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Submitted by warresisters on Tue, 26 May 2009 - 16:12


Unfortunately, the Thailand country report is not up-to-date. Although there might have been a discussion to abolish conscription in 1997/8, conscription has in fact not been abolished.

Military service

The Military Service Act B.E. 2497 (1954) stipulates that every Thai male is required to enlist in the military reserve force at the age of 18 years. At the age of 21 years, they are screened for physical disabilities and recruited on a demand basis [5] for two years of military service as private soldiers. Participation of these males in the labour force is delayed.

Military service can be postponed for males who are studying in higher education institutions, but for no longer than five years.

Alternatively, young males can engage in an extracurricular course for students of upper secondary and higher education. The course is offered by the Territorial Defense Department, Ministry of Defense, requiring five years to complete. The minimum requirement for this course is the participation for three years as a reserve officer training corps (ROTC) student. Titles of provisional second sergeant, first sergeant and second lieutenant are granted to those who complete three, four and five years of ROTC respectively.
ROTC graduates are exempted from military service as private soldiers. They form part of the reserve forces without having served in the army. Some are later called to join the army when needed, but only a few are recruited each year. Males and females aged 15 to 22 years, with Grade 9 education are eligible to participate in the ROTC programme. Females were granted access to the ROTC programme in 1985, when the Ministry of Defense instituted a policy to provide equal opportunities in military training for both males and females. The Ministry of Defense began a campaign to encourage female participation in 1991 and many female students have voluntarily participated even though they are not required to serve in the military. In 1999, females made up 4.1 per cent of the 230,977 students participating in the programme (NDC 1999).

5 When the supply of 21-year-old males exceeds the demand for private soldiers, each eligible male draws at random for a position.