Insurgents Target Thai Civilians

August 28, 2007

Author: Amy Kazmin

Source: Financial Times

Separatist insurgents in southern Thailand are deliberately targeting Muslim and Buddhist civilians in their brutal campaign for an independent Islamic state, undermining their claims to legitimacy, a new report by Human Rights Watch says.

While the Thai armed forces have committed serious and widespread abuses against suspected militants and their supporters, radical separatists have created a reign of fear, killing and injuring civilians going about their daily activities – going to work, buying food in markets, and picking up children from school.

Nearly 90 per cent of the more than 2,400 people killed and 4,000 injured since the insurgency re-emerged in January 2004 have been civilians. The rebels have also attacked critical infrastructure connecting the Thai south to the outside world.

“Although the militants have claimed the moral high ground for their struggle because of historical and contemporary grievances, their tactics are anything but moral – and their behaviour undermines their claims to legitimacy,” the report, entitled “No One is Safe,” said.