Top Stories : Opening Remark by H.E. Mr. Sek Wannamethee, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Thailand to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva, at the Side Event on Mainstreaming Migrant Health into the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, on Tuesday 9 May 2017, at the Palais des Nations News

Top Stories : Opening Remark by H.E. Mr. Sek Wannamethee, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Thailand to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva, at the Side Event on Mainstreaming Migrant Health into the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, on Tuesday 9 May 2017, at the Palais des Nations

Opening Remark by H.E. Mr. Sek Wannamethee,
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Thailand to the United Nations and other International Organizations
in Geneva, at the Side Event on Mainstreaming Migrant Health into the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, on Tuesday 9 May 2017, at the Palais des Nations

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Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

         In 2015, we marked a new era of sustainable development, especially with the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – a promise of leaving no one behind. One year later in September 2016, Members of the United Nations gathered at the highest level to discuss about migrants, recognized their positive contribution to inclusive growth and sustainable development and agreed to launch an intergovernmental process leading to the adoption of a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration.

         Today, we are all here to take part in that process to ensure that our commitment expressed in New York Declaration to fully protect the human rights of all refugees and migrants, regardless of status, remains true. The right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is one of the most crucial and fundamental right as good health is a precondition for people, including migrants, to contribute more in development activities and ensure public health security.

         With that in mind, Thailand strongly believes that ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all, including migrants, is in line with Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals and fundamental to the sustainable development of our country. Addressing health needs of migrants is therefore imperative.

         Speaking from my country’s perspective, Thailand attracts millions of permanent and temporary migrant workers from neighbouring countries. Migrant workers contribute around 7-10% of the industrial sector, and around 4-5% in the agricultural sector. They represent an important workforce for a country in transition like Thailand which faces demographic changes and high demand for labour intensive industry.

         As a country committed to provide affordable and quality healthcare delivery system for all in a non-discriminatory manner, Thailand applies Universal Health Coverage and “Healthy Migrants in Healthy Communities” policy. We have provided health insurance for both documented and undocumented migrants including their dependents, along with innovative programmes of migrant health volunteers: not only as interpreters in a health facility but also volunteers for health education and health promotion to inform migrant communities of their rights and health information on hygiene and sanitary.  

         Development of multi-sectoral approaches particularly among Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Public Health through the “One Stop Service” policy have effectively facilitated registration for illegal migrant workers and their dependents in order to extend social protection and legal support to those in needs as well as prevent them from any form of exploitation and violation of human rights. Moreover, public-private partnerships, networks and multi-country framework have been developed and implemented to engage other stakeholders and share responsibility.

         From a decade of experiences in reducing vulnerabilities, Thailand has successfully raised the migrant issue as the national agenda and one of the regional priority in the ASEAN Post-2015 Health Development Agenda. To address migrant health is not only one country’s responsibility but needs comprehensive and collective approach from origin, transit and destination countries as well as multi-stakeholders engagement. We hope that together with all of us, we will be able to raise this essential issue of migrant health to the international level. And by mainstreaming migrant health into all the discussions we will have on the global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration, we will make justice to health, the prerequisite of the sustainable development.  

I thank you.