Peace building effort by the government in the Deep South is still supported by the majority of the people in the South, particularly the proposed safety zone.
This was revealed by Gen Ekkachai Srivilas, director of the institute’s Office of Peace and Governance of King Prajadhipok’s Institute, after its third perception survey of the peace negotiations to resolve the conflict in the Deep South by the government.
He said the perception survey or “3rd Peace Survey” was conducted from two sample groups of people in the South – local people and religious leaders.
The survey showed 72.7% of religion leaders and 56.9% of local people supported negotiation to resolve the southern conflict.
They viewed that negotiation could improve the situation while only a few percentage of them didn’t support and were uncertain of the peace process.
He said this latest survey was a follow-up of the two previous surveys by the institute with cooperation from 15 educational institutes and organisations which are its network and members.
The first survey was conducted from February 8- March 13, and the second survey from July 15-August 22.
The purpose of the survey was aimed at finding what the local people anticipated in the peace building effort of the government so that it could be used as key information to fix the direction of the peace negotiation.
He said the latest survey showed that the majority agreed to the creation of safety zone in major community areas, the creation of work, resolving drug problem and equal enforcement of law without bias.
Meanwhile former Pheu Thai Party for Narathiwat Najmuddin Uma said the majority of people in the Deep South anticipated peace talk is an only solution to the conflict.
He said the military and the government must continue with the peace building effort more actively as this is what is an acceptable choice to bring peace back to the Deep South.
He said the latest peace survey showed the government gained better popularity than the previous survey.
This reflected that local people have more confidence in the government’s peace building effort.
But he remained doubtful about a questionnaire of “who is responsible for the building of peace in the region” when only 17% of them pointed to the government, and 13% said they didn’t know.
This should leave as a homework for the survey team to find out why they didn’t know.
He said that if the majority of the population in this country didn’t understand the peace building process same as the local people, it is hardly possible to bring peace back to the Deep South.