Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Working Paper
Title The Contested Corners of Asia: Subnational Conflict and International Development Assistance. The Case of Southern Thailand
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
URL https://asiafoundation.org/resources/pdfs/SouthernThailandCaseStudyFullReport.pdf
many other subnational conflicts across the
This report looks at development assis
tance to the area since the re-eruption of
violence in 2004, focusing on internation
ally-funded initiatives. The report asks: Is
there a meaningful role for aid if there is
no transition to peace underway? How can
international aid effectively address critical
issues in a highly constrained, political
ly-sensitive environment?
The report draws on new data, including
a large perception survey, locality case stud
ies, a stocktaking of aid, and key informant
interviews. The report also utilizes official
statistics, violence data, and previous
studies of southern Thailand.
Understanding Southern
Violent resistance against the perceived
domination of the state in the Deep South
of Thailand occurred over several periods
during the 20
century, before declining
in the early 1980s. The current insurgency
built up momentum from the late 1990s,
but was not officially recognized until
2004 when the number and scale of violent
incidents rose rapidly.
Violent unrest in the Deep South of
Thailand stems primarily from long-run
ning tensions between the nation state and
a minority population. Malay Muslims
Aid agencies aiming to address the subna
tional conflict in the Deep South confront
a difficult, entrenched situation. The struc
ture of the Thai state, including its regional
economic disparities, highly centralized
governance, and ethnic nationalism is a
cause of many of the problems experienced
in the Deep South and a barrier to future
transformation. Enduring inequalities con
tinue to feed a sense of resentment among
many Malay Muslims and foster a violent
response on the part of a small minority
of them. Violence is also exacerbated by
local competition for resources and power.
The Thai Government has not yet been
able or willing to enact significant changes
that might help address these causes and
encourage a negotiated peace process. The
insurgents have not shown that they are
ready to negotiate a peaceful settlement,
and serious questions remain regarding
their capacity to collectively negotiate due
to divisions among the core groups.

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