Govt shrugs off NRC final report
The caretaker government yesterday gave the cold shoulder to the final report submitted on Monday by the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) on ways to end the violence in the South, with senior officials saying they have no time to read it.
Deputy Prime Minister Chidchai Vanasatidya, who oversees issues relating to the South, said he had not yet read the report, which proposed the government employ peaceful means to contain violence in the region, rather than relying heavily on military operations.
"I have sore eyes. No, I have not yet read the report. I have not had time to consider it," said Chidchai, who is also a member of the NRC.
The 15-month-old commission was disbanded yesterday after submitting the report to the government.
The report, dubbed "Overcoming Violence through the Power of Reconciliation", cited economic abandonment, a misreading of local history, ignorance of local feelings concerning identity and injustice as the root causes of the violence over the past two and a half years.
Another deputy prime minister, Wissanu Krea-ngam, said the Cabinet had received the report and assigned the government-sponsored Independent Commission on Justice and Civil Liberties of the Southern Border Provinces (ICJC) to study the findings.
The ICJC, chaired by former Senate president Ukrit Mongkolnavin, will digest the report and return to the government with its recommendations - if there are any urgent tasks in the report that the government badly needs to respond to, Wissanu said.
Religious leaders in the deep South, however, urged the government to quickly implement measures suggested by the NRC to end the conflict in the predominantly Muslim region.
Yala provincial Islamic committee chairman Abdullahmae Jehsae said the government should adopt the NRC's idea of passing the Peaceful Reconciliation in the Southern Border Provinces Act, to establish a number of "peace championing" bodies to solve the problems in the South.
The report was compiled with input from local residents and concerned people, he said. The government does not need to do anything other than implement it, he said.
A spate of violence has rocked the deep South since the beginning of 2004. The violence takes place on an almost daily basis and has claimed more than 1,300 lives so far. There was fresh violence yesterday in Yala as an ex-ranger was shot dead in the heart of the city while packing his belongings at a market to return home.
Two gunmen on a motorbike fired three shot at Command Sgt-Major Anmart Chuliwan, 50, who worked
as a vendor of second-hand clothes. He died instantly at the market at about 1.30pm.