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Abstract: This report is the culmination of a six-month project commissioned
by the Women’s Refugee Commission and co-funded by the United
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to address the
rights and needs of displaced persons with disabilities, with a
particular focus on women (including older women), children and
youth. Based on field research in five refugee situations, as well as
global desk research, the Women’s Refugee Commission sought to
map existing services for displaced persons with disabilities, identify
gaps and good practices and make recommendations on how to
improve services, protection and participation for displaced persons
with disabilities. The objective of the project was to gather initial
empirical data and produce a Resource Kit that would be of
practical use to UN and nongovernmental organization (NGO) field
staff working with displaced persons with disabilities.
Abstract: This paper is a gendered analysis of peacebuilding capacity in the context of forced migration. Scholars have tended to focus primarily on potential threats from conflict-generated diasporas1 rather than on how they contribute to peace processes in their homelands. Understanding how the millions of refugees affected by armed conflicts may, as non-state actors, help to facilitate peace making and peace building not only addresses some of the needs of refugees, but develops new policy and practices necessary to address contemporary ethno-political conflict. This study of women from Burma in exile reinforces the need to implement UNSCR 1325 in a way that strengthens the peace capacity of diaspora women‟s organizations in host countries as well as those at home.
Abstract: Thailand will hold a long-awaited federal election on July 3, pitting the governing Democrat Party against the opposition Puea Thai party, as well as a group of smaller parties. For some Thai politicians, this poll will be the culmination of a process of national reconciliation that began in the wake of bloody riots in Bangkok last April and May, during which at least eighty people were killed, hundreds were injured, and an unknown numbers of protestors were taken into police custody, often without charges filed.
But the election could simply accelerate Thailand's political meltdown, underway since a coup in September 2006 deposed then-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who fled into exile. Most likely, the poll will not resolve the increasingly deep divisions in Thai society--between the rural poor who have backed Thaksin and the urban middle classes; between archroyalist supporters of the Thai monarchy and those who would like a real constitutional monarchy; and between residents of the north and northeast of Thailand and residents of Bangkok and the south.
Instead, any of the plausible poll scenarios--an opposition victory nullified by another coup, or a Democrat win put together through backroom coalition building--is likely to inflame segments of Thailand, causing more unrest in what was once one of the most stable countries in Asia.
Abstract: This report provides the most detailed account yet of violence and human rights abuses by both sides during and after massive protests in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand in 2010. The report is based on 94 interviews with victims, witnesses, protesters, academics, journalists, lawyers, human rights defenders, parliament members, government officials, security personnel, police, and those who directly took part in various stages of the violence from both the government and the protester sides. It documents deadly attacks by government security forces on protesters in key incidents and details abuses by armed elements, known as “Black Shirts,” associated with the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD). The report also explains the background to the political crisis that led to the protests and continues to the present.
Abstract: Malaysia has taken significant steps forward in improving refugee rights. In the past year, there have been no reported attempts to deport Burmese refugees to the border with Thailand and a decrease in immigration raids and arrests of registered refugees. But these advances have not yet been codified into written government policy, leaving refugees considered
“illegal migrants” and subject to arrest and detention. The Government of Malaysia should build on this progress by setting up a system of residence and work permits for refugees. The international community should mobilize additional funds for the UN Refugee Agency
(UNHCR) and non-governmental agencies to leverage this opportunity to improve refugee rights.
Abstract: Nearly a year after the crackdown on anti-establishment
demonstrations, Thailand is preparing for a general election.
Despite government efforts to suppress the Red Shirt movement,
support remains strong and the deep political divide
has not gone away. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s roadmap
for reconciliation has led almost nowhere. Although
there have been amateurish bomb attacks carried out by
angry Red Shirts since the crackdown, fears of an underground
battle have not materialised. On the other side, the
Yellow Shirts have stepped up their nationalist campaigns
against the Democrat Party-led government that their earlier
rallies had helped bring to power. They are now claiming
elections are useless in “dirty” politics and urging Thais to
refuse to vote for any of the political parties. Even if the
elections are free, fair and peaceful, it will still be a challenge
for all sides to accept the results. If another coalition is
pushed together under pressure from the royalist establishment,
it will be a rallying cry for renewed mass protests
by the Red Shirts that could plunge Thailand into more
The Red Shirt demonstrations in March-May 2010 sparked
the most deadly clashes between protestors and the state in
modern Thai history and killed 92 people. The use of
force by the government may have weakened the Red Shirts
but the movement has not been dismantled and is still
supported by millions of people, particularly in the North
and North East. Arresting their leaders as well as shutting
down their media and channels of communication has only
reinforced their sense of injustice. Some in the movement’s
hardline fringe have chosen to retaliate with violence but
the leadership has reaffirmed its commitment to peaceful
political struggle. The next battle will be waged through
ballot boxes and the Red Shirts will throw their weight
behind their electoral wing, the Pheu Thai Party.
Abstract: The eruption of conflict between the Burmese military and an ethnic rebel faction in
eastern Burma has forced over 30,000 people to flee to Thailand since November 2010. Skirmishes are ongoing and both parties have planted landmines in people’s villages and farmlands. While the Thai government has a long-standing policy of providing refuge for “those fleeing fighting,” the Thai army is pressuring Burmese to return prematurely and
restricting aid agencies. Unless the Thai Government strengthens its policy to protect those fleeing fighting and persecution, current and future refugees will have no choice but to join the ranks of millions of undocumented and unprotected migrant workers in Thailand.
Abstract: For more than a century Thailand’s southern border provinces have witnessed a separatist movement embedded in religious,
ethnic, linguistic, cultural, and historical identities. The armed groups have targeted government
officials, ethnic Thai Buddhist civilians and monks, and local Muslims suspected of collaborating
with Thai government authorities. The government of Thailand has responded to the violence with
force, often disregarding basic human rights. Estimates by human rights organisations indicate that the
violence has claimed over 4,000 lives since 2004. According to observers the level of violence has not
decreased for the past three years.
This report focuses on evidence of the association of boys under the age of 18 with Chor Ror Bor
(Village Defence Volunteers), one of the government-established village defence militias. Chor Ror
Bor is a national institution, but is particularly prevalent in southern Thailand, where it forms a part of
the government’s counter-insurgency efforts against armed opposition groups. Chor Ror Bor units
consisting of some 30 volunteers are present in nearly all, if not all, of the villages across the four
provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla and Yala.
This report addresses the recruitment and use of children in Chor Ror Bor. It also reflects briefly on
concerns relating to the administrative detention of children suspected of association with armed
opposition groups. The report contains detailed recommendations which could form the basis for a
more comprehensive governmental strategy to protect children affected by armed violence in southern
Thailand and which would - if implemented - significantly contribute to ensuring that Thailand’s
obligations under the international human rights law are upheld.
Abstract: Popular revolt continued to convulse the Arab world in February. The rapid spread and escalation of unrest underlined the magnitude of events, but their pace makes the direction of change uncertain.
After almost three weeks of massive protests Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak stepped down on 11 February. The Supreme Military Council took control and promised presidential and parliamentary elections within six months. On 22 February a new civilian cabinet was sworn in.
Just days after Mubarak's downfall protests broke out in Libya against Muammar Qaddafi's four-decade rule. Hundreds of civilians were feared killed and thousands injured as Qaddafi launched a brutal crackdown, prompting senior members of the regime and military to defect. By the end of the month Libya was in the throes of a full-scale rebellion, with large parts of the country under opposition control. The UN Security Council unanimously voted to impose sanctions and refer Libya to the International Criminal Court.
Protests intensified in Yemen, where dozens were killed in daily clashes between protesters and security forces from the middle of the month. Demonstrations for political reform in Bahrain also saw several protesters killed by security forces. Following international condemnation of the crackdown Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa ordered the withdrawal of security forces and offered dialogue with the opposition. In Afghanistan, the standoff continued between President Hamid Karzai and the opposition over the flawed September parliamentary election. A controversial special tribunal set up by Karzai - which the opposition condemns as unconstitutional - has started recounting votes in several provinces. Three Muscovite tourists were killed in a guerrilla attack on a North Caucasus ski resort, one of several attacks in the region's Kabardino-Balkaria Republic. The attack underlined the degree to which the previously relatively peaceful republic has become a target of Islamic guerrilla activity.
Conflict in Somalia escalated as government troops backed by AU peacekeepers battled against Islamic militant al-Shabaab in Mogadishu, and Ethiopian troops were reportedly involved in border clashes. In Somaliland, tensions increased in oil-rich Sool, Sanaag and Cayn region as government forces fought with rebel militia.
The collapse of a six-year ceasefire led to heightened tensions in Côte d'Ivoire and further warnings of an outbreak of civil war. The situation in Thailand also deteriorated as hostilities broke out along the border with Cambodia in the disputed area near Preah Vihear temple. Compromised elections in Uganda saw President Yoweri Museveni win a fourth term.
Abstract: Aung San Suu Kyi once famously said, “We must hope for the best, but prepare for the worst”. As this report is
being written the first elected government for 20 years is being formed in Burma following the November General
Election. The convening of parliament, new and more complex political structures plus the freedom of Aung San
Suu Kyi herself, all offer hope of reconciliation and change; of a more constructive relationship with the international
community, increasing humanitarian space and resolution of decades of conflict. For the troubled border areas where
there are hundreds of thousands of displaced people, the hope must be that it might lead to peace building and the
refugees eventually returning home.
However, all the early indications are that the General Election has done nothing to weaken military control over the
country. The former junta and its proxy party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party, have a stranglehold on
parliament with a Constitution that empowers the military to resume control whenever it considers national security is
under threat. There seems little likelihood that there will be major changes in the way the ethnic conflict is viewed, more
likely that a military, rather than political, solution will continue to be preferred. Ceasefire groups and non-ceasefire
groups will probably be forced to accept Burmese Army control or suffer the consequences. Ethnic aspirations have not
been addressed in the new constitution and the most likely scenario is ongoing conflict.
Abstract: Regarded as a “sideshow” to U.S. foreign policy interests during America’s Vietnam era, Cambodia has often been overshadowed in the region by its more economically influential Southeast Asian neighbors. Yet, its festering feud with Thailand over the Preah Vihear temple has once again flared up, claiming at least five lives. The ongoing standoff between the two ASEAN member states threatens a conflict that would be devastating to the UNESCO world heritage site and its surrounding communities. While the government of Cambodia has called on the UN to intervene, a sober assessment suggests that Cambodia and Thailand can take measures to deescalate tensions and prevent further erosion of the relations between the two countries.
Abstract: Amidst ongoing conflict between the Tatmadaw and armed groups in eastern Dooplaya and Pa’an
districts, civilians, aid workers and soldiers from state and non-state armies continue to report a variety of
human rights abuses and security concerns for civilians in areas adjacent to Thailand’s Tak Province,
including: functionally indiscriminate mortar and small arms fire; landmines; arbitrary arrest and detention;
sexual violence; and forced portering. Conflict and these conflict-related abuses have displaced
thousands of civilians, more than 8,000 of whom are currently taking refuge in discreet hiding places in
Thailand. This has interrupted education for thousands of children across eastern Dooplaya and Pa’an
districts. The agricultural cycle for farmers has also been severely disrupted; many villagers have been
prevented from completing their harvests of beans, corn and paddy crops, portending long-term threats to
food security. Due to concerns about food security and disruption to children’s education, as well as
villagers’ continuing need to protect themselves and their families from conflict and conflict-related abuse,
temporary but consistent access to refuge in Thailand remains vital until villagers feel safe to return
home. Even after return, food support will likely be necessary until disrupted agricultural activities can be
resumed and civilians can again support themselves.
Abstract: Civilians in Dooplaya and Pa'an districts continue to be impacted by conflict between the Tatmadaw and armed Karen groups, who have increased fighting since November 7th 2010. The situation remains highly unstable and civilians report a variety of human rights and security concerns related to ongoing conflict and conflict-related abuse. In order to provide as current information as possible on the fighting and related human rights and protection concerns, KHRG has developed this page as a 'Displacement Monitoring' section of the KHRG website. Immediate situation updates, news bulletins, field reports, maps and photo galleries regarding the situation for civilians in Dooplaya are accessible through links in the table at the bottom of this page.
Abstract: The SPDC Army continues to attack civilians and civilian livelihoods nearly two years after the end of the 2005-2008 SPDC Offensive in northern Karen State. In response, civilians have developed and employed various self-protection strategies that have enabled tens of thousands of villagers to survive with dignity and remain close to their homes despite the humanitarian consequences of SPDC Army practices. These protection strategies, however, have become strained, even insufficient, as humanitarian conditions worsen under sustained pressure from the SPDC Army, prompting some individual villagers and entire communities to re-assess local priorities and concerns, and respond with alternative strategies - including uses of weapons or landmines. While this complicates discussions of legal and humanitarian protections for at-risk civilians, uses of weapons by civilians occur amidst increasing constraints on alternative self-protection measures. External actors wishing to promote human rights in conflict areas of eastern Burma should therefore seek a detailed understanding of local priorities and dynamics of abuse, and use this understanding to inform activities that broaden civilians' range of feasible options for self-protection, including beyond uses of arms.
Abstract: Community-driven development (or CDD) projects are now a major component of World Bank assistance to many developing countries. While varying greatly in size and form, such projects aim to ensure that communities have substantive control in deciding how project funds should be used. Giving beneficiaries the power to manage project resources is believed by its proponents to lead to more efficient and effective fund use. It is also claimed that project-initiated participatory processes can have wider ‘spillover’ impacts, building local institutions and leadership, enhancing civic capacity, improving social relations and boosting state legitimacy.
This paper briefly reviews the World Bank’s experience of using CDD in conflict-affected and post-conflict areas of the East Asia and Pacific region. The region has been at the forefront of developing large-scale CDD programming including high profile ‘flagships’ such as the Kecamatan Development Program (KDP) in Indonesia and the Kapitbisig Laban Sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS) project in the Philippines.
How successful have such efforts been? Through what mechanisms have projects had impacts (or not)? And what factors—related to project design or to the context in which programs are operating—have affected performance? This paper provides a framework for assessing the impacts of CDD projects in post-conflict and conflict-affected areas. It tries to unpack the potential causal channels through which projects may have their desired, or other, impacts. It then looks at the evidence on whether and how projects have achieved these outcomes, focusing on a range of recent and current projects in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Timor-Leste. The analysis summarizes results, draws on comparative evidence from other projects in the region and elsewhere, and seeks to identify factors that explain variation in outcomes and project performance. The paper concludes with a short summary of what we know, what we don’t, and potential future directions for research and programming.
Abstract: Amid ongoing Tatmadaw-DKBA conflict, civilians in eastern Dooplaya District are struggling to balance
the need to protect their crops, livelihoods and property with the need to protect themselves and their
families from conflict and conflict-related abuse. For many villagers, temporary but consistent access to
protection in Thailand while they monitor the situation in Burma is vital to addressing these protection
needs, until the situation stabilises and they feel it is safe to return home. Restrictions on or inconsistent
access to protection and hasty, coercive returns of refugees by authorities of the Royal Thai Government
are increasing the vulnerability of villagers seeking protection and undermining their efforts to address
threats to their security, human rights, and livelihoods.
Abstract: Deradicalizing Islamist extremists may be even more important than getting them to simply disengage from terrorist activities, according to a new RAND Corporation study that examines counter-radicalization programs in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Europe.
Although there has been much research about the radicalization and recruitment of Islamist extremists, there has been little study until recently about how one deradicalizes those who have been recruited into the Islamist extremist movement.
A key question is whether the objective of counter-radicalization programs should be disengagement (a change in behavior) or deradicalization (a change in beliefs) of militants. A unique challenge posed by militant Islamist groups is that their ideology is rooted in a major world religion, Islam.
The RAND study indentifies and analyzes the processes through which militants leave Islamist extreme groups, assesses the effectiveness of deradicalization programs and summarizes the policies that could help to promote and accelerate the processes of deradicalization.
Abstract: The deadly conflict in Thailand’s predominantly Malay Muslim South is at a stalemate. Although military operations might have contributed to the reduction in violence, the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has made little effort to tackle the political grievances that drive the insurgency. A limited unilateral suspension of hostilities offered by rebels has met no significant response. Draconian laws that grant security forces sweeping powers remain imposed while justice for serious cases of past abuse remains unaddressed and torture of suspects continues. As bloody anti-government protests in Bangkok distracted the nation in early 2010, the death toll in the six-year-long insurgency steadily climbed. The conflict in the Deep South remains on the margins of Thai politics and unresolved. A paradigm shift is needed to acknowledge that assimilation of Malay Muslims has failed and that recognition of their distinct ethno-religious identity is essential. Dialogue with insurgents and reform of governance structures remain two missing components of a comprehensive political solution. Until political stability in Bangkok is restored, the insurgency will remain at the periphery of the government agenda. But the government needs to be better prepared to respond to future gestures by the insurgents and lay the political groundwork for a negotiated settlement. In other separatist conflicts, negotiations have proven an effective means to end violence and do not necessarily lead to secession, as Bangkok has long feared. As part of an effort to scale down the presence of troops, the government should plan to increase the numbers of police officers and civilian defence volunteers as well as enhance their capacity to provide security. With no military victory in sight for either side, the rebels must also consider new political strategies. Their representatives must propose comprehensive political solutions. Beyond protesting through violence, they should get ready to make concrete demands at a time when an opportunity for talks arises. Based on research carried out between February and October 2010, including interviews in the Deep South, this briefing provides an update of analysis of the southern insurgency in the second year of the Abhisit administration.
Abstract: The incidents of unrest in the Deep South from January 2004 to January
2010 had happened for six full years. From the database of Deep South Watch, it
was fond that over the past 73 months, there were a total of 9,446 incidents of
unrest, resulting in approximately 4100 deaths and 6,509 injuries. The total casualty
of the unrest over the past six years, with the dead and the injured figures
combined, was more than 10,609 individuals.
Abstract: Separatist attacks on teachers and schools and the government's use of schools as military bases are greatly harming the education of children in Thailand's southern border provinces, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.
The 111-page report details how ethnic Malay Muslim insurgents, who view the government educational system as a symbol of Thai state oppression, have threatened and killed teachers, burned and bombed government schools, and spread terror among students and their parents.
The insurgents have also used Islamic schools to indoctrinate and recruit students into their movement. At the same time, Thai army and paramilitary forces are disrupting education and placing students at unnecessary risk of insurgent attack by occupying schools for long periods as bases for their counterinsurgency operations.
The report is based on Human Rights Watch visits to 19 schools in Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat provinces, and interviews with more than 90 people, including children, parents, teachers, security forces, members of the insurgency, and local officials.
Abstract: While Thailand’s reputation as ‘the land of smiles’ is a cliché, the recent
images of violence and unrest in Bangkok have been a shocking contrast to
its reputation as a stable regional travel and business hub.
Bangkok’s streets have been cleaned up and normal life has resumed, but
political instability is likely to continue in Thailand for some time. The conflict
has moved beyond the initial ‘colour-coded’ tension between anti-Thaksin
yellow-shirts and pro-Thaksin red-shirts. There is now a sharp divide between
the conservative elites who have traditionally governed Thailand – palace,
military, business – and those who view themselves as the underclass.
The recent round of protests in May 2010 were won by the conservative
powers, albeit with significant costs in lives and damaged buildings in
Bangkok. But the struggle is far from over – rather than capitulating, the
protest movement is using the military crackdown and the government’s
continuing media and political repression to increase its support.
Abstract: Reporters Without Borders has investigated 10 cases that are representative of the press freedom violations committed by both parties to the conflict: the army, special forces and paramilitaries on the one hand, and the Red Shirt activists of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) and their paramilitaries on the other. Reporters Without Borders decided in this report to let the victims and witnesses of the violations speak for themselves. A government representative and one of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s lawyers were also interviewed. Some accounts are devastating.
The government emerged the victor from this bloody battle after the assault on the Red Shirt camp in the heart of Bangkok on 19 May, but many questions about the behaviour of the armed forces remain. The many accounts of soldiers firing live rounds at unarmed civilians, the firing on journalists with automatic weapons, the systematic intimidation and the use of military force to suppress political protests are all evidence of serious abuses. Taking advantage of the state of emergency and the threat posed by the Red Shirts, the Thai army and special forces rode roughshod over international law and Thai legislation protecting civilians.
Abstract: The protracted struggle between the royalist establishment and those allied with ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has left Thailand deeply polarised. It sparked the most violent political confrontations in recent times, killing people, injuring nearly 2,000 and inflicting deep wounds on the national psyche. The government of Abhisit Vejjajiva’s unilateral offer of a “road map” to national reconciliation will lead nowhere without the participation of its opposition, including his deposed predecessor. A credible investigation of the violence, enduring legal reforms, and properly addressing societal inequities cannot succeed without the Thaksin-aligned Red Shirt movement. This cannot happen if its leaders are detained, marginalised, or on the run. Fresh elections that are peace ful, fair and accepted by all sides will be the first test to see if the country is back on track or has lost its way. Thailand should lift the emergency decree imposed over large swathes of the country or risk further damaging its democracy, hindering much needed reconciliation, and sowing the seeds of future deadly conflict.
Thai politics changed significantly when Thaksin, a former policeman and telecom tycoon, won successive election landslides in 2001 and 2005. His popularity rapidly rose among the poor who benefited from his populist programs, such as low-cost health care. At the same time, his increasingly autocratic and corrupt rule angered the urban middle classes. Conservative elites also feared that his growing popularity would challenge their dominance. These establishment forces revolving around the King’s Privy Council, the military and the judiciary were supported on the streets by “Yellow Shirt” protestors. Together they worked to remove Thaksin from politics and erode his influence. In early 2006, Thaksin’s government was first challenged by mass demonstrations by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) and subsequently ousted by a military coup. While in self-imposed exile abroad, his party was disbanded by a court ruling in May 2007. A proxy party took power later that year, only to be also banned by the courts. Under military pressure and without a fresh poll, a new Democrat Party coalition led by Prime Minister Abhisit took office.
Abstract: Four actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and none improved in May 2010. Israeli commandos killed at least nine people when they raided a flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza on 31 May. Full details are not yet clear but the incident has already thrown into question recently launched proximity talks between the Palestinians and Israel. May also saw renewed violence in the streets of Bangkok. Clashes between anti-government Red Shirt protesters and security forces that resulted in scores of deaths in April escalated this month, leaving at least 54 people dead. Soldiers removed the Red Shirts from the capital on 19 May and the government has since lifted a curfew imposed on Bangkok and 28 other provinces. Tensions continued to mount on the Korean Peninsula after investigators announced that a South Korean ship that sunk in March had been hit by a North Korean torpedo. Pyongyang continues to deny responsibility for the sinking which killed 46 people. Security also deteriorated in India, where suspected Maoist rebels derailed a train on 28 May leaving at least 147 civilians dead. The Maoists have denied responsibility, but the incident has once again underlined the government's failure to curb escalating insurgent violence that has become increasingly deadly in recent months.
Abstract: On April 22nd, 2010 the New Mon State Party publicly announced its final refusal of the State Peace and
Development Council’s (SPDC) Border Guard Force (BGF) proposal. The refusal was issued despite
widespread reports that Southeast Command Major General Ye Myint had informed the party at an April 7th
meeting that such a move would lead to a return of the NMSP’s “pre-ceasefire relationship” with the SPDC.
During the week of NMSP deliberations, held at party headquarters in NMSP-controlled territory in Tavoy
District, Tenasserim Divison, tensions rose. SPDC battalions were cited amassing along the border of
NMSP-controlled territories in Tavoy District and farther north, near Three Pagodas Pass. Sensing the threat
of an impending battle, hundreds of residents living in NMSP territory in Tavoy District and southern Mon
State fled their homes, finding refuge in Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps along the Thailand-Burma