Malaysia to cooperate with Thailand ending violence in Southern Provinces where an ethnic separatist insurgency is taking place, predominantly in the Malay Pattani region. Thailand’s Foreign Minister Surapong met with the Foreign Minister of Malaysia and the Executive Director of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime UNODC.
In his bilateral meeting with Dato’Siri Anifah Aman, Foreign Minister of Malaysia, Foreign Minister Surapong reiterated that Thailand attached great importance to enhancing its relations with neighboring countries. In this regard, the Foreign Minister informed his Malaysian counterpart of Thailand’s readiness to host the 12th Meeting of the Thailand-Malaysia Joint Commission and the 3rd Meeting of the Thailand-Malaysia Committee on Joint Development Strategy JDS this year to prepare for the 5th Meeting of the Annual Consultation between the Prime Ministers of Thailand and Malaysia to be hosted by Malaysia.
During the discussion, Foreign Minister Surapong also raised the issue of the draft Agreement on Border Crossing which is being revised from the 1940 Agreement on Border Crossing. The concluding of a new agreement would help facilitate movements across the border for the peoples of both countries.
Foreign Minister Surapong also expressed his condolences regarding the four Malaysians killed in the bomb attacks in Su-ngai Kolok, Narathiwat on 16 September 2011. He also expressed appreciation for Malaysia’s cooperation in helping to address the on-going problems in the Southern Border Provinces. In this connection, the Malaysian Foreign Minister reiterated that the Southern Border Provinces issue is an internal matter for Thailand and reaffirmed Malaysia’s readiness to cooperate with Thailand to tackle the problem.
In the meeting with Mr. Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of UNODC, Foreign Minister Surapong highlighted Thailand’s policy in eradicating narcotics and related crimes and reiterated Thailand’s commitment to the fight against corruption. In this connection, Thailand became a state party to the United Nations Convention against Corruption in March earlier year. Among other things, both parties also discussed the UN Rules for Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders or the “Bangkok Rules” which arose from the Enhancing Lives of Female Inmates ELFI Project initiated by Her Royal Highness Princess Bajarakitiyabha. Endorsed during the 65th Session of the UNGA, the “Bangkok Rules” was supported by UNODC.
The UNODC Executive Director informed the Foreign Minister of his forthcoming trip to the South East Asian region, where he would also visit UNODC’s field office in Bangkok which oversees other operations in the region. He also commended Thailand on its efforts to solve the human trafficking problem, including the role of Dr. Saisuree Chutikul, a renowned Thai eminent person on human trafficking, who was recently elected a board member of United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children. He also reaffirmed his continued readines to cooperate with Thailand.
In October 2004 the town of Tak Bai in Narathiwat province saw the most publicized incident of the insurgency. Six local men were arrested for having supplied weapons to insurgents. A demonstration was organized to demand their release and the police called in army reinforcements. The army used tear gas and water cannons on the crowd, and shooting started in which seven men were killed.
Hundreds of local people, mostly young men, were arrested. They were made to take off their shirts and lie on the ground. Their hands were tied behind their backs. Later that afternoon, they were thrown by soldiers into trucks to be taken to the army camp in the nearby province of Pattani. The prisoners were stacked five or six deep in the trucks, and by the time the trucks reached their destination five hours later, in the heat of the day, 78 men had suffocated to death.