Thailand-Cambodian Civil Society Wants ASEAN to Solve the Border Conflict
4 May 2011 9:00 pm
Thailand and Cambodian civil society in ASEAN People’s Forum in Jakarta on Wednesday night (4 May) agreed to request ASEAN as a neutral party, to mediate border conflict resolution between the two countries.
“We believe this border conflict is not what the people of Thailand and Cambodia want, but due to political problems (Prime Minister of Thailand) Abhisit and (Cambodian Prime Minister) Hun Sen,” said Supalak Ganjanakhundee, Senior Journalist of The Nation, Thailand. Supalak who owns agricultural land in the border area is also one of the displaced victims.
Similar thing was said by Pa Nguon Teang, Executive Director of the Radio Voice of Democracy of Cambodia. According to Pa, this conflict is no longer in the name of each country’s nationalism, but rather because of political ambition of both prime ministers. Evident can be seen from the fact the border conflict did not occur in the Thaksin Shinawatra government, which has close political affiliations with Hun Sen.
“Because this is political, we ask all people of Cambodia and Thailand for no longer think of nationalism to this border issue, but to think more about humanity,” he said. Pa refers to the fact that this armed conflict has already claimed casualties of 9 people and forcing 25 thousand people to be displaced.
Cambodian and Thailand civil society also agreed to ask ASEAN intervene to mediate this conflict. It is to be expected that ASEAN as a regional institution to act as a more neutral mediator political interests of both the prime minister sides.
The meeting facilitated by the People’s Empowerment Foundation, was attended by various representation of academics, activists, journalists and residents who were forced to be displaced by armed conflict on the border near Preah Vihear temple.
The research of Dr. Akarapong Khamkhun Pridi Pranomyong from International College of Thammasat University Thailand reveals the fact that the population on the border of both countries historically was no enemies at all. In fact, the soldiers of both countries only bear arms from Monday to Friday as instructed from Bangkok and Phnom Penh. At the end of the week, the troops of Thailand and Cambodia at the border would often sit playing cards and drinking together.
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