Activist organizes rally for landless despite martial law

 

Activists and landless villagers on Tuesday rallied to pressure the junta to stop land encroachment and evictions.

On Tuesday, despite the fact that martial law is still in place, Four Regions Slum Network (FRSN) and People's Movement for a Just Society (P-Move) organized a rally in front of the UN Building in Bangkok on World Habitat Day and planned to move to Government House to submit a petition to the junta, although the military forbade the rally to move to Government House.

The rally was organized to publicize land encroachment issues that have affected many landless peasants in the south, north, and northeast of the country after the junta’s Announcements 64/2557 and 66/2557 which ordered an increase in national forests to 40 per cents of the country’s total area.

Although Act 66/2557 stipulates that the government is obligated to allow landless farmers to cultivate vacant land, many people have been evicted from their homes and have had their lands without title deeds confiscated by the authorities.

The rally of Four Regions Slum Network and People's Movement for a Just Society in front of the UN Office

The petition of FRSN and P-Move contains the following demands:

1. The government should provide financial support for temporary homes for landless people.

2. Land ownership should be redistributed equally and the government should issue laws to enable communities to manage the resources of the land. This should also apply to conservation areas.

3. A Justice Fund should be provided to allow the poor to access the justice system.

FRSN and P-Move submitted the petition to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security and to the UN. Relevant public officials promised the activists that the committee comprise of village representatives and public officials will be set up to investigate and find resolution on the matter. However, no clear timeframe is set.  

 

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