Troubles in the South – January-June 2008

Troubles in the South - January-June 2008
Troubles in the South index page

The Aceh Model - A good model to end the violence in Thailand’s southern border provinces, by encouraging conciliatory talks between the rebels and the state? - translated and summarized from Krungtep Turakit, June 5, 2008
The government’s peacebuilding policies include an examination of the strategies employed by the Indonesian government in its dealings with the ‘Free Aceh Movement’ (GAM). Lieutenant-General Nipat Thonglek, Chief of the Royal Thai Army’s Border Affairs Department, has been assigned to run a cooperative project with the Indonesian government on this issue. General Nipat recently became the Deputy Head of the Aceh Monitoring Mission (AMM), and this provided him the opportunity to observe the conciliatory process between GAM and the Indonesian government. Nipat has listed 4 similarities between the separatist conflicts in Thailand and Indonesia, as follows:

  1. The similar historical background of the racial groups involved in the two conflicts.
  2. Their common Muslim religious belief.
  3. The physical remoteness of both conflicts from the seat of central government.
  4. The necessity to improve the well-being and standard-of-living of those social groups in conflict with the state.

Indonesia has enjoyed considerable success in its conciliatory talks with GAM. Nipat thus concludes that it will be necessary to understand the key similarities that exist between the separatist conflicts in our two countries. He believes this analysis will help to indicate what actions the Thai government might take to swiftly bring an end to the violence in the deep south. Nipat has expressed his concern, however, that the Thai government has yet to fully establish which groups are fomenting the region’s unrest.
I wish to comment that this government needs to be very clear about which groups it will negotiate with in any possible future reconciliation process.

(Photo: Dr. Has for

Care, Cure…Heal Mind for Southern Peace - May, 2008
It reads: Care, Cure…Heal Minds for Southern Peace - You can ask for advice at the Center to Cure and Heal the Mind – Hotline 1323 and 1667 or from a psychologist at a community hospital near your home.
Smaller board at the bottom: Yala Provincial Administration Organization Election on Sunday, June 15, 2008 at 8am-3pm. Go to the election booth and get 2 voting cards - 1st card for selecting the President of the Provincial Administration Organization – 1 number
2nd card for selecting members of the Provincial Administration Organization – 1 number for each electoral area - the Yala Provincial Administration Organization

The forgotten province - March 13, 2008
[An alarmist article from the Post, "Islamist win raises concern" (March 11, 2008), misstates several facts. Thanks to GWR for spotting this.]

...Malaysian voters put opposition parties in all three of the Malaysian states on Thailand's southern border...

[Wrong--there are four Malaysian border provinces.]

For the first time, Islamist governments will rule Malaysian states abutting all five Muslim-majority provinces in the South. In addition to parts of Yala, Kedah borders the province of Satun - which has seen no violence since the southern insurgency flared up in 2004...

[Wrong, the Malaysian province of Perlis borders Satun--and that remains under government control. Unfortunate that when the Bangkok Post finally decides to have an opinion, they get the facts wrong.]

Fourth year anniversary - Missing Lawyer Somchai - The Nation, March 12, 2008
Angkhana Neelaphaichit delivers a statement at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, on the fourth anniversary of the disappearance of her husband, Somchai, on Wednesday.
While this statement is read, I am at the United Nations' Human Rights Council session in Geneva, Switzerland, to present a report on the human rights situation in Thailand and also to report on the latest developments and obstacles in the investigation of the disappearance of Mr Somchai Neelapaichit, which was taken up by the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UNWGED) four years ago...

(Dr. Has for

Sign in the deep south - February 21, 2008
A sign made from the that the military set up in a red area in front of Ban Luemu Mosque, Amphur Krongpinang, Yala. It reads: Declaration - People who love peace, please know that the unrest group usually leaves the leaflets this area. Please do not believe in these bad intentions for the nation.

(Dr. Has for

Yala billboard - February 23, 2008
It reads: Stop doing bad now. Read! Islam: the truth that must be revealed. Yala governor [On the book it reads: Islam - the truth that must be revealed.]

Police must under no circumstances be given responsibility for protecting witnesses from other police - An Open Letter to the Minister of Justice of Thailand by the Asian Human Rights Commission, February 20, 2008
...According to the information we have received, Angkhana Neelaphaijit, the wife of abducted human rights lawyer Somchai Neelaphaijit, will from February 29 no longer receive protection from personnel assigned by the Department of Special Investigation, Ministry of Justice. Instead, the Department will give police officers the task...

Muslim rebel leader calls for referendum on autonomy for restive southern Thailand - AP, February 22, 2008
[Thanks to Marc for pointing this out.]
...The comments from Lukman B. Lima, who heads the Pattani United Liberation Organization from exile in Sweden, were the first from the Muslim rebel movement since Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej and his interior minister made conflicting remarks on the issue earlier this month...

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