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Roadmap for the Tackling of the Southern Situation

10 April 2015

Thailand is now moving from Phase 2 to Phase 3 in the roadmap for the tackling of southern unrest in order to bring peace and happiness to the people in the southern border provinces.
The roadmap comprises three phases. Phase 1, from 2004 to 2010, involved efforts to bring the situation under control. Phase 2, which began in 2011 and is being carried out at present, seeks to empower all sectors, especially local residents, in a proactive manner, while emphasizing development work. Phase 3 focuses on bringing about lasting peace and sustainable development.
Deputy Defense Minister and Army Commander-in-Chief General Udomdej Sitabutr said that an evaluation would be made for the ongoing phase. The number of military forces from other regions of the country operating in the deep South would be reduced, in preparation for entering Phase 3 in the roadmap.
The southern unrest erupted on 4 January 2004. Thailand has been mobilizing efforts for unified operations that engage all relevant government agencies, in order to improve the situation. It has adopted the "politics leads the military approach in peace-building operations in the deep South. Two tracks have been pursued in dealing with the southern situation. One involves economic and social development to improve the peoples living conditions, and the other involves law enforcement to bring about peace and protect the peoples lives and property.
General Udomdej pointed out that a key performance indicator for the success of managing the southern situation is that the number of violent incidents is now on the decline. In 2014, it dropped to the lowest in the 11 years since violent incidents erupted in the deep South. The number of people killed and injured in the unrest also dropped significantly. He cited the "politics leads the military approach as an effective measure to improve the situation.
 In other measures, the Government has opened opportunities for groups of people holding different views to that of the state to participate in the peace-building process. Those who have been misled into creating unrest have also been provided with opportunities to turn over a new leaf, so that they will be able to reintegrate into society. Perpetrators will also be ensured of justice, based on the rule of law and respect for human rights.
The southern situation shows a sign of improvement, as the Government is trying to reduce conditions that might be used by perpetrators as a pretext to initiate acts of violence.
The new round of peace dialogues is expected to take place in the middle of 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, with the participation of representatives from various groups involved.
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