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Insurgency attacks are 'effectively war crimes': Amnesty Int'l

Amnesty International says Muslim insurgents in southern Thailand have mounted a campaign of terror since 2004, killing innocent civilians, according to an interview on ABC Radio Australia.
Insurgency attacks are 'effectively war crimes': Amnesty Int'l
A map of Southern Thailand
Published: September 28, 2011 08:12 AM GMT
Updated: September 28, 2011 09:10 AM GMT

Muslim insurgents in southern Thailand have been accused of mounting a campaign of terror and killing innocent civilians. (Sam Lam, ABC Radio Australia) Amnesty International says since the separatist violence started in 2004, nearly five-thousand people have died, and thousands more injured. Amnesty says the problem is made worse by the easy availability of guns and lack of accountability in the south. Presenter: Sen Lam Speaker: Benjamin Zawacki, Thailand researcher, Amnesty International ... ZAWACKI: Well, what we're finding is that the insurgents since the early part of 2007, have increasingly targetted civilians and others taking active part in hostility - in other words, soft targets - people like farmers and rubber tappers, house workers and merchants, religious leaders and monks, civil servants, village leaders, persons like that. And in the absence of a comprehensive political justification for this in the south, we've concluded that the attacks seem to be directed at simply spreading terror among the civilian population.. And these attacks are targetting civilians and others taking no active part in hostilities, are effectively war crimes. They violate article three of the Geneva Convention, and as such, are very grave and egregious violations of international humanitarian law. LAM: So tell us about the circumstances under which these civilians were killed - were they caught up in the conflict, or were they specifically targetted by the insurgents? ZAWACKI: The cases that were outlined in the Amnesty report, are cases of civilians who have been specifically targetted by the insurgents. Assigning a reason or a motive for being targetted is very difficult to do. In some cases, teachers for example, or other education officials, civil servants.. one can assume perhaps as representatives of the Thai state - they would be targetted for that reason. But in other cases, you have again, rubber tappers, farmers, in odd cases, a barber for example, who ostensibly, would have no connection to the counter-insurgency effort. And in a majority of cases, were in fact, Muslims. So they're Muslims as opposed to Buddhists, who one can associate indirectly with the predominantly-Buddhist state. They wind up targetting the very people on whose behalf they claim to be acting. Most of the Muslims who are targetted, we assume so, that they are done on account of either not cooperating enough with the insurgency or perhaps they're seen as collaborating with the Thai state. Even that indirect link, it's very hard to draw when you have a Muslim rubber tapper killed at four am, completely unarmed, tapping rubber on a plantation, it's very difficult to attribute a motive in those cases. FULL AUDIO AND TRANSCRIPTInsurgents commit "war crimes" in Thailand's south - Amnesty (ABC Radio Australia) PHOTO CREDIT AND LINKWikipedia

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