Displaced in Thailand

Fellows Fall 2011

By Andrea Wenzel

October 12, 2012

Also aired on Latitudes

In most of Thailand, the majority of people are Buddhists. But in the Southern-most provinces, the majority are Malay-speaking Muslims. Malay militants want to separate from the Thai state, saying it doesn’t respect Malay identity.

Since the conflict escalated in 2004, around 5 thousand people have been killed, and more than 200,000 have had to leave their homes. The Malay militants target Buddhist civilians, as well as Muslims working with the government. At the same time, Thai authorities are accused of arbitrarily detaining and torturing Muslims and turning a blind eye to revenge attacks by paramilitaries.

On both sides, so many men have been arrested, killed, or forced to flee, that many women have taken on new responsibilities and leadership roles. Latitudes’ Andrea Wenzel met a group of women trying to bring Buddhist and Muslim communities closer together through radio.

Duangsuda Nuisupab returning to visit the village where her father and grandfather were killed.

Photo: Andrea Wenzel.

Andrea Wenzel reported from Thailand on a fellowship with the International Reporting Project. Noi Thammasathien contributed to this story. All photos courtesy Andrea Wenzel.