Southern Thailand violent conflict sends more women into politics

PATTANI (Bernama) – The loss of four family members in the violent conflict in southern Thailand drove Patimoh Pak Etaedaod into joining politics to assist women and champion their rights in the turbulent provinces.

This 38-year-old woman had set up the Women for Peace Association to assist women, particularly those who lost their husbands in the violent incidents.

Patimoh, from Ruam Palang Prachachart Thai Party, said women’s involvement was important in championing women’s issues and rights, especially in the implementation of policies so that their voice could be heard for the government to care for their needs and rights.

“Women’s issues and problems cannot  be resolved without  the participation of women themselves…this realisation too prompted me to join politics to struggle for women’s rights,” she said.

According to a non-governmental organi-sation, Duyai Jai Group, 630 women died while 2,557 others were injured in the violent conflicts in four southern Thailand provinces – Pattani, Narathiwat, Yala and Songkhla since 2004 until February this year.

The violent incidents in these provinces have left about 3,000 widows and over 5,000 children without a parent or both.

Dr Nahathai Tiwpaingam from Prachachat Party and one of the candidates for the post of prime minister, said her involvement in politics was to bring change to the local community.

“I have been chosen by my party as a candidate for prime minister, which proves that it has confidence in and gives preference to a woman to lead the country,” she said.