The Network of People Who Own Mineral Resources issued a statement today (28 April) calling for the authorities to equally impose the Emergecy Decree by halting all mining operation and mine licensing process.
Thailand is currently facing the COVID19 pandemic which sees a continuously high amount of deaths and patients under inspection. This crisis has not only affected the people’s health but also worsened economic and social situation each day. Even though the Prime Minister has declared the Emergency Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situation 2005 (Emergency Decree) to control the spreading of the COVID19 virus, but the declaration of the Emergency Decree without suitable plans has worsened the sufferings of the people significantly. This has resulted in broadening the social and economic problems as the longer the Emergency Decree stays in place, it has made people lost their income, livelihoods, increase inequality and put millions out of jobs. Masses of people have to queue up for food and donations to survive each day.
Regarding the 5,000-baht relief money, millions could not receive the money as it was not provided universally, resulting in many of them committing suicide out of desperation. As of 27 April 2020, there are 38 people who have committed suicide, amount as more than half of those who died from COVID19. Under the Emergency Decree, the government can explicitly limit the rights and liberty of the people as it prohibits public gathering from 26 March to 30 May 2020 to control the COVID19 pandemic.
We, the Network of People Who Own Mineral Resources, who are the people of this country, are directly affected from the mining survey and mining operations in various parts of Thailand, and have been monitoring and holding the government and private sector accountable in implementing the policies. We see that the Emergency Decree limits the rights and liberty of the people who exercise their rights to protect their natural resources and environment of the communities. It also limits the people’s participation in determining directions of development projects that are affecting the community livelihoods, natural resources and environment, as they could not exercise their rights and freedom of expression regarding development projects including mining operations, as they should in the constitution and relevant laws in normal situation. At the same time, the approval process for mining survey and mining operations still continues as business as usual. Such mining approval and permit process under this situation limits the access of the people in the community, resulting in lack of participation and violations of the people and the communities’ legitimate rights.
Therefore, to enforce the Emergency Decree equally and fairly, the Network of People Who Own Mineral Resources would like to demand the relevant state stakeholders to do as follows:
1. The relevant agencies must hold the approval processes that would lead to granting license of the mining survey and mining operations, until the Emergency Decree is revoked so that the people can exercise their rights and freedom in normal circumstances.
2. In the case of mining operators that were already approved of survey and operations processes, the relevant agencies must issue orders to halt the mining survey and operations to follow Emergency Decree equally and fairly. This is also to prevent any spread of COVID19 from the travels to the communities in the area where the operators are working.
3. In the case where the mining operators currently have conflicts with people in the communities relating to the survey and operations processes, and where complaints have been made, the relevant agencies must order the operators to halt the survey and operations. This is to ensure that the communities would not have risks from infecting COVID19 while still having to struggle to defend natural resources and environment in the community during the limitation of rights and freedom under Emergency Decree.
The Network of People Who Own Mineral Resources
28 April 2020
The Network of People Who Own Mineral Resources comprises of:
1. Khon Rak Ban Koed of 6 villages, case of gold mining, Khao Luang Subdistrict, Wang Sapung District, Loei Province
2. Khao Lao Yai-Pha Jun Dai Community Forest Conservation Group, case of quarry mining, Dong Mafai Subdistrict, Suvarnakhuha District, Nongbualamphu Province
3. Namsab Khampalai Conservation Group, case of licensing request of sandstone quarry mining, Khampalai Subdistrict, Muang District, Mukdahan Province
4. Rak Amphoe Wanonniwat Group, case of exploration drilling in potash mining according to the special license to survey potash in 6 districts, Wanonniwat District, Sakon Nakorn Province
5. Khon Rak Ban Koed Bamnejnarong Group, case of potash mining and permission to build coal power plant for potash mining industry in various subdistricts of Bamnejnarong District, Chaiyaphum Province
6. Rak Ban Haeng Group, case of license request in coal mining, Ban Haeng Subdistrict, Ngao District, Lampang Province