Urgent Appeal: Death threats and impunity against the Southern

Urgent Appeal: Death threats and impunity against the Southern Peasants Federation of Thailand
Despite a legal judgement in favour of the Agricultural Land Reform Office five months ago, ordering
the Jiew Kang Jue Pattana Co. Ltd. to vacate the land it is illegally occupying, no action has been
taken on the ground. Furthermore, there remains little progress in the Police investigation into Mr.
Chai murder case. Yet, following the murder of Mr. Chai on the 11th February 2015, the SPFT has
received information that other SPFT members, especially leading members, would also be killed. On
Wednesday 25th March 2015, 16:00, two SPFT members were travelling out of Khlong Sai Pattana
Community, Chaiburi District, Surat Thani Province. Two cars, one in front of them and one behind
them, stopped the SPFT members’ car. An unidentified man stepped out of the front car and
approached the SPFT members’ car to look inside. The man then turned to address his colleagues in
the two cars, saying, “It isn’t the person we are looking for.” The two cars moved out of the way and
the SPFT members were free to pursue their journey. The SPFT members who analysed the incident
believe that their car was stopped because this SPFT members’ car is very similar in colour (greenish)
and shape (two door pick-up 4x4) to Mr. Pratheep Rakhanthong car. Mr. Pratheep is a member of
the SPFT Management Committee and resident in the Khlong Sai Pattana Community. According to
the SPFT, the prominent Khlong Sai Community members who are under most risk because of their
leadership role in the organisation are Mr. Pratheep, Mr. Supot Kansong and Mr. Theeranet
On 17th March 2015 Channel TV11 journalists, accompanied by the local Army division, visited a
community residing outside but close to Perm Sap Community, yet falsely claiming they are the
Perm Sap Community. Yet, the broadcast of this visit contains no interviews with any communitymembers, as well as it shows photographs of people who don’t reside in this community that was
filmed. One of the pictures is that of Mr. Pianrat Bunrit, who is a leader of the SPFT member. The
SPFT has not been given any national TV coverage since this Channel TV11 report, for them to
respond to the claims made by Channel TV11 journalists and Army officers in the clip.
Furthermore, the SPFT recently received information that the Provincial Army plans to call for
meeting regarding the dispute between Perm Sap Community and Thai Boonthong Co.
on Wednesday 1st April 2015. However, SPFT’s position remains that matters regarding land disputes
in Surat Thani’s agricultural land reform areas should be discussed and addressed by the Committee
to Address Problems Raised by the People Movement For a Just Society (P-move), no. 1/2015. This
committee was set up on 23rd January 2015 by Office of the Permanent Secretary of the Office of the
Prime Minister, and it is officially tasked with settling land disputes and distributing community land
titles to people living in agricultural land reform areas in Surat Thani.
SPFT members, and especially leaders under explicit death threats, are living under constant fear.
Moreover, The lack of effective investigation into attacks faced by member of SPFT and the
prevailing impunity in the country only enables further attacks on community based HRDs. This
situation of constant intimidation makes it near to impossible for community based Human Rights
Defenders – SPFT leaders – to pursue their work of advocating community rights and securing
community land title deeds.
Protection International calls on Human Rights actors in Thailand to urge the Thai authorities to:
1. Persuade the Krabi Provincial Court to immediately release an order the Legal Execution
Department to implement the decision in the judgement against the Jiew Kang Jue Pattana Co. Ltd.,
in a dispute with Khlong Sai Pattana Community. This action requires the company to return the land
to the governmental Agricultural Land Reform Office (ARLO), who is the rightful owner of the land
according to Supreme Court’s judgement on 11th November 2014. The ARLO should urgently
embark the process of land redistribution based on collective ownership managed by the
2. Demand that the Ministry of Justice, Rights and Liberty Department, extend their protection
mandate to provide immediate and sufficient protection to community-based HRDS. The Rights and
Liberty Department should take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological
integrity and security of Mr. Pratheep, Mr. Theeranet, Mr. Supot, Mr. Pianrat, and all SPFT members,
their families, as well as other community activists.
3. Insist that the Committee to Address Problems Raised by the People Movement For a Just Society
(P-move), no. 1/2015 at the Office of the Permanent Secretary of the Office of the Prime Minister,
actively address the needs of the people living in agricultural land reform areas in Surat Thani. Such
actions include, coordinating all concerned actors to suspend any activities that may cause further
conflicts or may disrupt the livelihoods of SPFT members, and halting all efforts to evict the people
should be immediately stopped.
4. Reiterate to the Thai government, its obligation to ensure a conducive and protective legal
environment for Human Rights Defenders, to promptly and effectively investigate all threats and
attacks against them, and to hold both State and non-State perpetrators accountable for their
Please inform us of any action taken on this case.
Ms. Pranom Somwong (Bee) || PI Representative in Thailand || Protection International ||
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +66 831887600 |skype : talktobee1 |