Protection International has been informed that, in the night of 27th October, at the Southern Peasants’ Federation of Thailand (SPFT) member community Khlong Sai Pattana, Chaiburi district, Suratthani province, 40 palm trees have been chopped down and removed from the community area.
The following day, when two community members went to the Chaiburi Police Station to file a police report about the incident – the second of this kind, the Police officer questioned the community members with the intent to intimidate them . The same night, five gunshots were fired in the North-side of the community area.
On 1st November, around 17:30, community members spotted two unidentified men, both wielding guns and , at 19:00, two rounds of gunshots were fired nearby the community area. The following morning, two community members went to the area where palm trees had been replanted, and found out that all 32 palm trees were been chopped up and removed.
These symbolic threats to the safety of the community members are happening concurrently the Agricultural Land Reform Office attempts to forcibly evict the community, through a highly-criticised and illegitimate Execution process. Most recently, on 15th October, the Khlong Sai Pattana community received a letter from the Legal Execution Office stating that they would pursue the legal execution of the eviction against the community, if the community doesn’t apply for special rights in Court.
Over the past five years, four members of Khlong Sai Pattana have been murdered, shot in the community area, and community members have been living under constant threat of eviction and in an environment of impunity, which makes any security concerns all the more worrying. These recent, escalating, incidents are direct threats to the security of Khlong Sai Pattana community members and the leaders of the SPFT.
In light of these concerning developments, PI calls the international community to:
•Contact the Governor of Suratthani and the Provincial Chief of Police to inform the Provincial authorities of the escalating risk and threat situation affecting Khlong Sai Pattana community;
•Ensure the Provincial Chief of Police organises constant Police patrols in the area surrounding Khlong Sai Pattana community, working closely with the Khlong Sai Pattana community’s Security Committee to implement effective protection measures;
•Contact the Chaiburi District Police station to urge them to investigate the incidents of the gunfire shots around the community, the destruction and removal of community palm trees, and the murders of Khlong Sai Pattana community members;
•In light of the continued communications by UN Special Rapporteurs to the Thai government, including the Royal Thai Police, on the risk and threat situations facing Khlong Sai Pattana and the SPFT Coordinating Committee; call on the Royal Thai Police to immediately set-up a National Taskforce to coordinate and implement protection measures for the Khlong Sai Pattana community, by working with the provincial police and Khlong Sai Pattana community’s Security Committee.
To learn more about the Klong Sai-Pattana community, click here.
To learn more about the activities of PI’s Protection Desk in Thailand, click here.