The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General on Children and armed conflict (A/69/926–S/2015/409) issued on 5 June 2015.
Armed violence in southern Thailand continued, with armed groups launching attacks against civilian targets and engaging in sporadic fighting with Government security forces. Peace talks between the Government and armed groups, facilitated by Malaysia, began in 2014.
The United Nations continued to receive reports on the recruitment and use of children by armed groups. Children reportedly received military training and were used as lookouts, informers and combatants. For instance, a 14-year-old boy allegedly associated with an armed group was reportedly killed in a gunfight with civil defence forces in Narathiwat Province in August. Concerns persist over the informal association of children with civil defence groups providing security for transportation routes, teachers and schools. Reports also continue regarding the administrative detention of children for alleged association with armed groups.
The United Nations received reports of 57 incidents in Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat that resulted in the killing of 23 children and maiming of 65. The incidents included shootings and improvised explosive device attacks. For example, on 3 February, three boys, between 6 and 11 years of age, were reportedly killed by gunshots during a targeted attack on their family by armed elements.
Armed groups continued to target teachers and education personnel, often using brutal threats and acts. According to the Ministry of Education, six teachers, one education personnel and 10 students were killed in 2014, while three teachers, one education personnel and 15 students were injured. In a worrisome example, in March, insurgents shot a teacher while she was riding a motorcycle to work at Tabing Tingi Community School. The assailants reportedly then poured gasoline on her body and set it on fire. A leaflet, with the words “This attack is in revenge for the killing of innocent people,” was found nearby.
In line with that trend, in November, banners threatening teachers were found in several parts of Yala. Soldiers and police who have been providing security escorts for teachers in the affected region have also come under fire. In November, 18 members of an armed group launched an attack on a security escort, killing four soldiers and injuring two others. In October, eight schools in the provinces of Pattani and Narathiwat were burned at night. No group claimed responsibility for the attacks. However, according to some reports, it was retaliation by a National Revolutionary Front-led armed group for attacks by the Royal Thai Army. The Government arrested eight persons in October, who reportedly confessed to carrying out the attack.
In May and August, for the first time since the escalation of violence in 2014, three hospitals were attacked in Pattani and Songkhla. In one attack, a parked motorcycle exploded and set fire to adjacent areas in the bombing at the Khok Pho hospital, resulting in serious injury to a 3-year-old girl.
In my previous two annual reports, 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. I am concerned that progress has still not been achieved on the issue of access for monitoring and verification, and again strongly urge the Government to facilitate independent access.