Justice Minister: Government to consider compensation for southern violence victims

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YALA, Jan 12 – Justice Minister Pol Gen Pracha Promnog on Thursday reaffirmed that the government will consider compensation package for victims of Deep South violence based on the same standards as those earlier approved for victims of political violence.

The justice minister made the remark as he attended a meeting on compensating victims of the southern border insurgency in Yala province. The meeting was held just days after the cabinet approved Bt2 billion in compensation for victims of political violence between 2005 and 2010 in which Bt4.5 million will be paid to the family of each fatality while those who were wounded will be entitled to a different amount of compensation.

The newly-approved package has sparked concern among critics that it did not include compensation for insurgency-impacted victims in the troubled southern region as well as political demonstrations which took place before 2005.

Gen Pracha said the meeting, which convened for a second time,dealt with the overall regulations and criteria of the scheme as Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra instructed that victims of southern violence must also receive compensation as soon as possible.

As the government has laid out compensation measures for victims of political violence, the minister said, the scheme for those affected in southern violence will be based on the same standards.

The Southern Border Police Operation Centre earlier reported, as of the end of 2011, the death toll from Southern violence which erupted in January 2004 has resulted in a death toll of 5,243, comprising civilians, security forces, monks, teachers and insurgents themselves while nearly nine thousand persons were wounded or otherwise injured in 12,604 insurgent attacks.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister/Interior Minister Yongyuth Vichaidit said a sub-committee will be set up at the earliest, hopefully within next week, after the cabinet approved the compensation package of political violence victims earlier proposed by the Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand (TRC).

The interior minister noted that the families of 91 persons who were slain and shops damaged in the 2010 political chaos will be the first group to receive compensation.

Mr Yongyuth defended the cabinet decision, saying it was not designed to satisfy only Red Shirt protesters of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) but was carried out in response to the TRC proposal established by the previous government.

The interior minister said the concerned agencies will determine details of the scheme with the Bureau of the Budget and apply the relief measures as soon as possible.