Brussels, 1 July 2019

 

In response to the unjust prosecution of 14 land and human rights defenders in Thailand, Protection International, alongside 225 international Civil Society Organisations, has signed the following statement:

 

Available in English and Thai

 

Human Rights Organisations Urge Thai Government to Drop All Charges Against Women Land and Human Rights Defenders in Ban Sapwai community 

 

We, the undersigned organisations, express our concerns on the Appeals Court decisions in the ongoing cases against women land and human rights defenders from Ban Sapwai, Chaiyaphum, northeastern Thailand.[1] The decisions saw 14 peasants being punished for violating the relevant forest bills[2] despite their rights to community land use should be protected  under the Thai constitution and the NCPO order 66/2014.  

There are currently 14 land and human rights defenders from Ban Sapwai community in Chaiyaphum province who were prosecuted and facing disproportionate terms of imprisonment and fines exceeding one million Thai Baht (approximately USD 32,300). These charges are in direct contradiction to their pending cases before the Office of the Prime Minister where a task force has been set up to review their rights for community land use.

On 18 June, the Appeals Court  reaffirmed the decision of the first court to uphold a four year imprisonment sentence for a cassava peasant Sakol Prakij, and increased the damage compensation fee from 900,000 Thai Baht (USD 29,072) to 1,587,211 Thai Baht (USD 52,270). A week earlier, it also upheld imprisonment sentences for the three women peasants and doubled and tripled the damage compensation fee for two of those defendants.[2] On 4 June 2019, the court also sentenced a 61-year-old woman to a five-month imprisonment and imposed a damage compensation fee of 150,000 Thai Baht (USD 4,845) for similar charges. 

Similarly, last month on 15 May 2019 and 5 June 2019, the Appeals Court reaffirmed Chaiyaphum provincial court’s decision[3] which sentenced Nittaya Maungklang, a leading women land rights activist from Ban Sapwai community, in two cases to a 12 months imprisonment and 190,000 Thai Baht (6,137 USD)  damage compensation fee.[4] 

It is concerning that the women land and human rights defenders  from farming communities are being criminalised for utilising less than one hectare of land to advance government’s climate change policies, while these forest lands are being given away to coal mining companies and expansion of special economic zones.[5]  Clearly these policies work against the Ban Sapwai and many other communities; and are ‘false solutions’ incapable of addressing urgent climate crisis. As communities continue to be displaced, land and human rights defenders fight harder to assert their right to land and livelihood. The Ban Sapwai is a community of estimatedly 9,000 families to be evicted due to Thai junta’s NCPO Order 64/2014, 66/2014 and the Forest Master Plan.[6]

We believe that climate solutions and natural resource management must strive to uphold human rights, ecological justice and ensure peoples’ democratic participation. It must put the livelihoods of the communities at the center and strive to achieve an ecological balance that sustains the forests in harmony with the traditional communities living there. The government must put Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) as a fundamental condition for creating and executing any government policy.

Recently, Thailand has been elected as a member of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for a two year term from 2020-2022, therefore it must uphold a higher standard of state obligations. However, the Thai Government has not yet implemented the recommendations of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and in its last Universal Periodic Review where recommendations were made for the Thai government to take all necessary measures to reduce poverty, paying special attention to disadvantaged and marginalised individuals and groups including women, children, older persons and people living in rural areas. 

We join the human rights community in urging the Thai Government to fulfil its human rights obligations for its people in general and the Ban Sapwai community in particular. The Government of Thailand must demonstrate its human rights commitments with the following actions:

  1. Scrap the Forest Master Plan, NCPO Order 64/2014 and similar NCPO orders that fail to protect the people and communities’ interest, rights and sovereignty;
  2. Ensure that any policy development adheres to international human rights standards and obligations protecting  peoples’ right to land, life, development, livelihood, access to resources and justice; 
  3. Ensure that people’s sovereignty is respected through affirming Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) in all stages of policy development and implementation;
  4. Drop all charges against 14 land and human rights defenders from Ban Sapwai and cease all other judicial harassment against WHRDs in Thailand; 
  5. Ensure that the 14 land and human rights defenders under trial have immediate access to the Justice Fund that provides the financial means necessary for the defendants’ legal processes including bail and uphold the defendants’ rights to bail; 
  6. Conduct prompt and independent investigations on attacks against land and human rights defenders;
  7. Recognise the important role of women land and human rights defenders in protecting human rights, communities and the planet, and provide support and protection for their work according to international human rights standards;
  8. Cease all forms of  judicial harassment, attacks,  criminalisation and campaigns against women land and human rights defenders;
  9. Fulfill the Thai government’s international human rights obligations, particularly the UN General Assembly Resolution on Human Rights Defenders, CEDAW General Recommendations Nos. 33 and 34, the recommendations of ICCPR   and UPR on human rights defenders, land and rural women’s rights. 

 

For more information please contact

Suluck Lamubol 

fai [at] apwld.org (fai(at)apwld.org)

Pranom Somwong

psomwong [at] protectioninternational.org (psomwong(at)protectioninternational.org  )

Footnotes

[1] The most recent trial is on 25 June 2019, where the Appeals Court reaffirmed the sentence on Thongpum Muangklang (Nittaya’s mother) for 8-month imprisonment and damage compensation fee of 100,000 baht (USD 3,260), Wanchai Arphonkaew for 6-month imprisonment with 860,395 baht (USD 28,050) damage compensation fee, and Samorn Somjit received probation with 366,663 (USD 11,957) baht damage compensation fee.

[2] In August 2018, 14 peasants who are land and human rights defenders from the Ban Sapwai community in Chaiyaphum, were found guilty by Chaiyaphum Provincial Court for violating the Forest Act, B.E. 2484 (1941), the National Reserved Forest Act, B.E. 2507 (1964), and the National Park Act, B.E. 2504 (1961). 

[3]  Supaporn Srisuk, elder sister of Nittaya Muangklang, received a jail term of five months and ten days, and an increased damage compensation fee from 190,000 baht to 380,000 baht. Sunee Narin, a 74-year-old woman received a jail term of five months and ten days, and increased damage compensation fee from 150,000 baht to 439,027 baht. Pattama Komet received an eight months imprisonment sentence and her damage compensation fee was reduced from 250,000 baht to 200,000 baht. 

[4] https://apwld.org/statement-human-rights-groups-urge-thai-government-to-release-nittaya-muangklang-women-human-rights-defenders-working-on-land-rights-issues/

[5]  https://prachatai.com/journal/2019/03/81398

[6] https://themomentum.co/reforestation-authoritarianism/

 

 

List of Signatories

Organisations:

  1. เครือข่าย We Fair เครือข่ายรัฐสวัสดิการ เพื่อความเท่าเทียมและเป็นธรรม -Thailand
  2. ที่ปรึกษาจัดตั้งแรงงานข้ามชาติ มูลนิธิเพื่อสิทธิเพื่อการพัฒนา -Thailand
  3. ภาควิชาสตรีศึกษา คณะสังคมศาสตร์  -Thailand
  4.  มูลนิธิชุมชนท้องถิ่นพัฒนา -Thailand
  5.  มูลนิธิพัฒนาภาคเหนือ(มพน.) -Thailand
  6. มูลนิธิเอ็มพาวเวอร์ -Thailand
  7. ศูนย์เผยแพร่และส่งเสริมงานพัฒนา (ผสพ.) -Thailand
  8.  สถาบันสร้างเสริมการจัดการทรัพยากรชุมชน -Thailand
  9.  สหกรณ์เกษตรอินทรีย์ จำกัด -Thailand
  10.  เอ็มพาวเวอร์ – Thailand
  11. Rainbow Dream Group จ.เชียงใหม่  – Thailand
  12. Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) Thailand 
  13. Community Resource Centre (CRC) – Thailand
  14. Focus on the Global South – Thailand
  15. Green South Foundation – Thailand
  16. International Accountability Project – Thailand
  17. Manushya Foundation – Thailand
  18. Protection International (PI) – Thailand
  19. Shan Women’s Action Network – Thailand
  20. Sustainable Development Foundation – Thailand
  21. WeMove – Thailand
  22. Women’s Studies Center – Thailand
  23. Network of Indigenous Peoples in Thailand (NIPT) – Thailand
  24. ACLU – United States
  25. Adivasi Navjeewan Gathan Navjyoti Agua(ANGNA) – India
  26. Adivasi Women’s Network India
  27. African Coalition on Green Growth Uganda
  28. AFT United States
  29. Aksi! for gender, social and ecological justice Indonesia
  30. Alliance for Future Generations – Fiji
  31. ALTSEAN – Myanmar
  32. API Kartini –  Indonesia
  33.  Arab watch coalition – MENA
  34. Asia Dalit Rights Forum  Nepal 
  35. Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development
  36. Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants – Hong Kong
  37. Association For Promotion on Sustainable development – India
  38. Association for the Rights of Children in Southeast Asia (ARCSEA) – Philippines
  39. Aube Nouvelle pour la Femme et le Développement (ANFD) – DR.Congo
  40. Awaj Foundation – Bangladesh
  41. AwazCDS – Pakistan
  42. Bangladesh Indigenous Women’s Network – Bangladesh
  43. Beyond Beijing Committee – Nepal
  44. BirthStrike – United Kingdom
  45. Borok Peoples’ Human Rights Organisation (BPHRO)
  46. BPW – Nepal 
  47. BPW Sao Paulo – Brazil 
  48. Breaklight Counseling – United States
  49. Bridges across borders – Estados Unidos
  50. Business and Professional Women – United Kingdom
  51. Cambodian Youth Network (CYN) – Cambodia
  52. Camino Común Solidarity International – United States
  53. Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC) – United Kingdom 
  54. Carbone Guinée – Guinea
  55.  Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) – United States
  56. Center for Sustainable Community Development (SCODE) – Vietnam
  57. Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) – Philippines
  58. Center for Women’s Resources – Philippines
  59. Centre for Sustainable Development in mountainous areas – Vietnam
  60. Civic Union Public Association – Kyrgyz Republic
  61. CLEAN (Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network) – Bangladesh
  62. Coalition of Services of the Elderly, Inc. – Philippines 
  63. Community Alliance for Global Justice – United States
  64. Community Care for Emergency Response and Rehabilitation- Bangladesh
  65. CNS and Asha Parivar – India
  66. Coalition of Services of the Elderly, Inc. – Philippines
  67. Community Alliance for Global Justice – United States
  68. Community Care for Emergency Response and Rehabilitation – Myanmar
  69. Community Science Centre, Vadodara – India
  70. Community volunteer – Cambodia
  71. Cordillera Women’s Education Action Research Center (CWEARC) – Philippines
  72. Corner House – United Kingdom
  73. Cross Roads – United States
  74. Decolonising Our Minds – United Kingdom
  75. DPAC – United Kingdom
  76. Dristi Nepal – NEPAL
  77. EarthRights International – United States
  78. Education as a Vaccine – Nigeria
  79. Emmaus International Trust – Zimbabwe
  80. EMPOWER INDIA – India
  81. Extinction Rebellion – UK
  82. Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre  – Fiji
  83. FOKUS-Forum for Women and Development – Norway
  84. Football Against Apartheid – United kingdom
  85. FOREM – Kenya
  86. Forest Peoples Programme – United Kingdom
  87. FOUNDATION FOR WOMEN – THAILAND
  88. FRIDA the Young Feminist Fund – Global
  89. Friends with Environment in Development (FED) – Uganda
  90. Fuel Poverty Action – United Kingdom
  91. Gatef organization – Egypt
  92. Gender Academy – Myanmar
  93. Gender and Development for Cambodia (GADC) – Cambodia
  94. Global Women’s Strike – United States
  95. Global Women’s Strike – United Kingdom
  96. Gram Bharati Samiti (GBS) – India
  97. Granny Peace Brigade – United States
  98. Green Advocates International (Liberia) – Liberia
  99. Green Party – United Kingdom
  100. Grupo de Educación Popular con Mujeres, A.C. – Mexico
  101. Guyana Book Foundation – Guyana
  102. Haiti Action Committee – USA
  103. Hands Off Our Homes Leeds – United Kingdom
  104. IDEA – Cambodia
  105. Indonesia Women’s Coalition – Indonesia
  106. Innabuyog – Philippines
  107. International Federation of Business and Professional Women – Switzerland
  108. International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific – Malaysia
  109. IWGIA – Denmark
  110. JAGO NARI  – Bangladesh
  111. Jamaa Resource Initiatives – Kenya
  112. Judith Trust – United Kingdom
  113. Karapatan – Philippines
  114. Kashmir Women’s collective – India
  115. Kelompok Studi dan Pengembangan Prakarsa Masyarakat (KSPPM) – Indonesia
  116. Khpal Kore Organization – Pakistan
  117. Ladlad Caraga Incorporated – Philippines
  118. LAGAI — Queer Insurrection –  United States
  119. Lancaster Chapel – United States
  120. Left Unity – United Kingdom
  121. Legal Action for Women – United Kingdom
  122. Love Alive – United States
  123. LVC – United Kingdom
  124. Malaysians Against Death Penalty & Torture (MADPET) – Malaysia
  125. Manabadhikar  Shangskriti Foundation (MSF) – Bangladesh
  126. MARUAH – Singapore
  127. Murna foundation – Nigeria
  128. National Alliance of Women Human Rights Defenders (NAWHRD) – Nepal
  129. National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights – India
  130. National Fisheries Solidarity Movement – Sri Lanka
  131. NATIONAL FORUM OF WOMEN WITH DISABILITIES – Pakistan
  132. National Health Service – United Kingdom
  133. National Indigenous Disabled Women Association Nepal (NIDWAN) – Nepal
  134. National Indigenous Women Forum – Nepal
  135. National Indigenous Women’s Federation (NIWF) – Nepal
  136. National Network of Young Indigenous Women – Nepal
  137. Nepal Disabled Women Association  Nepal
  138. NGO “Otifa”- Tajikistan
  139. NGO Forum on ADB – Philippines
  140. NIjera Kori  – Bangladesh
  141. North-East Affected Area Development Society (NEADS) – India
  142. Northern Forests  Defense / İstanbul Urban Defence – Turkey
  143. Not1More – United States
  144. NQBSS Livestock Breeders – Zimbabwe
  145. NUPL  – Philippines
  146. Offside Books – United Kingdom
  147. Organized Centre for Empowerment and Advocacy in Nigeria(OCEAN) – Nigeria
  148. OT Watch – Mongolia
  149. OWRPO PU – Azerbaijan
  150. PA Women’s organisation Alga – Kyrgyzstan
  151. Pakistan Fisher Folk Forum – Pakistan
  152. Palangkaraya Ecological and Human Rights Studies (PROGRESS) – Indonesia
  153. PANG – Fiji
  154. Pas d’organisation – Sénégal
  155. Payday men’s network- United States
  156. Payday men’s network / Refusing to Kill Initiative – United Kingdom
  157. Peace in Kurdistan Campaign – United Kingdom
  158. PEREMPUAN AMAN – Indonesia
  159. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER) – Malaysia
  160. Philippine Task Force for Indigenous Peoples Rights (TFIP) – Philippines
  161. Physicians for Social Responsibility Philadelphia – United States
  162. Plateforme Femmes, Développement Durable et Sécurité Alimentaire – Comores
  163. Poor People’s Campaign – United States 
  164. Psychological Responsiveness NGO – Mongolia
  165. Public Foundation “Development of Civil Society”- Kazakhstan
  166. Radha Paudel Foundation – Nepal
  167. RADP  – Nepal
  168. Raging Grannies & Women in Media & Entertainment – Ireland
  169. Rainforest Action Network – United States
  170. Ranao Women and Children Resource Center, Inc. (RWCRC)   – Philippines
  171. Rapad Maroc – Morocco
  172. Reclaim the Power – United Kingdom
  173. Red Thread – Guyana
  174. Redgreen Labour – United Kingdom
  175. Regional Center for International Development Corporation (RCIDC) – Uganda
  176. Regions Refocus – United States
  177. REPEM – Colombia
  178. RITES Forum – India
  179. Roots for Equity – PAKISTAN
  180. Roshni Tariqiyati Tanzeem Ghotki – Pakistan
  181. Rutgers University – USA
  182. Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia – United States
  183. Shelter Participatory Organization (SPO)  – Pakistan
  184. SILAKA – CAMBODIA
  185. Single Mothers’ Self-Defence – United Kingdom
  186. Socialist resistance – United Kingdom
  187. Society for Rural Education and Development.  – India.
  188. South Central Farm Restoration Committee  – United States
  189. Southern Africa Climate Change Coalition – Botswana
  190. Special Talent Exchange Program – Pakistan
  191. SRS Livestock Development Foundation – Zimbabwe
  192. Stuttgart – Australia
  193. Success Capital Organisation – Botswana
  194. Tarangini Foundation – Nepal
  195. The Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) – Mexico
  196. The Federation of Business and Professional Women New Zealand – New Zealand
  197. The Men’s Resource Center – United States
  198. Topanga Peace Alliance; MLK Coalition of Greater Los Angeles – United States
  199. UNITE – United Kingdom
  200. Vision GRAM-INTERNATIONAL – Canada
  201. Volunteer Action for Peace – United Kingdom
  202. WALHI (THE INDONESIAN FORUM FOR ENVIRONMENT) – Indonesia
  203. WALHI Jatim – Indonesia
  204. War Against Rape (WAR) – Pakistan
  205. We Women Lanka – Sri Lanka
  206. WeGovern Institute – Philippines
  207. WILPF – United States
  208. WINS   – India
  209. Winvisible  – United Kingdom
  210. Witnessradio.org – Uganda
  211. Women Educators Association of Nigeria – Nigeria
  212. Women for Justice and Peace in Sri Lanka – United Kingdom
  213. Women Forum For Women In Nepal (WOFOWON) – Nepal
  214. Women Network for Energy and Environment(WoNEE) – Nepal
  215. Women of Colour Global Women’s Strike – United Kingdom
  216. Women of Courage Program of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) – Philippines
  217. Women Working Group ( WWG) – Indonesia
  218. Women’s Fund Asia – Nepal
  219. Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights – Philippines
  220. Women’s Global Strike – United Kingdom
  221. Women’s Major Group – United States
  222. WRM   – Uruguay
  223. Yayasan Perlindungan Insani Indonesia – Indonesia
  224. Youth For Environment Education And Development Foundation (YFEED Foundation) – Nepal
  225. Zimbabwe Climate Change Coalition – Zimbabwe
  226. Zimbabwe Women’s Bureau – Zimbabwe

Individuals

  1. Chann Somnang – Cambodia
  2. Sunita Kotnala – India
  3. Govind kelkar – India
  4. Miguel Lopes – Portugal
  5. Ogo – Portugal
  6. Diana Riddle – United States
  7. Dr Janna Graham – United Kingdom
  8. Nicole Rinier – United States 
  9. Elizabeth Thipphawong – Lao PDR
  10. J. Billy – United Kingdom
  11. Rowan Mace – United Kingdom
  12. Sophia Vassilakidis – United States
  13. Barbara Rath – United States
  14. Shiyani Douglas – Sri Lanka
  15. Maggie Ronayne – Ireland
  16. Martha-Luise Scholz – United Kingdom
  17. Emily Burnham – United Kingdom
  18. Nicolette king – United Kingdom
  19. Jacey Turner – Wales
  20. Jane Belli – United Kingdom
  21. Paul Barbara – United Kingdom
  22. Fran Brackley – United Kingdom
  23. Maria Marasigan – United States 
  24. Paul Gouge – United Kingdom
  25. Anne Turner – Wales
  26. Dominique Simpson – United Kingdom
  27. Heath Key – United Kingdom
  28. Iam lewis – United States
  29. Naomi – United Kingdom
  30. Shauna Gundersom – United States
  31. Stephanie mathivet – United Kingdom
  32. Umut Erel – United Kingdom
  33. Joan Landes – United States
  34. Jacqueline Mulhallen – United Kingdom
  35. Juliette de la Mer – Ireland
  36. Dr. Nancy Holmstorm – United States
  37. Mo Manklang – United States
  38. Nora Roman – United States
  39. Alicia Logan – United Kingdom
  40. Prof. Felix Padel – United Kingdom
  41. Bridget Anderson – United Kingdom 
  42. Alice Rossetti – United Kingdom
  43. Marie Joyce Godio – Philippines
  44. Anang – Philippines 
  45. Ava Farrington – Ireland 
  46. Georgia Anderson – United Kingdom
  47. Rita Addessa – United States
  48. Carla willard – United States
  49. Natalie Bennett – United Kingdom
  50. Martha-Luise Scholz – United Kingdom