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Pandemic exposes inequalities for marginalised

Bangkok Post, Thailand, 31 March 2021 - The precarious situation of marginalised communities has increased dramatically during the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has brought home the need for access to government assistance, which is often not forthcoming and leads to dramatic consequences including increased suicide rates.

The dire consequences of such precarities is dramatised by Thailand having the highest suicide rate, despite being the second largest economy in Southeast Asia. The poverty rate has increased dramatically in the country and debt-poverty has pushed many to suicide. The need for public assistance is evident in addressing the amplification during the pandemic of distresses caused by inequality and poverty. However, the government's inability to provide help has also been called into question. A case in point is the difficulties Thailand faced in providing financial assistance to the poorest in society. The government even appealed to the richest businessmen to assist!

The struggle to survive amid the pandemic was highlighted by journalists working on inequality, injustice and poverty whose stories featured in the "Journalism for an Equitable Asia Award" organised last week by Asia Centre and Oxfam in Asia in Bangkok, Thailand. The journalists exposed existing inequalities within and between societies. They showed that the Covid-19 pandemic dramatically exacerbated the precariousness and vulnerability of many groups: children, indigenous peoples, migrants, refugees and women.

Employing "old-school" journalism -- listening and interacting with the victims themselves -- they diligently documented the bravery of these groups who faced harsh and unfair conditions and practices as they sought to squeeze out a living in various sectors and locations: women in home-based work, the transport sector, women providing healthcare in remote areas, home-based women workers, women and children in conflict areas, rural agricultural farmers from minority communities, stateless climate refugees and transgender communities deprived of their sparse sources of livelihood.



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