Worried about safety, NGOs in Southern Thailand appeal for Msia's assistance

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PATTANI: Several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in southern Thailand have appealed for Malaysia's assistance to find ways to protect the safety of Pattani residents, including former security case detainees, from the worsening violence in the area although a ceasefire had been declared.

Jaringan Menegak Keadilan untuk Kedamaian (JOP) or the Upholding of Justice for Peace Network together with some other NGOs here handed over their appeal letter to Malaysia's consulate general in Songkhla yesterday.
 
JOP secretary, Thammarat Alilateh told reporters they asked that Malaysia be the facilitator and mediator in the conflict and they wanted the Thai government to care for the plight of the people of Pattani.
 
He said while negotiations were going on between the Thai government and the National Revolution Front representatives, two Jop members were fatally shot and a week after that, he himself was arrested and detained for seven days.
 
Thammarat said an appeal letter had also been sent before to the Thai government but there had been no response.
 
"We have lost trust and hope in them. We are also afraid to send another appeal letter as we may get arrested again," he added.
 
A young social activist, Tuwaedania Tuwaemaengae from the Lembaga Patani Raya (LEMPAR), said they observed that there had been extrajudicial killing of mainly influential figures in the community, including kindergarten teachers, who endeavoured to protect the Pattani Malay identity.
 
Asiyah Chaekachik, who represented the kindergarten teachers, said what was important for them now was ensuring their safety, which was constantly under threat.
 
"I don't feel safe. A friend of mine who was seven months' pregnant was shot dead and her face slashed with a knife.
 
"That is why we appeal for Malaysia's help as Malaysia has been a good facilitator in peace talks and it will help monitor and give attention to what is happening here," she said.
 
Asiyah said they had placed trust and high hopes in the Thai government to protect their safety but their hopes were shattered by the killing of kindergarten teachers.-- BERNAMA

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