7 May 2012
Joint Public Statement
The Killing of Saiburi Kamnan and three other administrative officers should be condemned
Supporting NSC’s policy for the integration of policy among state agencies in
the Southern Border Provinces Promoting public participation,
preparing for ASEAN integration in 2014
On 3 May 2012, en route the Highway 42 between Narathiwat and Pattani, in Moo 6, Ban Bangomulong, Tambon Traobon, Saiburi District, Pattani, over five gunmen shot and killed Mr. Sangworn Suwanrat, 57 years, Kamnan (Head of Subdistrict) of Tambon Thungkhla, Saiburi, Mr. Preecha Thongead, 48 years, Deputy Kamnan, Mrs. Subhabhon Charoensuk, 45 years, Assistant Kamnan, and Miss Pornthip Phongern, 43 years, Assistant Kamnan, and took away their firearms and money. Such an incidence reflects how unrest has continued unabated and no one has come out to declare responsibility and give reasons why it had to be done so. The crime has cost invaluable losses and reflected failure of measures to ensure safety in life and properties. In many of such incidences, the state has failed to carry out effective investigation, to bring the perpetrators to justice, and to ensure that effective measures be put in place to prevent it, and to enhance safety and security of people and public. We are calling for all concerned parties to support a strategic plan laid out by the National Security Council (NSC) to integrate all policies concerning Southern Border Provinces among various authorities. In addition, public participation should be promoted to get prepared for the Southeast Asia’s regional bloc in 2014.
The Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) and the Hearty Support Group would like to offer our deepest condolences to the affected families in all cases and condemn any forms of violence. Such a crime, regardless if it has been motivated by criminal interest or insurgency, has contributed to immense losses, physically and mentally, and destroyed fellow human lives. It has compromised the effort made by all parties to put an end to the conflicts peacefully. It has led to great confusion and losses.
Unrest which has continued incessantly until early 2012 shows a worsening trend in the Southern Border Provinces. Affected people include Thai Buddhists and Muslims, government officers or civilians, armed security personnel and even children, women and older persons.
Nevertheless, it is important that every party clings on to the hope to solve the problems out through nonviolence and to affirm their determination to refrain from violence and to be complicit in any violent acts. The government should promote public dialogue and discussion on special administrative rule, the formation of the Southern Border Province Civil Society and to support implementation by local civil society organizations.
On 12 January 2012, the cabinet has approved a policy for the administration and development of Southern Border Provinces proposed by the NSC. It is a chance for Thailand to transcend conflicts and make strides toward peace as well as to prepare the region to serve the Southeast Asia’s regional bloc in 2014. Every party needs to improve their action plans and guidance at the policy and local levels being guided by the policy for the administration and development of Southern Border Provinces proposed by the NSC.
The Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) and the Hearty Support Group would like to offer suggestions which may help to make the NSC’s policy become effective including;
1. We support the government to initiate a workshop on 17 May 2012 in an attempt to integrate policies, action plans and budget plans among various government agencies to make them to comply with the policy for the administration and development of Southern Border Provinces proposed by the NSC for the period of 2012-2014. This will help the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center (SBPAC) and Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) to act in compliance with the policy framework set out by the government.
2. May all local authorities immediately make their attempts to integrate their policies in light of the proposed strategic plan by NSC. Action plans should be laid out to encourage local civic groups to participate in any plans to promote the overall public participation.
3. May ISOC adjust its operational security plans to harbor peace including to consider demilitarization and reducing armed officers and to gradually review and revoke the enforcement of emergency situation and Martial Law in the Southern Border Provinces. Instead, normal laws enforced nationwide or appropriate security laws which are more appropriate to the situations should be put in place. The conflict ravaged areas in the Southern Border Provinces of Thailand are still subjected to the enforcement of severe emergency situation and Martial Law, and such legal provisions shall become a major obstacle to the preparation for the development to coincide with the ASEAN Free Trade Area in 2014.
4. May civil society organizations have a chance to review the implementation of NSC’s policy by various agencies and that local communities are encouraged to take part in the planning and management of their local resources including capital and social capitals, among the Thai Buddhists and Muslims and Chinese Thais. This shall ensure the development of education, resource sharing, and employment opportunities among local people and will help to address social and economic inequalities and to enhance social and economic justice that suits the local way of life and culture.
5. May SBPAC set out compensation plans which ensure universal and equal access to redress and remedy with no discrimination and with an emphasis on promoting reconciliation and rehabilitation as well as with respect of human dignity. Such measures shall help to restore mutual trust between the state and the people.
6. May SBPAC set out concrete reforms for the justice process with regard to security related cases and ensure that measures meted out to suppress insurgency contain safeguards to protect human rights and liberty of the people. Meanwhile, attempts should be made to enhance the rule of law and to restore trust in the justice process and justice authorities including the police, public prosecutor, the Court and security agencies which are authorized to implement special laws.
7. May all parties including those claiming to harbor violence to demand justice change their attitude and thinking and adhere to nonviolence. Dialogue between the state and various groups should be encouraged at all levels without being compelled and threatened to do so. The list of people issued with warrants as per the Criminal Procedure Code and the Emergency Decree should be either reviewed or repealed to enhance trust and to encourage those innocent civilians to return home or to resort to a peaceful and democratic way to fight for their political cause. Measures should be meted out to ensure fairness in the justice system to avoid arresting the innocent; otherwise such a cycle of unfairness shall continually give rise to violence.
The policy for the administration and development of Southern Border Provinces proposed by the NSC may not end the unrest immediately. Such a framework has to rely on cooperation from all sectors including local people, and open-mindedness and creative communication has to be promoted to ensure its realistic implementation. The security agencies have to be patient amidst the violence and losses which still occur during the transformation from conflicts to peace. It shall bring about peace and security soon. Eight years of massive losses should give rise to a chance to pave the way for peace in the next three years to serve the cause of the Southeast Asia’s regional bloc in 2014.
For more information, please contact Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF), phone 086-7093000 and Anchana Hamina, Hearty Support Group, Songkhla, phone 081-8098609