Wants status listed 'under constitution'
Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), the insurgent group in the far South, has extended its list of key demands on the way it says the deep South should be administered.
In a purported list of preconditions, it amplifies its demands by referring to a special administrative platform “under the Thai constitution”, according to a source who witnessed the documents.
The BRN demand said: “Thai authorities shall certify that Pattani is the birthplace and home of sovereignty of the Melayu-Patani people, who are given a chance to administer the area, under a special administrative platform under the Thai Constitution, like models put in place… [by] the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and by Pattaya City, through an establishment process which will be approved finally by the Parliament,” the source said.
The additional 38-page document was received by Thai authorities on September 4. It said three BRN members who have taken part in an ongoing dialogue with Thai authorities, would be replaced by two from the Pattani United Liberation Organisation (PULO), and one from Barisan Islam Pembebasan Patani, (BIPP, the Islamic Liberation Front of Pattani), as part of a 15-member BRN team.
Use of the phrase “under the Thai Constitution” is reportedly aimed at preventing opposition from the Thai public and military, who, shocked by daily violence, are believed to strongly oppose any unconstitutional methods.
Previously, there were other complicated matters unexplained to either the Thai public or the military, involving independence, self-government, autonomy or a much-discussed scheme known as the Pattani metropolitan administration.
The source said the document had circulated among security agencies through their social media outlets after September 4.
It stipulated all five preconditions plus the term “under the Thai Constitution”, after the first BRN document was given to the National Security Council through Malaysian authorities, but not shared with other relevant agencies for unknown reasons.
The five BRN demands are:
_ That BRN is recognised as liberators, not separatists;
_ Malaysia’s role is upgraded to a mediator, not just facilitator;
_ Observers from Asean, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and NGOs be present during the dialogue process;
_ A special administrative platform be set up under the Thai constitution;
_ all detained suspects or imprisoned insurgents are released unconditionally.
Under demand 2, if achieved, BRN would in return cease attacking soldiers escorting teachers, the document said.
On demand 3, BRN would give full cooperation for peace talks in further steps.
On the last demand, BRN and all insurgents would lay down their arms and take part in all steps of a future peace process, at all levels available.
On demand 1, the BRN also wants a guarantee that Patani-Melayu people will be granted the freedom to practice Islam, seek education and conduct business, as well as remain free from harassment.