News / Asia

Thailand Announces Compensation Plan for Southern Violence

A Thai soldier looks on as a Muslim woman crosses the street in Bacho, a city in southern Thailand, where a violent insurgency in the Muslim-dominated region has been simmering since 2004. (File)
A Thai soldier looks on as a Muslim woman crosses the street in Bacho, a city in southern Thailand, where a violent insurgency in the Muslim-dominated region has been simmering since 2004. (File)

Thailand has announced a plan to financially compensate victims of state security in its deep south, where a simmering insurgency has left thousands of people dead.

Rights groups have welcomed the plan as a positive step towards reconciliation but say the region still lacks much needed justice and accountability.

A committee appointed by the Thai government approved pay-outs of up to a quarter of a million dollars each for people affected by violence in the deep south. They include relatives of those killed by state security in incidents that analysts say helped fuel an insurgency that has claimed more than 5,000 lives since 2004.

Among the families to be compensated are relatives of those killed in 2004, when security forces crushed a group of Muslim militants seeking refuge at Pattani Province’s Krue Se mosque.

A few months later, 78 anti-government demonstrators died of suffocation after they were arrested and packed into trucks. Under the new plan, their relatives would be compensated.

Family of missing relatives believed to have been “disappeared” by security forces would also be compensated.

According to Sunai Phasuk, a researcher on Thailand for New York-based Human Rights Watch, the group has documented 39 cases of forced disappearance. Although the damages for southern victims is the highest ever offered and is significant in its recognition of victims of state security, Phasuk said, it does not go far enough.

“More important than compensation, there need to be investigations," he said.  "There needs to be accountability. And, we hope that this [is] a very important first step that will lead to broader investigation into state-sponsored violence in the south, which has been going on for many, many years.”

The settlement for the southern victims follows a similar deal in January to compensate victims of the country’s political violence that has sporadically gripped Bangkok since 2005. Analysts say that compensation plan put pressure on the government to address the long-running grievances in the south.

Muslim men run with the body of a man following a shootout with soldiers near Pattani, southern Thailand, April 13, 2007. (file photo)
Muslim men run with the body of a man following a shootout with soldiers near Pattani, southern Thailand, April 13, 2007. (file photo)

A separate committee is later expected to determine compensation for relatives of security officials killed in the southern incidents.

Benjamin Zawacki, from Amnesty International in Thailand, said the conflict in the south is Thailand’s most egregious human rights problem.

“Not a single official has been held accountable for human rights violations in the deep south during that time, despite the fact that roughly 50 percent of the insurgents that have been prosecuted have been convicted," Zawacki said.  "And, so there's definitely a justice deficit in the south.”

Just hours from Thailand’s famous tourist beaches, the insurgency remains concentrated in its three most southern provinces: Narathiwat, Pattani, and Yala.

Southern Thailand was an independent Malay Muslim sultanate before the Buddhist kingdom seized the region a century ago.

Ethnic Malay Muslims not happy under Thai Buddhist rule have since fought an on-and-off insurgency believed aimed at some form of autonomy.  But the insurgents’ objectives remain murky as they have no public face and no clearly stated goals. They target Thai soldiers and police, but also kill hundreds of soft targets such at teachers, monks, and farmers, seen as representing the Thai Buddhist state.

Rights groups say that shadowy group security forces have resorted to torture and arbitrary detention.

You May Like

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid