See More on Facebook

Culture and society, Current affairs

Deadly Thailand temple attack a war crime, says rights group

Human Rights Watch on Saturday said the deadly attack on civilians in a place of worship in Narathiwat province is a war crime.


Written by

Updated: January 21, 2019

Separatist insurgents attacked Rattananupharb temple in Sungai Pai district on Friday and killed two monks, including the temple’s abbot.

“The ghastly attack on Buddhist monks by insurgents in Thailand’s deep south is morally reprehensible and a war crime, and those responsible should be held to account,” said Brad Adams, HRW Asia director.

“The insurgents’ 15-year campaign of deliberately attacking Buddhist and Muslim civilians can’t be justified.”

Phra Khru Prachote Rattanarak, the abbot of the temple and also chief monk of the district, was shot at close range and died instantly at the site.

 

Witnesses told Human Rights Watch they saw armed men arrive at the temple on motorcycles, open fire with assault rifles and then storm inside and shoot the monks at point-blank range.

The attack followed a pattern consistent with other insurgent attacks, and heightened fears in Su Ngai Padi district and other parts of the four southern border provinces.

Thai authorities have instructed all Buddhist monks in Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, and Songkhla provinces to stay inside temples and cease their daily morning routine of collecting alms.

Since the outbreak of armed insurrection in January 2004, Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) insurgents have targeted Buddhist temples and monks, which they consider emblematic of the Thai Buddhist state’s occupation of ethnic Malay Muslim territory. At least 23 monks have been killed and more than 20 wounded.

The insurgents have also targeted security personnel assigned to provide monks safe passage to and from temples.

The laws of war, also known as international humanitarian law, prohibit attacks on civilians and civilian objects, including houses of worship, or attacks that fail to discriminate between combatants and civilians.

The laws of war provide no justification for insurgent claims that attacks on civilians are lawful because those targeted are part of the Thai Buddhist state or that Islamic law, as they interpret it, permits such attacks.

The laws of war also explicitly prohibit tactics frequently used by BRN insurgents, including reprisals and summary executions against civilians and captured combatants, mutilation or other mistreatment of the dead, and attacks directed at civilian facilities.

Human Rights Watch has repeatedly condemned such violations by the insurgents.

Despite a peace dialogue between the Thai government and separatist groups under the umbrella of Majlis Syura Patani (Mara Patani), BRN insurgents have continued attacks on civilian targets.

“Both Muslims and Buddhists in southern Thailand are caught in the cycle of abuses and reprisals by insurgents and Thai security forces,” Adams said.

“The Thai government needs to prosecute the atrocities by its own forces as well as those by the insurgents if this horrific violence is to stop.”



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


The Nation (Thailand)
About the Author: The Nation is a broadsheet, English-language daily newspaper founded in 1971 and published in Bangkok, Thailand.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Culture and society, Current affairs

Easter carnage could have been averted Cardinal tells army chief

Cardinal says he could’ve acted on advance warning to prevent deadly attacks. Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith yesterday told Army Commander Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake that he would have had definitely called off Easter Sunday morning mass countrywide had he been informed of intelligence warning as regards possible attacks. Cardinal Ranjith sought a clarification as to whether the Church had been deliberately deprived of timely information when Lt. Gen. Senanayake met him at the Bishop’s House, Borella in the morning. A visibly disappointed Catholic leader asserted that Easter Sunday tragedy could have been averted. The Island had the opportunity to be present at the Bishop’s House meeting where Cardinal Ranjith strongly emphasized the responsibility on the part of the government to caution the public regarding possible threats. The meeting took place immediately after the


By The Island
April 24, 2019

Culture and society, Current affairs

Earthquake kills 8 in Philippines

The earthquake struck the central island of Luzon Monday afternoon. Rescuers dug into rubble to reach people trapped in a supermarket that collapsed in Porac town, Pampanga province, after a 6.1-magnitude earthquake shook Luzon on Monday afternoon. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported that it was verifying reports that five people were killed in the earthquake. Three bodies were reportedly pulled out of the collapsed supermarket, but the NDRRMC said that report was “for validation.” Pampanga Gov. Lilia Pineda reported that eight people died, including an elderly woman and her grandchild who were killed when part of a wall beside their house fell on them in Barangay Santa Cruz, Lubao town, as the earth shook. The powerful earthquake struck at 5:11 p.m. rocking Luzon, including Metropolitan Manila, and sending thousands of people fleeing high-rise


By Philippine Daily Inquirer
April 23, 2019

Culture and society, Current affairs

Asian press freedom under threat

Some common themes and little optimism as press freedom takes a back seat in Asia. The media advocacy group, Reporters without Borders—also known by its international name Reporters Sans Frontières, or RSF—released its 2019 World Press Freedom Index on Thursday. The report tells a bleak story of the future of news ecosystems around the world, and warns of increasing danger for the men and women who have made reporting the news their jobs. The index’s assessment of Asia-Pacific’s press freedom describes an atmosphere of increasing cyber harassment, physical danger and intimidation for reporters—factors that unsurprisingly have led to growing levels self-censorship across the region. A look at a the state of press freedom in a few countries around the region reveals some recurring patterns: Legal systems have been increasingly wielded as weapons by governments to silence media outlets and indiv


By Quinn Libson
April 21, 2019

Culture and society, Current affairs

UPDATE: Over 200 dead in coordinated Sri Lanka attacks

The attacks seem to target Christian churches and popular luxury hotels. At least 200 people are dead and hundreds injured in coordinated bomb attacks across Sri Lanka. The attacks seem to target Christian churches on their Easter Sunday services as well as major hotels in the capital, Colombo. Authorities said that some of the attacks were carried out by suicide bombers. According to the Statesman newspaper, the churches that were attacked include St. Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade in Colombo, the St. Sebastian’s Church in Katuwapitiya in Katana and a third in Batticaloa. Sri Lankan press say that the military has been called in to guard the churches and the hotels. The government has also called for a nighttime curfew and blocked access to social media on a temporary basis. Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena called for calm in a statement issued by his office. Finance


By Cod Satrusayang
April 21, 2019

Culture and society, Current affairs

Tokyo Olympic committee announces detailed schedule for 2020 Games

Tokyo will welcome positive news after earlier scandals surrounding the Olympic committee. The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games has announced a detailed schedule for all competitions of the 2020 Games, which will start on July 24, 2020. Finals for around 20 events will be held on many days, and finals for 30 events, including baseball, will be held on Aug. 8, which will be the largest number in a single day during the Olympics period. The opening ceremony will begin at 8 p.m. on July 24. Gymnastics and wrestling matches are among competitions in which Japanese players are expected to turn in good performances. The men’s gymnastics team final will be held on July 27, with the Japanese team aiming to win their second consecutive Olympic title. The women’s wrestling 57-kilogram final will be held on Aug. 6. If Kaori Icho earns


By The Japan News
April 18, 2019

Culture and society, Current affairs

Nepalese air crash was under an inexperienced co-pilot’s command

Authorities at the regulatory body said the pilot may have allowed the co-pilot to take off because there were no passengers on board. A relatively inexperienced co-pilot was at the controls when a Summit Air plane started to skid during its attempt to take off at Lukla airport, causing it to lose control and run into an exterior fence colliding with two parked helicopters, three officials familiar with the preliminary probe told the Post. Two policemen and the co-pilot, Sujit Dhungana, were killed when the 19-seater aircraft crashed on Sunday morning. The incident is the first recorded accident in Nepal’s civil aviation history in which an aircraft killed personnel on the ground. Aviation authorities investigating into the crash told the Post that the co-pilot who was comm


By The Kathmandu Post
April 15, 2019