World Bulletin/News Desk
A leading international human rights group has called on Thailand to prosecute those responsible for the massacre of dozens of ethnic Malay Muslims ten years ago.
In a statement Saturday to mark the anniversary of the killings in Tak Bai in southern Thailand’s Narathiwat province, Brad Adams, the Asia director of Human Rights Watch, said: “Thailand’s failure to prosecute security personnel responsible for the Tak Bai killings is a glaring injustice that brings the police, military and courts into disrepute.
“The Thai authorities’ failure to deliver justice to southern Muslims has fuelled conditions for the insurgency in the deep south.”
On October 25, 2004, Thai military units opened fire on peaceful demonstrators, killing seven. Hundreds of villagers were arrested and packed into trucks to be sent to a military camp in neighboring Pattani province. In the crammed conditions, 78 more died from asphyxiation during the journey.
An investigation appointed by then Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra concluded two months later that three senior army officers failed to properly monitor operation.
However, in August 2013 the Supreme Court judged the military blameless because they had been performing their duty.
Referring to current Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former general who has said the Thai people should not be reminded of the massacre, the statement added: “[Chan-ocha] has not addressed abuses against ethnic Malay Muslims.”
Although some victims’ families had received compensation “this does not relieve the authorities of their legal obligation to prosecute those responsible for unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other abuses.”
The organization also demanded the lifting of an emergency decree, implemented in southern Thailand since July 2005, that grants relative immunity to security force personnel.
A conflict in Thailand's majority-Muslim southern provinces flared in the 1960s when Bangkok tried to exert control over Islamic schools. More than 6,000 have been killed in the last ten years.
Since a military coup in May, the junta has expressed its willingness to restart a peace dialogue process with the rebels – a process launched last year by the civilian government of Yingluck Shinawatra, Thaksin’s sister.
However, observers are sceptical of success due to the junta’s advance exclusion of discussions on autonomy.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Ekim 2014, 15:52