UNDERSTANDING CONFLICT AND APPROACHING PEACE IN SOUTHERN THAILAND
Edited by Dr. Imtiyaz Yusuf and Dr. Lars Peter Schmidt
Presentation of results of the conference from 1-2 September 2006, 297 pages. This publication can be obtained / ordered at the office of Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Bangkok. The postal fee for international shipping is 10 US $/ 8 €.
Since January 2004, the insurgency in the three southernmost provinces of Thailand, Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, has resulted until now in the deaths of more than 1,500 people. The emergence of such a situation has threatened peaceful development of Thailand as a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation. Thai Muslims constitute about 4 – 5 % of Thai population, making up the largest religious group after the Buddhist majority.
The unrest in the South has raised national concern about how to bring about peaceful resolution to the crisis, how to rebuild peaceful relations between the Buddhist and Muslim sections of the country and continue on the path of building civil society in Thailand.
Moreover, the conflict in Southern Thailand has attracted international attention, raising concerns that the situation will be exploited by international terrorists as a reason to launch a jihad in Thailand.
The main problem facing Thailand at the present is how to bring about peace through national reconciliation, which recognizes the multi-cultural and multi-ethnic characters of Thai polity at national level and would lead to the end of conflict and bloodshed.
The Thai government has been trying to find solutions to the crisis in a multi-pronged manner undertaking political, security, cultural and religious initiatives: Building reconciliation by peaceful means, reducing use of military force and considering establishment of a self-administrative zone in the restive provinces. All of them are still being studied, and many of them are under debate.
For these reasons, Konrad Adenauer Foundation Thailand has set up a research project, starting from December 2005 to June 2006, with a conference between 1 – 2 September 2006 and a publication as outcomes. The main objective of the project is to offer a forum for Thai and international academics and public figures to explain the historical background, which is little known, and reasons behind the unrest in the Southern Thailand, focusing tensions and pressures that have contributed to the prolonging of the conflict. The project also aims to provide suggestions on rebuilding the peace in the region.
Contributors of this publication are international and Thai political scientists, political philosophers, security analysts, religion specialists and peace activists, who are engaging both academically and practically in addressing and seeking solutions for the Southern crisis. Some of them are members of the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC), set up by the Thai government as an independent body to find solutions to the problem.
The book aims at providing profound analyses of the conflict and its possible effects on the rest of Thailand, thus hoping to promote the dialogue between experts and decision-makers and among the religions.
Lists of articles and contributors:
1. “Local Patriotism and the Need for Sound Language and Education Policies in the Southern Border Provinces”, Dr Gothom Arya, Mahidol University
2. “Understanding Reconciliation Problematique in Thai Society”, Assoc Prof Dr Chaiwat Satha-Anand, Thammasat University
3. “Building High-Trust Cultures for Peace in the South of Thailand”, Asst Prof Dr Warayuth Sriwarakuel, Assumption University
4. “Building High-Trust Cultures for Peace in the South of Thailand” Asst Prof Dr Warayuth Sriwarakuel, Assumption University
5. “Educational Change for Building Peace in Southern Border Provinces of Thailand”, Asst Prof Dr Ibrahem Narongraksakhet
6. “The Ethno-Religious Dimension of the Conflict in Southern Thailand”, Dr Imtiyaz Yusuf, Assumption University
7. “The Malaysian Factor in the Prospects for Peace in Southern Thailand”, Prof Dr Omar Farouk Bajunid, Hiroshima City University
8. “Divided Loyalties: The Moral Basis of Peace in a Multi-cultural World of Conflict and Humiliation”, Prof Dr Gerhold K Becker, Assumption University
Thailand, January 1, 2007