Annual Report: Thailand 2013

May 29, 2013

Annual Report: Thailand 2013

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Kingdom of Thailand

Head of state King Bhumibol Adulyadej

Head of government Yingluck Shinawatra

The armed conflict continued in the South as insurgents targeted civilians in violent attacks, while security forces enjoyed impunity for human rights violations. The Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand issued its final report, placing responsibility for the 2010 political violence on both sides; however, accountability remained slow in coming. The government continued to use the lese-majesty law and the Computer Crimes Act to restrict freedom of expression. Asylum-seekers and refugees faced possible refoulement to their home countries.

Internal armed conflict

Civilians remained at risk of attacks that resulted in deaths and injuries in the southernmost provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and parts of Songkhla. Government teachers and schools viewed as symbols of the state were targeted for attack, resulting in school closures during the latter part of the year. Insurgency leaders accused security forces of extrajudicial executions in Yala province. Impunity continued for most violations committed by security forces in the South.

  • On 29 January, government-sponsored paramilitary rangers shot at a group of nine ethnic Malay Muslim civilians travelling in a truck in Nong Chik district, Pattani province. Four of the travellers were killed and four others were injured in the shooting. The rangers claimed they shot the civilians, believing they had links with an insurgent group and were involved in an attack on the rangers' outpost. A Truth Commission set up to investigate the incident found that the civilians had no links to insurgent groups.
  • On 21 September, insurgents killed six people, including a local defence volunteer, and injured an estimated 50 after initially opening fire on a gold shop, then detonating a car bomb in a market in Sai Buri District, Pattani province.
  • On 30 October, Mahama Ma-ae, a Muslim religious schoolteacher who police suspected of having ties to an insurgency group, was shot dead in Yala province. On 14 November, Abdullateh Todir, a Yala imam who had been targeted in an attack in 2011 that resulted in the death of his daughter, was shot and killed. Insurgency leaders accused government security forces of these killings.
  • On 3-4 December, insurgents killed one teacher and injured another in two separate incidents in Narathiwat province. A school administrator and a teacher were also killed in a school attack in Pattani province on 11 December. Following these attacks, schools in Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala provinces closed for several days.

The 2005 Emergency Decree on Public Administration in State of Emergency remained in place throughout the year, with the government renewing its mandate every three months. The decree allows immunity from prosecution for officials who may have committed human rights violations – including torture.

Accountability for political violence

In September, the Truth for Reconciliation Commission released its final report on the violence surrounding the April-May 2010 anti-government protests in Bangkok, which resulted in 92 deaths. The report placed responsibility on government security forces, including the army, and the so-called “black shirts”, a militant armed group embedded with the protesters and linked to the anti-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), also known as the “red shirts”. The report found that government forces had used weapons of war and live ammunition on protesters. It made extensive recommendations, including calling on the government to address abuses committed by all parties, through a fair and impartial justice system, and to provide “reparation and restoration to those affected by violent incidents”.