The Khon Rak Ban Kerd Group (KRBKG) a women’s group for the protection of community rights from Loei’s mining operations who has peacefully protested against dangerous mining practices have been awarded the Women’s Human Rights Defenders Honorary Certificate by the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand (NHRCT). From Protection International we would like to congratulate Khon Rak Kerd, partners of Protection International Thailand, on receiving this honour.
KRBKG is a grassroots movement established in 2007, with women from six communities surrounding the gold mine in Wangsapung District in Loei Province, Thailand, one of their campaigns has been to block mining operations which could endanger the local environment. The Tungkum Ltd. mining company has brought civil and criminal charges against KRBKG members, including a criminal defamation complaint against a 15-year old schoolgirl. “Even though we are facing legal threats, we won’t give up our fight. We need to protect our community for our children and grandchildren,” Ranong Kongsang, a member of the Loei group, said.
Also honoured by the NHRCT were Ms Phinnapha Phrueksaphan, who made the news when she sought justice for the disappearance her ethnic-Karen environmental activist husband and Ms Achara Ashayagachat, senior reporter at the Bangkok Post, who shed light on human rights abuses in South-east Asia and the women-led organizations, the Ying Soo Cheewit (“Live Our Lives”) Group comprised of human trafficking survivors.
According to Fortify Rights, these awards highlight “the important and challenging role human rights defenders play in bringing much-needed attention to critical human rights problems in Thailand.”
“Human rights defenders deserved not just recognition but also protection” said NHRC commissioner Angkhana Neelapaijit during the award ceremony as reported by The Nation.
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Source: press release from Fortify Rights and The Nation