In Thailand, the southern-most three provinces are inhabited by majority-Malay Muslims. Thailand conquered this former territory of Malaysia in 1785 and has ruled over the residents ever since. Originating in 1948, the area has been under an ongoing ethnic and religious separatist insurgency that has resulted in over 10,000 deaths since 2004 alone. There have also been hundreds of thousands of reported cases on both sides of beatings, torture, harassment, and administrative detention or “disappearances”.
Through their Reclaiming Rights Program, the NI South-East Asia office seeks to empower the marginalized through campaigning, networking, and solidarity work. So far, it has been involved in creating spaces for Thai and Malay civil society actors to have greater participation in promoting peaceful means to end this violent conflict.
Tactically, NISEA also created the Ending Armed Violence Program, which has taken a lead role in southern Thailand in their efforts to ban land mines and render the misuse and proliferation of arms.