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Introduction of the Publication_ My Father was arrested

             Founded in 2002, the Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) aims to uphold the rule of law and human rights related to the culture, economics, society and civil rights. In 2007 CrCF launched a project called, ‘Facilitating Access to Justice and Legal Protection Project’ in the three Southern border provinces and four districts in Songkhla to promote understanding and awareness on the importance of upholding the rule of law.

Under the project CrCF staffs, together with local organizations such as the Muslim Attorney Center (MAC), Volunteer Home for Children and Youth, Young Muslim Association of Thailand (YMAT), We Peace, and other independent groups have conducted regular visits to detention centers to meet with the persons detained under charges relating to security. The visits have been made possible by cooperation from the Department of Corrections and the detainees’ families. Attempts have been made to explore the impact of the detention on the families of those held in custody in the three Southern border provinces and four districts in Songkhla and necessary assistance has been given to them.

             According to our survey, there are over 400 persons who have been held in custody under charges relating to security. CrCF and its network partners visited the families of 218 such detainees. Based on information from these family visits and complaints received by MAC from the relatives of the detainees, it was found that there are 278 children under the age of 18 years who have been directly affected by the detention of their family members.

Among them, 134 children are under preschool age, 85 children are in the age of 7-12 years, 55 children in the age of 13-18 years. Some of them have no access to education in either state supported secular schools or religious schools. Women in the families often suffer from acute mental, social and economic pressures; they warrant immediate help. It is often the breadwinner that is arrested and income thus stops accordingly.

             It is the intention of the report to illustrate the problems and needs so that better? Assistance can be given to the children and women to access their rights. These families have to bear the brunt of the counter-insurgency policies of the State, yet they have been largely ignored and have not received remedies or compensation from the state. This is caused by the social attitude against Malayu Muslim who prejudice to be involved in separation movement widely held among state officials and the lack of understanding, language barriers and cultural sensitivity that leads to discrimination against the families of the detainees.

Thus, CrCF and its alliance organizations have been pushing state agencies to come up with policies promoting livelihood, education scholarships, legl aid, and to provide detainees theopportunity to get temporarily released as provided by law.

We have been supporting activities by private agencies such as the children and youth camps for the detainees’ families, educational scholarships from private donors, family visit and to reintegrate them to society if they have been isolated or been excluded.

CrCF aims to minimize the conflicts and bridge understanding between society and the detainees’ families for the sake of justice and to enhance mutual understanding between people and the state. It shall pave the way for reconciliation and genuine collaboration to enhance stability, creativity and social development in a long run.

 Somchai Homlaor

Chairperson

Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF)