Patani Community Spearheads Peace Building in ThaiSouth

Posted: October 2, 2015 in Thailand, ThaiSouth
Tags: , , , , , ,

It’s a positive sign to see peace-building initiatives in conflict-torn south Thailand, especially when people are invited to express themselves about their concerns and hopes.

As reported by Benar News:

Some 1,000 scholars, diplomats, social workers and students took part Wednesday in an international conference in Thailand’s violence-wracked Deep South aimed at fostering peace in the region, where at least five people died in continued fighting this week, according to officials and police.

The participants from Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines – three Southeast Asian nations hit by Muslim insurgencies – agreed to forge a network among academics for research and other activities that promote peace-building and conflict resolution using various models.

They said the resolution of long-running conflicts in Indonesia’s Aceh province and an ongoing peace deal in the southern Philippines offered hope for an end to the insurgency in Thailand’s predominantly Muslim southern border region, which has left more than 6,000 people dead and 10,000 injured since 2004.

My thoughts: Key aspects of peace-building is sustainability of discussions, and where people could express their issues and needs without persecution from the junta or other overzealous authorities. That should include out-of-the-conference context, with small group discussions among rural, marginalized groups, and should include indigenous communities.

The Mani community, among a handful of tribes, has been neglected in the “Patani Melayu” equation of self-determination. I worry about the Melayu nationalism agenda, and how it may further ostracise others in the quest for identity. As it is, what is the junta doing to ensure fair representation of indigenous people in decision-making process in south Thailand? If nothing now, when will it happen?


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