Don’t Try to Ignite War, UNESCO


Territorial disputes between Thailand and Cambodia have been a deep-rooted problem and a persistent predicament for citizens of both countries for many decades. The conflict was rooted in France’s self-assertion and ignorance during the colonial period between late 19th and early 20th century.

The tension recently flared up again, as Cambodia attempted to seek approval from the World Heritage Committee (WHC) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for the listing of the Preah Vihear Temple as the World Heritage site under Cambodia’s jurisdiction.

The main reason that the Thai government and its people strongly protest against Cambodia’s move is that it is threatening Thailand’s sovereignty over the land on which the ancient temple is situated, as well as its environs.

The issue has become of greater concerns, after Cambodia was found to have submitted its own version of a map for the Preah Vihear temple area to UNESCO. Although the Cambodian government refused to call it a map, claiming that there has been no demarcation of the area according to the memorandum of understanding which was signed between the two countries in 2000, Thailand disagrees.

In fact, UNESCO should be well aware of the border disputes that have been going on between Thailand and Cambodia. Why would it have interfered while the issue remains unresolved.

UNESCO at least should have thought about the feelings of the Thai people and listened to Thailand’s protest over the matter. If the UN organization fails to listen, they cannot expect Thailand to do the same.

The Thai government and its people will continue to protest and refuse to cooperate with the management of the Preah Vihear Temple as proposed by the Cambodian government. If UNESCO still persists in considering Cambodia’s proposal, the Thai authority will have to do something to show that the UN agency is tampering with the country’s national security

I doubt that the WHC and UNESCO really want to add fuel to the conflict between Thailand and Cambodia and see the dispute develop into a full-blown war which is much harder to resolve.

Naew Na editorial, page 3, July 30th, 2010

Translated and rewritten by Wacharapol Isaranont
Via: TAN Network