allow children to marry. At a small town in Pattani Sai Buri County, a group of female interviewees talked about the prevalence of marriages of minors in the south of Thailand.
Zuranya Litae was 15 years old when her dad compelled her to get married to a man who was 16 years old to help her financial needs of her extended household. They talked about their rage that the act does not save girl from the tragedy of minor marriages.