Thailand is firmly established as a middle-income country. Economic growth over the last two decades has been impressive: poverty has fallen by around two-thirds since 1990, despite the 1997 economic crisis from which Thailand has fully recovered. This prosperity, combined with a growing awareness of and commitment to child rights, has resulted in successive governments investing in the wellbeing and future of children. These investments have brought huge, often life-changing benefits to millions of children. Since 1990, achievements have included:
• 50 per cent fall in infant mortality;
Yet huge disparities remain, and the benefits of economic progress have not been equally shared by all children in Thailand. This is particularly true for the children of ethnic minorities, migrants, refugees and the very poor. A large number of children still face a number of obstacles to claiming their rights to protection and development. Many children still do not complete a primary school education, and many more do not go on to secondary school. A disproportionate number are from minority groups in remote or very poor areas, often along Thailand’s borders with Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia and Myanmar. Children in these groups also account for the vast majority of children who are not registered at birth. Without a birth certificate their rights to an education, healthcare and other services can be denied.
Challenges for children
• Birth registration