The newly established Future Forward Party (FFP) has been heavily criticised for its lack of political experience, and its left-leaning orientation, with lots of talk of a social welfare state and inclusive society. On 15 March 2018, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, Executive Vice President of the Thai Summit Group, hosted a press conference to launch a new party, Anakhot Mai, literally translated as ‘new future’, but whose official English name is the Future Forward Party.
On 5 January 2018, the Thai authorities detained Sam Sokha, a prominent labour activist, and deported her to Cambodia on 8 February. The incident has raised concerns among various human rights organisations that Hun Sen and the Thai military government are covertly making a deal on exchanging political refugees. The Thai and Cambodian government officials cooperated in arranging a hurried deportation of the activist. She was deported little more than a month after she was arrested.
A civil society network will march from Bangkok to Khon Kaen next week to demand the return of civil rights and public participation after these rights have been taken away during over three years of the junta. The march will also gather 10,000 signatures to propose a people’s version of the Environmental Law. A series of activities called “We Walk, A Walk for Friendship” is organised by a group of civil rights activists called the People Go Network.
Romadon Panjor, editor of the Deep South Watch website, presented his Master’s Degree thesis at the Faculty of Political Science, Thammasat University, on how the Thai state has created a large number of terms over the past 12 years’ of violence in the Deep South that obfuscate the political intentions of the Patani liberation movement and deters international intervention. On the other hand, the insurgency has also created terms that Thais have never heard before and that challenge the mainstream Thai discourse.
As the sun rose on October 25, 2004, the 12th day of the Ramadan fast, the people of Tak Bai District began their normal routines. But this day was to be different. In the morning, a group gathered in a demonstration calling for justice for six Village Security Team members who had been detained. A large number of people who lived nearby went to watch the demonstration, and when those farther away heard what was happening many came in cars and trucks to watch. They had no idea that the events of the day would change their lives forever.
Buku FC, a football club in the Deep South with the slogan “football for peace and equality,” has created a space for women and girls to exercise and express themselves. The team is made up of Muslim women, men, and LGBT individuals.
Deep South opinion leaders share their views on the draft constitution and the controversial referendum scheduled on August 7. Apart from concerns about the succession of power by the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) shared by the general public in the rest of the country, they think that the draft is not conducive to the peace process, and may even impinge on religious rights.
Thailand’s assimilation policy in the past 80 years on the Muslim Malay in Thailand’s three southern border provinces, known as Patani, has been repeatedly cited as one of the main reasons for the armed struggle, claiming almost 6500 lives already. Due to this uncompromising assimilation policy, the state of the Malay language in Patani has become very weak and marginalized. As the peace process has progressed, concerns about the linguistic rights of the local people have been raised and will be included in discussions at the dialogue table.
The liberation movement engaged in armed struggle for the independence of the three southernmost provinces has always cited Thailand’s assimilation policy and its discrimination against the use of local Malay language as one of the main reasons of the armed struggle. The policy of language discrimination in Thailand dates back at least 80 years ago. These decreed that Thai nationals, whatever their ethnicity, must speak Thai, learn Thai in school. This greatly affected people in the Deep South whose first language is Malay.Due to this uncompromising assimilation policy, the state of Malay in Patani has become very weak and marginalized. Hara Shintaro, an expert in Malay and and fierce critic of Deep South politics discusses how the language, Malay identity and violent conflict are intertwined
Prachatai talked with a key member of Thailand’s restive Deep South’s liberation movement engaging in a peace dialogue with Bangkok about the violence during Ramadan month, their strategy and the future of the peace process.