Roning Dolah

Thailand: Killing of Malay Muslim human rights defender must be investigated

Responding to last night’s fatal shooting of Malay Muslim human rights defender Roning Dolah in Thailand’s insurgency-ridden southern border region, Amnesty International’s Thailand Researcher Chanatip Tatiyakaroonwong said:

“This tragic incident highlights the dangers faced by human rights defenders in Thailand’s southern border region.

“It seems especially poignant that Roning, who supported victims of torture and was reportedly tortured himself, has now been shot dead ahead of today’s International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

“The Thai authorities must carry out a prompt, transparent, independent and effective investigation into Roning’s death and bring the perpetrators to justice in a manner consistent with international human rights law.

“Such an investigation is essential not only for delivering justice for Roning and his loved ones, but also to prevent this incident from having a chilling effect on human rights activism in this region of Thailand.

“We at Amnesty International express our deepest condolences to Roning’s family and loved ones.”

Background

On 25 June 2024 at 9pm, Roning Dolah was shot and killed by two unidentified men in front of his home in the Yarang district of Pattani province.

Roning was a coordinator working with local civil society organization Duay Jai Group under the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture to provide rehabilitation support for other torture survivors in the region.

According to the Duay Jai Group, Roning joined the group after allegedly being tortured by military officers while he was held in custody in June 2017 in Pattani province.

Since around 2004, Thailand has seen a rise in insurgent attacks carried out by armed Malay Muslim groups against the Thai state in this southern border region next to Malaysia.

The region covers the provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, as well as four districts of Songkhla (Saba Yoi, Tepha, Chana and Natawee). Local think tank Deep South Watch reported that at least 7,594 individuals have been killed between January 2004 and April 2024.

Since the outbreak of the insurgency, Amnesty International has documented widespread impunity in the region, with authorities failing to deliver justice in suspected cases of unlawful killings, torture and other ill-treatment.

26 June is the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.