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Rights group urges Thailand to stop targeting civilians

Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] urged Thailand on Tuesday to stop the insurgents' deliberate targeting of civilians [press release] in Southern Thailand. The pressure on Thailand comes after AI released a report [text, PDF] detailing the deliberate attacks against civilians which they claim amount to war crimes. During the past eight years of insurgency aggression, nearly 5,000 civilians have been killed and thousands more injured in the four southern provinces of Thailand. The insurgency has been organizing the Malays, nearly all Muslim, against the predominantly Buddhist Thai state. The AI report is based on information gathered from interviews with witnesses and survivors, relatives and friends of victims. AI reported:

Common Article 3 of the four Geneva Conventions clearly provides that all parties to an armed conflict must apply certain minimum standards in treating all "persons taking no active part in the hostilities". Targeting such persons for attack is prohibited at all times. The insurgents in southern Thailand, through widespread killings of persons taking no active part in hostilities, have violated Common Article 3. They have committed—and are continuing to commit—what amount to acts aimed at spreading terror among the civilian population, and which constitute war crimes.
AI called on insurgent groups in Southern Thailand to immediately cease their attacks targeting civilians and publicly commit to preventing such attacks.

Thailand has faced other criticism for its human rights record. In August, Thailand received criticism from UN Special Rapporteur on human trafficking Joy Ngozi Ezeilo [official profile], who urged the government of Thailand to improve measures to combat human trafficking [JURIST report], as well as protect the rights of migrant workers. The trafficking trade in Thailand is predominantly used for sexual and labor exploitation, with child trafficking especially rampant. In May, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] urged Thailand's government to investigate crimes [JURIST report] allegedly committed by both government officials and protesters during 2010's violent political protests [JURIST news archive].

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