No. Order 64/2014
The Thai military detained a northern activist for holding a symbolic political event to condemn the junta’s forest policy in the northern province of Chiang Mai. Meanwhile, three other activists were detained by police in Bangkok for staging another protest against the junta. At around 5 pm on Saturday the military detained Pruet Odochao, a Karen activist from a group called People’s Group for Northern Reform, for two hours after he participated in a symbolic political activity of lighting candles in front of the Three Kings Monument in central Chiang Mai.
Thai military has ordered the eviction of villagers in Isan accused of trespassing on a public land plot, despite an ongoing settlement process with the local authorities. The Thai military on Thursday ordered the villagers of Bua Daeng Subdistrict in Pathum Rat District of the northeastern province of Roi Et to sign a document stating that they will leave the area by Friday, according to the Land Reform Network of Isan (LRNI), a civil society organization affiliated with the People’s Movement for Just Society (P-Move).
Northeastern NGOs have urged the junta to reconsider the implementation of the Return the Forest policies, stating that they have aggravated serious human rights violations against the poor while the rich are left untouched.
The criminal court has convicted 39 Pakayaw Karen villagers on charges related to illegal logging and forest encroachment and sentenced them to imprisonment and fines. This is believed to be the first large scale prosecution of so-called ‘encroachers’ under the junta’s heavy-handed approach to increase forest coverage.
After the coup d’état in May, the junta promised to return happiness to the Thai people. One of the policies that the junta has announced to deliver on this promise is an order to increase Thailand’s forest cover and tighten measures for land resource protection. Although the policy might seem ecologically sensible to many conservationists, the green-grabbing policy of the junta harms many of Thailand’s marginalised communities.