Civilian Deaths Drop Following Talk With BRN: Official Report

(14 July) Security force
in southern Thailand recently released a report stating that the death toll of civilians in the
Southern Insurgency has declined since the government has started negotiating with the armed Islamic
separatist group, National Revolution Front (BRN).

The report was released to the public by
Southern Border Province Administrative Centre (SBPAC) and based on data compiled by Southern Border
Province Police Operational Centre.

It concludes that in 2007, the number of vulnerable
victims – a term defining those who were unarmed and unable to fend for themselves – has reached
its highest at 471. But once the Thai government has launched the negotiation with BRN in early
2013, the number of innocent victims has declined to 97 in the same year.

207, 209,  and
198 vulnerable victims were killed in the year of 2010, 2011, and 2012, respectively, according to
the data.

2013 also marked the first year that numbers of those vulnerable victims have
been killed less than armed officials.

The authority claims that the results have proved the
government success in affirming the locals that the negotiation plan is easing the insurgency as it
went in accordance with International Human Rights and Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)
supervisions.

Mr. Shintaro Hara, professor in Malay language from Prince of Songkla
University, Pattani Campus, said before the negotiation process had started that the insurgent group
had not pinpointed their targets, which explained why there were so many innocent victims caught up
in the insurgents? campaigns.

The declining attacks on civilians resembled the announcement
made by the BRN
when the negotiation process started, that they would not attack innocent victim, and focus
on fighting only against Thai government officials, according to Mr. Hara.

He said
that there is no guarantee that there will be no other attacks against the innocents or no violence
during the Ramadan – the Islamic fasting season – because there were other Islamist groups
disagreeing with the negotiation.

Moreover, Mr. Hara noted, the political inconsistency in
Thai government also clouds the scene, as some high ranking military and government officials in
Thailand are openly against the plan, possibly out of fear that the current government might gain
more popularity should the process yield some success.

Pol.Maj.Gen. Chamroon Dane-Udom,
advisor of Southern Islamic Cultural Association, agreed that the innocents have been targeted less
in the ongoing insurgency, partly because the religious core figure and local leaders disapproved
such violence.

Another reason is that the government is successfully preventing the violence,
after Secretary-General of the National Security Council, Lieutenant General Paradon Pattanatabut,
offered to stop the violence against the civilians in the second round of negotiation, Pol.Maj.Gen.
Chamroon said.

He also commented that the government is heading the right way and suggested
more analysts and scholars should be in cooperation with the authorities. 

However, the
heart of “Peace Building Process”” is to create the atmosphere of trust and understanding,
Pol.Maj.Gen. Chamroon added, because the prospect of decreasing violence rely extensively on these
processes.