Yet left-wing Human Rights Watch accuses Thai government of “disrupting children’s education” by sending in the military to protect the schools.
Schools are set ablaze and teachers are murdered by Muslim insurgents in southernThailand partly because soldiers use the schools as military bases that turn them into targets, according to a human rights report released yesterday. Some teachers protect themselves by carrying guns and in some cases are provided bullets free of charge by local authorities in Thailand’s restive south, Human Rights Watch said in a 111-page report on how the insurgency by Muslims who apparently want their own state affects schools.
The New York-based group called on the Thai government to prohibit the military from occupying school grounds, saying that sending troops into schools creates an “immense disruption” to children’s education and can put students in danger.
The Muslim insurgency that flared in 2004 has left at least 4,200 people dead in Thailand’s southernmost provinces. The three provinces affected by the insurgency – Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat – are the only Muslim-majority areas in the predominantly Buddhist country.
The violence has resulted in 327 arson attacks on government schools and left at least 135 teachers and school workers dead, the report said.
“The insurgents’ practice of shooting teachers and burning schools shows incredible depravity,” said Bede Sheppard, the group’s senior Asia researcher for children’s rights. “It’s cruel and immoral and robs children of their education and their future.”
Public school teachers are viewed by insurgents as government collaborators who impose Buddhist culture through the school system. They are targeted along with soldiers, civil servants and local officials. Taiwan News H/T TROP