Southern border provinces of Thailand

The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council (A/68/878–S/2014/339) issued on 15 May 2014.

Despite the unprecedented announcement of a “general consensus on the peace dialogue process” between the Government of Thailand and “people who have different opinions and ideologies from the State”, including the National Revolutionary Front (BRN), on 28 February 2013, armed violence continued to affect the southern border provinces of Thailand.

The United Nations received reports of the recruitment and use of both girls and boys as young as 14 years of age by armed groups, including BRN. The children are allegedly used mainly as informants and lookouts to track movement of the Thai security forces. Concerns also persist over the informal association of children with village defence groups (Chor Ror Bor). According to the Government, local Government officers in relevant provinces were instructed to raise awareness and monitor the implementation of regulations issued by the Government to address the concern of the informal association of children with the Chor Ror Bor. The involvement of children in armed forces and armed groups remains to be explicitly criminalized by law. Furthermore, the United Nations continued to receive worrisome information regarding the administrative detention of children for alleged association with armed groups. According to the Government, the Criminal Procedural Code and the Juvenile and Family Court and Juvenile and Family Procedure Act of 2010 are applied to child suspects in order to protect their rights and to assure orderly separation, reintegration and assistance. The United Nations looks forward to an update on the implementation of those commitments.

Credible sources indicate that at least 316 improvised explosive device attacks were reportedly carried out in Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla, and Yala Provinces, including 35 improvised explosive device attacks during the last two weeks of Ramadan. In April 2013 alone, 45 people were reportedly killed and 79 others injured in 298 incidents, including bombings and drive-by shootings. Although exact figures on child casualties were not always available, the United Nations received reports of 7 children killed and 37 injured in such incidents. For example, on 21 March 2013, a 9-year-old boy was killed and 14 people wounded when a bomb was reportedly detonated in an ice cream shop in Pattani Province. Among several reported child casualties resulting from drive-by shootings, a 2-year-old boy was severely wounded when his father was killed on 11 December 2013.

Armed groups continued to target schools and teachers, although the United Nations was not able to attribute them to specific parties. At least seven teachers and three education-related personnel were killed, as confirmed by the Thailand Ministry of Education. On 23 January, a teacher was executed by two gunmen in a school cafeteria in front of dozens of children, including his 7-year-old daughter, in Narathiwat Province. Classes were suspended for several days in 12 schools in Pattani Province, after the killing of a teacher in a targeted drive-by shooting in August. Schools were also affected by attacks, including by at least three improvised explosive device attacks on Government security forces deployed to protect schools, putting schoolchildren and protected personnel further at risk. In one attack in Yala Province, on 10 September, two soldiers were killed and a 12‑year-old schoolboy injured on school premises.

In my previous annual report, I welcomed the fact that the Government and the United Nations country team were engaging in dialogue on access to the southern border provinces to conduct independent verification and report on alleged violations against children, including through minimum operating modalities. While the Government has continued to facilitate programmatic visits, I regret that no progress has been achieved on the issue of access for monitoring and verification, and I strongly urge the Government to move forward with the country team to facilitate independent access in that regard.