Court orders 31 villagers off their land

After the Forest Industry Organization (FIO) filed a lawsuit against villagers in Bo Kaew, Chaiyaphum, in 2009, the Supreme Court has ordered that the 31 villagers must move off their land before 27 August.

On 27 July, Esaan Land Reform News reported that 50 officers came to the Bo Kaew community to post a writ of execution after the Supreme Court ruled on the charges filed by the FIO against the Bo Kaew villagers, and ordered them to leave the area within 30 days of the ruling, or by 27 August.

The villagers have been living in the area since 1953 and have evidence of paying local taxes. In 1973, the land was declared a national reserved forest. The FOI subsequently requested to use the land for a forestry plantation in 1978, leading to the attempt to evict at least 12 households from the land.

The villagers have been protesting the FOI’s presence in the area ever since. However, the plantation project proceeded and the area became a eucalyptus plantation. The FOI filed an lawsuit to evict the villagers and their advisers in 2009. The Court of First Instance ruled to have the villagers evicted from the plantation area and to remove all structures and anything planted in the area of conflict. The Court also ordered the defendants to pay legal fees of 10,000 baht and not to re-enter the plantation area. In 2010, the villagers filed a case with the Appeal Court, which upheld the Court of First Instance’s ruling. Finally, in 2019, the case went to the Supreme Court, which has ruled to have the villagers evicted from the area.

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