Community based W/HRDs and their anti-mining collective, Rak Ban Haeng Group, submitted an appeal to the Chiang Mai Administrative Court on Friday, 22 May 2020 through their lawyer from Community Resource Centre ( CRC), requesting the court to review additional pending issues in the recent judgement which ruled the actions by Industry Minister and other public officials unconstitutional in granting of concession license to a mining company. The group is represented by lawyers from the Community Resource Centre Foundation.
The group, based in Lampang Province, northern Thailand, and have been organizing their community against lignite mining project for the past ten years, won this recent court case where the court revoked the concession license granted to a mining company. The court views that the processes to grant the concession license is not constitutional as it lack due processes.
The court deemed that since the license to use conservation forest by the mining company was already revoked in a separate case in February 2020, the concession license would also be revoked. However, in the judgement, the court did not decide on other pending issues, including the plaintiff’s request to review the legality of the Environmental Impact Assessment report (EIA report), which was done with a lack of consultation with the locals, according to the group.
Rak Ban Haeng Group views that it is crucial for the Administrative Court to give a ruling on the EIA report, as this step is crucial to set standards and fairness, in providing community the right to determine on matters concerning their natural resources. Rak Ban Haeng Group in an opinion that the EIA Reports did not meet the necessary requirements, for example the lack of genuine public participation in EIA report.
If the EIA report is not reviewed and struck down, it can still be used by the mining company to submit for other concession licenses for other plots which are still in the midst of consideration for approval .
In the past 10 years of the group’s struggle against mining operations in their villages, various forms of intimidation, including close physical surveillance by unidentified men, harassment from military officers, threats of death and enforced disappearance have been made against Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) in Rak Ban Haeng Group.
Protection International, Thailand calls on the state to protect the communities’ rights to defend and care for their livelihood and natural resources. The State must ensure that Corporations especially in extractive industries and public officials are held accountable for their activities and impacts on the people, the communities and the environment. They must also ensure that W/HRDs can defend their human rights without fear of repercussions for their activities.