Human rights infringed – terrible events on our southern borders

Human rights infringed - terrible events on our southern borders - translated and summarized from Matichon, April 14, 2008
The issue of human rights is an important one. And it is especially important when we consider the ongoing violence in our southern border provinces. It should be of serious concern to us all that the policemen and army personnel operating in the restive region have so often been accused of infringing human rights.
Two cases that were hugely antagonistic, in the ongoing conflict between the region’s locals and the state security forces, were the mysterious death - in 1954 - of the leading human rights activist Haji Sulong Tohmeena and the more recent disappearance of the famous Muslim lawyer Somchai Neelaphaijit. A 2007 report by the Human Rights Watch organization said that there had been numerous ‘disappearances’ in the region, with no apparent reason for the majority of them.
Such reports impact very directly on the public image of our government officials - some of whom are under suspicion of involvement in the heinous crimes that undoubtedly lie behind these disappearances. Such events impact very negatively on Thailand’s image abroad, as our country has already signed many treaties with international organizations to protect human rights.
I believe that the government urgently needs to create a better awareness, among government officials, of the negative impacts that can accrue from the cruel treatment of suspects. As the Sook Kaew Kaewdaeng Foundation says, the region’s unrest can only be resolved if both its residents and its state officials have a shared vision of the need to protect human rights. The foundation hope that their project to promote a better respect for human rights will eventually lead to long-term peace in the restive region.
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