Suphap Khamlae, wife of disappeared land rights activist Den Khamlae, has been released upon completing a six-month jail sentence for land encroachment. At 65, Ms Suphap, of Khok Yao Village, Khon San District, Chaiyaphum Province, insists that she will continue to fight for the Khok Yao community until justice is achieved.
Military and police officers have prevented journalists from attending a forum on the controversial national park and wildlife protection bills, claiming that their presence could affect the image of the junta.
After a court ruled them guilty of causing global warming, 11 villagers have appealed and pleaded for a court fee exemption. The authorities are increasingly using judicial harassment against local people whose traditional homes overlap with national park areas, says an NGO. On 29 May 2017, villagers from Huai Kontha, Phetchabun province, appealed their case before Lom Sak Provincial Court.
After three years of the junta’s ‘returning happiness’ mission, the country’s poor and ethnic minorities are still suffering from the junta’s ‘return the forest’ policy while the junta opens up more land for investors and cuts environmental regulations for big business.
After years of battle over land rights, an embattled indigenous seafarer community in Phuket has won a lawsuit filed against them by a land development company. On 31 January 2017, the Provincial Court of Phuket read the verdict on a dispute over the 33 rai plot on Rawai Beach of Phuket between an indigenous seafarer community and Baron World Trade Co, a real estate development company.
An appeal court has refused to try the assassination case of a community rights defender killed earlier this year, ruling that the witnesses are unreliable despite being present at the crime scene. On 1 December 2016, the Surat Thani Appeal Court dismissed the assassination case of Chai Bunthonglek, a land rights activist who was killed in February this year, reported the Human Rights Lawyers Association.
The UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia expressed concern about the number of failed prosecutions involving murder cases of land rights activists in the South of Thailand, amid increasing restrictions on rights activists.
The Thai Administrative Court has ruled that national park officers did not break the law in burning the houses of members of the Karen ethnic minority in Kaeng Krachan National Park.
Despite talk from the junta about land reform in the form of a progressive land tax to tackle disparity and increase public revenue, research ironically shows that the Thai military is one of the country’s biggest landowners.
A group of men have threatened indigenous sea nomads in southern Thailand with guns in an attempt to force them off disputed land.