Tag Archives: Muslms

Serb Riot In Kosovo Against UN Forces

Serbs living in northern areas of Kosovo rioted against western peacekeepers in the worst unrest since the Muslim dominated government of Kosovo declared its independence. UN riot police backed by NATO helicopters and armored vehicles used stun grenades and teargas to restore control of a court-building occpied by Serb activists in the Serb controlled town of Mitrovica. Dozens of people were hurt in explosions and clashes after riot police stormed the building at dawn. Most of Mitrovica’s 40,000 people are Serbs who oppose the Muslim decision to make Kosovo an independent nation and break away from control by Serbia.

There is little question the 300 Serbs who took over the court house were being supported by Serbian officials. The protestors raised Serbian flags over the building and indicated they want to remain part of Serbia. Milan Ivanovie, the Serbian leader claimed the Kosovo govenment had ordered NATO forces to drive out the protestors. There is fear Serbia wants to create a separate Serbian led government in northern Kosovo which would run the area, and, in effect, declare its independence from the govenment of Kosovo.

As always, ethnic conflicts divide and separate people in Europe and other parts of the world. The tangled web of anger and hate will not soon disappear from Kosovo until its government and Serbia can create the semblance of peaceful relations.

Thailand’s Troubled Southern Muslim Province

Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn, writing in the Bangkok Post argues reports of torture and ill treatment of people in the southern Muslim province on the south are on the increase. He beleived the Thailand government must become more pro-active in addressing long festering problems related to lack of equal rights for Muslims in his nation. “Crimes are being committed extensively, particularly against civilians, and it is the general local population that suffers most.” Some of the challenges to Thailand’s government are:

1. The current State of Emergency Decree which prohibits visits by families and lawyers during the initial three days to those being detained creates hardships.
2. The three day rule begins anew if the person is moved from one location to another.
3, Various emergency laws allow authorities to detain people for seven days without any court process being initiated. The government insists the detained person is technically “helping authorities” which obviously is a euphimism for being arrested.
4. Many children under the age of eighteen have been detained which violates the rights of children to access to legal assistance. Poor women whose husbands have been arrested lack money for a family’s basic needs.

There is need for more aggressive programs that address issues of poverty in southern areas of Thailand and that provide greater opporunities for Muslims to become actively engaged in the political arena. Military action against terrorists is only one facet of any program of ending violence. Unless social, economic and political steps are taken, there will continue to be unrest in Muslim areas of Thailand.