Southern Thailand: from conflict to negotiations?

Civil war Human rights Peace-building Thailand Malaysia

Summary: In this Analysis, University of Leeds professor Duncan McCargo argues that the recent Malaysian-backed Southern Thai peace initiative has now run into some serious problems. He argues that despite its various shortcomings the initiative is still worthy of support, since it has gained far more traction that any previous attempts to address the decade-long insurgency. Thailand needs to maintain focus on the southern conflict despite its current preoccupation with a national-level political crisis that threatens to topple the government of Yingluck Shinawatra.

Key findings

The conflict in Southern Thailand is one of Asia’s most serious insurgencies, with over 6,000 dead over the last 10 years.

The Malaysian government sponsored negotiations represents the best hope for reaching a political settlement and bringing peace to the region.

However, both sides need to show greater commitment to the negotiations, introducing new structures and procedures.

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