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Australian Journal of Asian Law

Abstract from Volume 11 No 1 (2009)

Thailandís Troubled South: Examining the Case for Devolution from a Comparative Perspective

Peter Leyland is Professor of Public Law, London Metropolitan University.

This article considers the case for devolution in Thailand’s south, where the majority of Thailand’s Islamic population live. In recent years the insurgency in the southern provinces of Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani has cost more than 3500 lives. In outlining the nature of the current problem there is a discussion of the historical marginalisation of the Islamic population through the policies of successive Thai governments, as also of the political aspirations of Malay-speaking Muslims, including the activities of the Pattani National Liberation Front (BNPP), the Pattani United Liberation Organization (PULO), National Revolutionary Front (BRN) and more recently the increase in radicalisation and the influence of Salafism. Recent initiatives to address the problem are explained in depth. Next, devolution with reference to the United Kingdom, and particularly Northern Ireland, is considered as a form of dispute resolution for this region of Thailand. Although it is recognised that any Thai solution would need to be brokered locally between opposing factions, it is suggested that a number of features from the UK example might be adopted.

(2009) 11(1) Asian Law 1

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