Rights agency calls for end to Thai south violence

This picture taken on September 17, 2013 shows Thai woman Tungrudee Jaiin (R) preparing food at her home in the army-protected state 'widows' village' of Rotan Batu, some 20 kilometres from Narathiwat town, capital of one of three Muslim-majority provinces in the grip of a bloody decade-long insurgency that has claimed over 5,900 lives in the deep Thai south.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has called for an end to violence against women and girls in Thailand's southern border provinces.

Conflicts and violence have plagued the region for over 10 years already, adversely affecting a large number of local women directly and indirectly. Some of the victims were killed. Among the dead were female public health officials, pregnant women, elderly women and girls.

The NHRC thus issued a statement yesterday to express its concern and to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which falls on November 25.

The statement demands that:

l The government issue clear policies and prescribe measures needed to protect women and girls from all forms of violence, and provide physical and emotional rehabilitation to female victims;

l All mechanisms in society should remove obstacles that hinder females' access to justice and ensure immediately consulting for female victims of violence;

l All sectors must recognise the importance of women's rights and liberties in living their lives and starting a family, free from coercion and intimidation;

l The government should promote respect for human rights, inculcating the right attitudes in people from a young age;

l The government must provide comprehensive judicial-system mechanisms trusted by women in all areas and heed the recommendations of the UN Committee against Torture;

l All parties in the conflict must give up arms and respect the rights of innocent civilians, particularly women and children.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan said yesterday he had already instructed all relevant agencies to prepare projects for the southernmost region in line with the Internal Security Operations Command Region 4's guideline and in response to local people's needs. the government has allocated Bt25.6 billion for the deep South in the current fiscal year.