On 5 July 2022, Dr. Vilawan Mangklatanakul, Deputy Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Thailand and the International Law Commission (ILC)’s elected member (2023-2027) together with the Department of Treaties and Legal Affairs co-hosted an Afternoon talk under the topic “Women in Diplomacy: The Role of Women in Supporting Thailand’s Promotion of International Law” at Park Nai Lert Heritage Home.
The event was attended by female Ambassadors to Thailand, the United Nations Resident Coordinator, a representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross as well as former and current senior female diplomats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand. The talk was timely, coming on the heels of the recently adopted UNGA Resolution of 20 June 2022 declaring 24 June of each year as the International Day of Women in Diplomacy and aimed at exploring possible cooperation among women working in diplomacy to support the promotion of international law and the rule of law.
Dr. Vilawan addressed gender imbalance in the UN high-level positions and other international law institutions such as the International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. She encouraged women working in diplomacy to keep supporting each other to promote equal representation of women in the UN system and other international institutions.
Dr. Suphanvasa Chotikajan Tang, Director-General of the Department of Treaties and Legal Affairs introduced the primary role and responsibilities of the Department of Treaties and Legal Affairs, which are to provide Government agencies with legal advice on international law-related issues including treaty makingprocess and to carry out functions of the depositary of treaties concluded between Thailand and other countries.Also addressing the Department’s gender composition, she alluded to the increasing proportion of its female international lawyers, which account for about 62 percent of its current staff and suggested three ways to help the Department promote increasing representation of women in international law-related fora.
First: Strengthening and preserving the Department’s internal knowledge base especially through building capacity and expertise of female international lawyers on newly emerging issues which are technical in nature such as cybercrime, pandemics etc. ;
Second: Encouraging and promoting active participation of the female lawyers and practitioners in international legal fora such as the annual meeting of the UNGA Sixth Committee; and
Third: Seeking and creating partnership with like-minded countries and other international law-related institutions such as the collaboration between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand and the Codification Division of the UN Office of Legal Affairs in co-hosting the UN Regional Course in International Law for the Asia-Pacific region.
Ms. Gita Sabharwal, the UN Resident Coordinator and guest speaker, highlighted gender equality as the number one predictor of peace and praised the Thai Government for its commitment and continued effort to promote gender equality and women engagement in peace building and sustainable development. She commended the Thai Government for appointing a special representative to promote women engagement in Southern Thailand’s peace agenda and proposed ways Thailand can advance its Women Peace and Security agenda as follows;
First: Understanding the challenges by listening to the perspectives and experiences of women and girls;
Second: Protecting as well as empowering women;
Third: Encouraging women in the Southern Border Provinces to participate in joint working groups on violence reduction, public consultation and political solution; and
Fourth: Putting women at the center of peace building in order to strengthen trust and create social cohesion.