Thailand – On 19th August 2015, the Agricultural Land Reform Office (ALRO) informed the members of the Klong Sai-Pattana community, a member community of the Southern Peasant Federation of Thailand (SPFT), that a legal execution of a Supreme Court verdict against the Jiew Kang Jue Pattana Co. Ltd. and its dependents is ongoing.
The SPFT is a movement of landless farmer fighting for land reform and distribution of communal land title deeds to landless farmers in Thailand. The SPFT is based in Surat Thani Province and its member communities cover 6,500 acres of land divided up into 6 communities spread out across the provinces of SuratThani, Krabi, Nakhonsrithmamarat and Chumpon.
The legal execution, issued by the Krabi Provincial Court on 11th May 2015, orders the Jiew Kang Jue Pattana Co. Ltd. and its dependents to vacate the land the company is illegally occupying. The ALRO has extended the legal execution in this eviction lawsuit to cover Klong Sai-Pattana community.
This decision comes despite the letters the members of the community sent to the ALRO and the Ministry of Justice, clearly outlining the fact that they are not dependents of the company. Therefore the court verdict in this eviction lawsuit against the company and its dependents doesn’t cover the Klong Sai Pattana community. Furthermore, in the course of SPFT’s continued efforts to work with the State, specifically the Priminister office and ALRO, to reform and implement land distribution policies, Klong Sai Pattana was designated in January 2015 as a pilot community for the provision of community land title needs.
This threat of illegitimate and forced evicition is a further injustice against a community which has faced the continued intimidation and death threats by non-state actors, the destruction of their homes by bulldozers in 2010, and the murder of 4 of their members over the past five years with no justice being served for any of the murders.
In light of these facts and this alarming theat to forced eviction, Protection International (PI) expresses its concern at this attack on community’s land rights and on the work of the SPFT community-based Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) .
PI calls on Thailand’s military government through the Ministry of Agricultural and Cooperatives
1. to stop the use of violence against the landless poor, who have been accused of violating state law, and
2. to uphold its duty to guarantee and protect the settlement and livelihood rights of farmers, taking into consideration justice and fairness.
PI calls on the Thai military government to fulfill the recommendation from the UN ESCR Committee Concluding Observations (2015), where it was recommended Thailand “Ensure that forced evictions are only used as a measure of last resort and persons forcibly evicted are provided with adequate compensation and/or relocation, bearing in mind the Committee’s general comments no. 4 (1991) on the right to adequate housing and no. 7 (1997) on forced evictions; and Adopt a human-rights based approach in its development projects, as well as establish participatory mechanisms in order to ensure that no decision is made that may affect access to resources without consulting the individuals and communities concerned, with a view to seeking their free, prior and informed consent.”
For more information, please read the following statement by SPFT.
FORWARD STATEMENT by Southern Peasants’ Federation of Thailand (23rd August 2015)
Deputy Secretary General of the Agricultural Land Reform Office moves to enforce legal execution against the Klong Sai Pattana Community claiming that, if the villagers are allowed to stay on, the problem will be not be solved and conflicts will continue
Referring to the letter to the Governor of Surat Thani no. KS3605/5591, dated 6 July 2015, Mr. Thanu Meesaeng-ngern, the Deputy Secretary General of the Agricultural Land Reform Office claimed that, by allowing members of the Southern Peasant Federation Cooperative Co. Ltd. to continue to stay in the land from which the Jew Kang Jui Co. Ltd. has been evicted as per the verdict of the Supreme Court on 11 May 2014, it will perpetuate the problem. The opinion of the Deputy Secretary General is contrary to the policy declared by the government which supports cooperative land and community land title deed management. The community has been allowed to stay in the area until the problem is resolved. During the Abhisit Vejjajiva government and by the resolution of the Committee for Solving Problems of the Land Reform Network of Thailand no. 1/2552 dated on 11 March 2009 and also during the Yingluck government, an agreement was made between P-Move and the governments for villagers to continue living in the land until all problems are solved.
Due to delay in the effort to solve the problem of the Southern Peasants’ Federation of Thailand, four members of the Southern Peasants’ Federation of Thailand have already been killed and no one has been brought to justice. The government even threatened to evict the villagers from the land. Meanwhile, the Agricultural Land Reform Office has failed to force the company out of the land (Is it because they are rich people?). Where is justice? Despite being those who started the initiative for the state to successfully reclaim the land, seven years have passed and three governments, yet the poor are still left landless.
To learn more about the Klong Sai-Pattana community, click here.
To learn more about the activities of PI’s Protection Desk in Thailand, click here.