Cablegate: Thailand: Child Marriage
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS BANGKOK 001924
DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/BCLTV AND G/IWI: L KHADIAGALA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ELAB PHUM PGOV SCUL SOCI KWMN TH HUMAN RIGHTS
SUBJECT: THAILAND: CHILD MARRIAGE
REF: STATE 36341
1. (U) The legal age of marriage for men and women in
Thailand is 18. Persons under 18 may be legally married with
the consent of both parents or a single surviving parent or
legal guardian. In some cases, the Court can approve a legal
underage marriage. This is usually granted when requested by
a couple which includes a woman who became pregnant under the
age of 18 wishes to marry before the birth of the child.
2. (U) Underage marriage among the general population is not
a significant problem. However, the practice persists in
unknown numbers in some hill tribe communities in Northern
Thailand and occasionally in Thailand's minority Muslim
population. None of the government offices or NGOs contacted
by post were able to provide statistics on child marriage.
Most embassy contacts expressed concern about teenage sex and
unwanted pregnancy, which sometimes results in underage
marriage but most often couples just live together. Underage
marriage and/or teen pregnancy often means that teenagers
drop out of school and are forced to find work away from
traditional home and family support structures.
3. (U) Post is unaware of any U.S.-funded initiatives that
aim to reduce the incidence or address the negative affects
of child marriage specifically. Some anti-trafficking
programs focusing on women's empowerment seek to educate
women about their legal rights and therefore address issues
of child marriage. Local NGOs focused on women's rights can
address this issue through education and outreach to
hilltribe and Muslim women, but also to various groups of
young women most vulnerable to exploitation in the poorer
Northeast and Northern areas of the country.