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Political slant put on Women's Day activities

On International Women's Day on Friday, the Woman's Voice group called for an end to the "violation and insults directed at the country's women leaders, while Chitpas Kridakorn, the anti-government firebrand, led female protesters in a vow to protect the motherland at Wat Phra Kaew.

Women's Voice chairperson Ladawan Wongsriwong, also a Pheu Thai party-list MP candidate, read a statement by the group that said Thailand had seen rights violations, insults and threats to the woman running the country but the National Human Right Commission (NHRC) had not looked into this. So, the group called for NHRC members to step down - to let neutral and just people do the job, she said.

The group also urged the caretaker government and Pheu Thai Party to end political violence, plus violence against women, and to create justice and equity for women, she said. The group urged the Election Commission to organised elections for remaining constituencies so as to swiftly set up a new government. One way to do this was conduct polls on March 30, the same date as the half-Senate election. And that would also save money, she said.

The group wanted all agencies to ensure justice to all sides and all women to be united and co-exist despite differences in opinion.

Meanwhile, Chitpas led female protesters in a procession from Lumpini Park to Wat Phra Kaew's Wiset Chaisri Gate yesterday to vow to join fellow anti-government protesters in fearlessly defending the motherland from offences or bids to divide the country. She also gave a speech slamming caretaker PM Yingluck Shinawatra for damaging the country over the past two years and accused Yingluck for causing injury to protesters who rallied peacefully without weapons, which had lead to deaths and injuries.

In related news, Yingluck's personal Facebook page invited all Thais to promote gender equity for national development and affirmed that the caretaker government had been working to promote Thai women's role in development via the Women's Empowerment Funds.

She cited her trip to Isaan and noted that a provincial committee in Mukdahan spent Bt14 million on activities to promote women's potential and income, while also aiding underprivileged women.

Meanwhile, permanent secretary for Public Health Dr Narong Sahamethapat reported yesterday that violence against women and children remained a serious issue.

Up to 631 centres for women have been set up in hospitals nationwide since 1999 to take care of abused women and children, he said. These had reported a total of 19,067 cases of violence against women and children in 2007 and 31,866 such cases last year, he said. Some 60 per cent of the cases involved children and the rest women. He said violence against women and children tended to increase when alcohol and drugs were involved, as well as misuse of the Internet and computers.


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