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Transformation Separatist Movement and Potential Conflict Resolution in Southern Thailand

Transformation Separatist Movement and Potential Conflict Resolution in Southern Thailand


Che Mohd Aziz Yaacob


Abstrak

The conflict in Southern Thailand has been around for hundreds of years, since the invasion of Patani by the Siam Kingdom in 1786. The struggle to liberate the area has involved different groups, including the monarchy, the religious leaders, and groups demanding independence since the 1950s and 1960s. The independent struggle has pit these groups against the government of Thailand in self-determination type struggle which have involved issues of identity, politics, socio-economy, justice, and others. This study focuses on these groups by looking at them in terms of the organizational transformation, movement, strategy and direction, and their potential to transform the conflict situation in Southern Thailand. Some of the main questions asked by this study include whether the changes in the Liberation Movements (PGPP) after the year 2004 has had an impact on conflict transformation? Has this PGPP transformation led to constructive change, and if so how? Who or which groups are active and have an impact on the transformation process? And finally, what is the relationship between these PGPP groups and what is the effect on the process of transformation. These questions are presented to achieve the objectives of the study which include identifying elements of change in each PGPP; assessing the ability of transformation inherent in PGPP; looking at how they have affected the transformation context, issues, and personnel structure that exist in the conflict; examining the impact of this transformation towards constructive change and conflict resolution; identifying groups of actors who are active and have an impact on conflict transformation; identifying the types and characteristics of the relationship between the PGPP and studying the impact of this transformation on the conflict in Southern Thailand. This is a qualitative research data using both primary and secondary data. The primary data is obtained through in-depth interviews with respondents who are active leaders of the organizations, including the armed wings. The secondary data is obtained from theses, books, websites, articles, journals, newspaper articles and reports, and is used to strengthen and verify the findings derived from the in-depth interviews. The study found that the movement, in particular the BRN and PULO has transformed and adapted their approaches according to current political environment. The peace and diplomacy approach is gaining acceptance as the primary approach by the PGPP as opposed to an all out armed struggle approach. Finally, this study also found that transformation has occured in the relationship between the PGPP and the Patani society, especially civil society both local and international. This in turn had a positive effect on the conflict situation and the potential of conflict resolution in Southern Thailand. Civil society is seen as having the potential to link the Thai government to the PGPP, the civil society in Patani, as well as play a role in raising the capacity of the PGPP and prepare them for a future peace negotiation process and beyond.

Keywords: Conflict in Southern Thailand, Patani Liberation Movement, violence and aggression, and potential solutions.

 



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