EI sent a message to the Prime Minister of Thailand on 30 March, expressing its concerns about the level of violence in the south of the country. According to the UN, over 2000 lives have been lost in the past 3 years, including those of 60 teachers.
UN agencies working in Thailand reported an increased level of violence recently in the southern provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla. What makes it worse is that the violence now also targets children.
"First we saw schools and teachers attacked; now children themselves are becoming targets. This is affecting children in all the southern communities and contributes to a climate of fear across the region. Such attacks against innocent children are against all norms and are completely unacceptable," commented UN Resident Co-ordinator Joana Merlin-Scholtes in a press release dated 21 March.
EI, which counts the Education Society of Thailand (EST), the Private School Teachers' Association of Thailand (PSTAT) and the National Thai Teachers' Union (NTTU) among its member organisations, is concerned that schools have been attacked in the recent escalation of the violence.
"Education has a major contribution to make in conflict resolution. Educational institutions and teachers should be supported and given the resources to promote peace and tolerance rather than become targets in the conflict," wrote EI General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen.
EI requests the Thai authorities to ensure the security of children, teachers and schools, so as to create a safe learning environment which is part of a child's right to education.