Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Searching for Peace in southern Thailand

A Public Forum
co-organised by
Asia Forum for Human Rights and Development (Forum-Asia) and Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)


The southern Thai provinces of Songkla, Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani were once part of the ancient kingdom of Pattani. At the start of the 20th Century, these territories were annexed by the Thai Kingdom but grievances of these Muslim-dominated provinces formented until it exploded into a 20-year movement for independence in the 1970s.

But the fragile calm soon passed with several incidents including that of the massacre of Tak Bai. Since January 2004 more than a thousand people have died, hundreds have fled to the Malaysian borders seeking refuge and there has since been a deterioration in the diplomatic relations between Malaysia and Thailand. Various attempts to ameliorate the restive south have seemingly failed. In the recent Thai general elections, the south rejected the ruling party and those who were perceived as Thai-centric candidates.

Is there an option for peace in southern Thailand or will the iron-gloved reactions by Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra provoke a new civil war and a revived impetus for independence in South East Asia? Is there truth in allegations that Islamic jihadists have a hand in the starting and continuing the conflict? What roles can civil society organisations and the inter-governmental regional body - ASEAN play in light of ceaseless acts of violence?

This public forum presents Mr. Sunai Phasuk, a human rights activist and expert on the subject of south Thailand, who will give his insights into the situation there and the political future of those living in the south; and Mr. Yusri Mohammad, President of ABIM, will provide perspectives of the Malaysian public opinion and observations made during ABIM's humanitarian missions there.

1. Sunai Phasuk, Consultant on Thailand, Human Rights Watch
2. Yusri Mohammad, President, Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM) and Lecturer, Faculty of Law, International Islamic University (IIU)

Dr. Yeoh Seng Guan, Chair of Secretariat, SUARAM.

Details of the Public Forum

Date: 25 November 2005, Friday
Time: 8.30 pm - 10.00 pm
Venue: Hotel Istana, 73, Jalan Raja Chulan 50200, Kuala Lumpur

There are no admission charges to the public forum.

For reservations and further information, please contact SUARAM at 03-7782 0357 or suaram@suaram.net

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