Tag Archives: Southern Thailand

Thailand-Torture, Fear And Southern Distrust

The southern region of Thailand has always been inhabited by people who are of the Muslim faith unlike the majority of Bhuddist Thais. The nation’s new Interior Minister, Chalerm Yubamrung, recently floated the idea of granting semi-autonomy to the deep South in a clear break from past administrations who have resorted to war, terror and torture to break insurgencies in that area of the country. Over 3,000 lives have been lost since January, 2004 when a group of armed men raided a military camp and killed several soldiers.

A common complaint of Muslims is the use of torture against those who express anger toward the government. Aninudin Kaji, an Islamic teacher, described being beaten while in detention because someone had named him as an insurgent. Anantachai Thaiprathan, a member of the National Human Rights Commission, claims his group has uncovered at least 30 torture cases that took place in the deep South. He believes the use of torture against Muslim suspects has created anger and distrust of the national government.

A common complaint among Thai human rights groups is reliance on force rather than diplomacy and conciliation to win over the hearts of Muslim Thais. They need greater self autonomy and a more active participation in government. Torture is never the way to gain respect in the world.

Muslim Insurgency Continues In Thailand

Four Thai officials were driving home after a typical day at work when their car was suddenly attacked by a band of of men driving on motorcycles. After the firing ceased all four officials lay dead. This was just another example of the type of killing that goes on and on in the three southern provinces of Thailand where 80% of the people are Muslim. Muslims live in a nation where the overwhelming majority of people are of the Buddhist faith and since the current insurgency began by Muslims on January 1 2004 when men raided an army base and got 300 weapons, over 2,500 people have been killed. Muslim insurgents in the area tend to focus on officials, military members and teachers in order to get across their demands. When police arrived on this latest example of murder, a bomb detonated.

Muslims living in southern Thailand were once part of the nation of Pattani which was conquered by Buddhists in 1786 and incorporated into Thailand. The Thai government relies mainly on military action rather than encouraging economic development and a multicultural focus in daily life and schools.