State of the World's Minorities 2008 - Thailand
|Publisher||Minority Rights Group International|
|Publication Date||11 March 2008|
|Cite as||Minority Rights Group International, State of the World's Minorities 2008 - Thailand, 11 March 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48a7eae755.html [accessed 22 May 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
A year after the coup that overthrew Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawata, armed violence has continued to plague the Muslim Malay-majority southern provinces of Kala, Narathiwat, Patanni and Songkhla. According to a July 2007 Human Rights Watch (HRW) report, in their efforts to establish an independent Islamic state in Thailand's southern border provinces, separatist groups have killed 2,463 people in bomb attacks, shootings, assassinations, ambushes and machete attacks since January 2004 (89 per cent of victims were civilians). HRW also says that: 'Thai security forces have carried out extra-judicial killings, disappearances and arbitrary arrests of those known or suspected to be involved with separatist groups.'
Despite the continued violence, in some ways the September 2006 coup in Thailand has led to improved management of the conflict in the south. The current military-installed civilian government, headed by former army commander General Surayud Chulanont, made an historic apology to southern Muslims for past abuses and announced an end to blacklisting of suspected insurgents. However, according to a March 2007 International Crisis Group report: 'attempts to accommodate Malay Muslim identity such as the introduction of the Patani Malay dialect as an additional language in state primary schools and to promote its use in government offices have fallen flat in the absence of high-level political support'.