BRN promises to cease operations if…
The Barisan Revolusi Nasional separatist group has promised to cease its armed operations against government officials, members of the security forces and civilians and economic targets beginning next year if the government agrees to accept its five latest demands.
According to the information gleaned from the 38-page English document clarifying the BRN’s five demands which was sent to the Thai side by the Malaysian facilitator, the separatist group set the timeframe for the cessation of armed activities as follows: January in Songkhla; April in Yala; July in Narathiwat and October in Pattani.
Lt-Gen Paradorn Pattanathabutr, secretary-general of National Security Council and head of the Thai negotiating team, told Isranews agency on September 7 he had already received the BRN’s documents and had assigned officials to translate them into Thai before they are disseminated to authorities concerned for consideration.
It was however reported that Datuk Seri Ahmad Zamzamin Hashim, former intelligence chief of Malaysia and the facilitator, personally handed over the documents to Paradorn in Bangkok.
The documents are regarded as very important because they would determine whether the peace talks between the government and the BRN would proceed smoothly or not. They are still kept as confidential however.
Earlier in August, the operating centre of the committee to push for the policy and strategy to resolve unrest problem in the deep South, an umbrella organization to tackle southern unrest, had voiced objection to all the five demands. The army too has brushed aside the demands.
According to the recently-received documents, the five demands are as follows:
1. The government must recognize the BRN as the representative of Patani people and a liberation organization and not a separatist movement. Liberation means the right and freedom to practice religious activities, to pursue Malayu way of life without oppression and attack by the authorities.
2. The status of Malaysia should be changed from the facilitator to the mediator in the peace process. If this is accepted by the government, the BRN promises to stop attacking security forces tasked with providing protection to teachers.
3. Future peace talks must be witnessed by representatives of Asean countries, the Organisation of Islamic Conference and non-governmental organizations.
4. The government must recognize the statehood of Patani and the sovereignty of Patani Malays. The southern conflict stemmed from Siamese occupation of the Patani state and violations of human rights. The Patani Malays should have a chance for self-determination to administer their territory in the form of a special administrative zone within the Thai Constitution.
5. All suspects held on security-related charges must be released and all arrest warrants invalidated. If this demand is accepted, the BRN agrees to lay down their arms.