August 8, 2012 News: The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has hailed the decision of the Kingdom of Thailand in recognizing Palestine as a free and full sovereign state within the 1967 borders.
Speaking for the MILF Central Committee, Muhammad Ameen, chair of its Secretariat, welcomed the decision of the Thai government in recognizing the State of Palestine as a member of the family of nations.
“I hope other states would follow the footsteps of Thailand,” Ameen said, even as he also called on the Buddhist state to relax its stranglehold of the states of Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala, Songkhla and Satun, which are mainly populated by Muslims of Malay ancestry.
He said that according to reports there has been repression and suppression of Muslim rights in these provinces by Thai police and security forces, which used various brutal means to suppress their movement for separatism.
The separatist violence in these majority Malay Muslim provinces has a history traceable back for more than half a century. Some experts say brutal counterinsurgency tactics by successive governments in Bangkok have worsened the situation. Political turmoil in Bangkok and tussle between supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and the country's military have further contributed to the instability, working to stymie any serious initiatives for a long-term solution to the crisis.
As of 18 January 2012, 130 (67.4%) of the 193 member states of the United Nations have recognized the State of Palestine. Many of the countries that do not recognize the State of Palestine nevertheless recognize the PLO as the "representative of the Palestinian people". In addition the PLO's executive committee is empowered by the Palestinian Authority to perform the functions of government of the State of Palestine.
Thailand has been given an observer status in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). This was made possible when Thailand appointed Dr. SurinPitsuwanas its Minister of Foreign Affairs, who made strong representation with the OIC in 1998. The Philippines wanted to follow the example of Thailand, but it has consistently failed to dislodge the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) from the post.