Updated: Primitive accumulation

18 02 2015

The following is a letter to The Dictator regarding the assassination of activist Chai Bunthonglek. It is noteworthy that, under the military dictatorship, there has been an increase in these kinds of attack on activists in rural areas. State authorities have also been active in promoting the interests capitalists against people, including sending troops and police to quieten villagers to allow mining and oil companies to operate:

Office of the Permanent Secretary, Prime Minister Office
Government House, 1 Pissanulok Road
Dusit, Bangkok 10300, Thailand

Subject: Murder of Mr. Chai Bunthonglek in Klong Sai Pattana, Suranthhani Province, Thailand

His Excellency General Prayuth Cha-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand

We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn about the killing of Mr. Chai Bunthonglek, a land rights activist and member of the Southern Peasant Federation of Thailand. Mr. Chai was shot on 11 th February 2014 [Update: 2015] at 6 p.m. by gunmen riding on a motorbike. This is the fourth assassination of a land rights activist from Klong Sai Pattana village, Chaiburi District Surathhani Province in the past five years. Ms. Montha Chukaew, Ms. Pranee Boonrat and Ms. Somporn Pattaphum were also killed by gunmen and the perpetrators have not yet been arrested.

The community members of Khong Sai Pattana continue to be threatened with forced evictions and violence by armed personnel closely linked the Jew Kung Juy Development Company, despite the fact that they won court cases in the Court of First Instance and the Court of Appeals against the Company. Although these victories affirm the legal rights of community members to their lands, the company continues to occupy these lands while the case is pending in the High Court.

Since the declaration of martial law in May, 2014, we have witnessed an escalation and expansion of human rights violations in Thailand. In both, rural and urban areas, local communities are becoming economically and politically marginalized and vulnerable because of land grabbing, forced evictions and restricted access to forest areas, which threaten their fundamental rights to life and dignity.

We fully extend our solidarity and support to the local communities defending their rights and especially to the Southern Peasant’s Federation of Thailand. We urge the Government of Thailand to immediately take the following actions:

1. Investigate, identify and arrest the gunmen and their accomplices responsible for the assassination of Mr. Chai, Ms. Montha Chukaew, Ms. Pranee Boonrat and Ms. Somporn Pattaphum in Chaiburi District, Suratthani Province and in Khaopranom District, Krabi Province.

2. Ensure that the Agricultural Land Reform Office transfers the disputed lands to the community members of Khlong Sai Pattana in the form of a community land deed as ordered by the Court of Appeals.

3. Ensure that the families of the deceased receive the reparations and compensations enshrined in Thai law.

We also urge the Government of Thailand to initiate and implement structural remedies to ensure peace and democracy in the country without delay. A crucial component to this is creating a climate of transparency and justice by repealing martial law and returning political power to a civilian government.

We are hopeful that the government of Thailand will take immediate action to bring justice and peace in both the short and long term for the collective benefit of its citizens and nation.

Yours sincerely,

Individual

Mr. Lamphong Khanthalivanh
Peter Rosset, Center for the Study of Rural change in Mexico, Mexico
Walden Bello, Focus on the Global South, Philippines

Brazil
Rede Social DeJutice e Direitos Humanos

Cambodia
Cambodia Indigenous Youth Association
Equitable Cambodia
Land Research Action Network
Social Action for Change
Worker’s Information Center

China
Green Watershed

Indonesia
Serikat Petani Indonesia

Myanmar
Karen Environmental and Social Action Network
Paung Ku
Dawei Development Association
Tarkapaw – Karen Youth Group
Candle Light
Dawei Research Association
Dawei Lawyer Group
Dawei Youth Fellowship
Community Sustainable livelihood and Development Committee – Kamothwe,Dawei
88 Generation (Peace and Open Society) – Dawei
88 Generation (Peace and Open Society) Myeik
University Student Union (Dawei District)
Dawei Farmer Union (Dawei District)
Human Rights Watch – Dawei
Tavoyan Women Union
Tavoy Youth OrganizationDawei Watch Foundation
Farmer Union (Myeik District)
Youth Doctors Network
Southern Youth – Tanintharyi
University Student Union (Myeik District)
Myeik Youth
Our Future Initiative
Myeik Health Network
NNER Myeik Network
Anti Coal Group (Myeik Region)
Dawei Nationalities Party (Central)

Netherlands
Both ENDs

Philippines
NGO Forum on ADB
Katarungan

Thailand
Altsean-Burma
Assembly of the poor
Northern Peasant Federation
Northern Development Foundation

United States
American Jewish World Service
EarthRights International

Regional organization
Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development
Focus on the Global South

International organization
Civil Rights Defenders
GRAIN International
Transnational InstituteInternational Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
World Organization against Torture, (OMCT) within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders


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4 responses

3 03 2015
Farmers, democracy and primitive accumulation | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Readers will have noticed the attacks on southern farmers in recent times, including, some say, four assassinations between 2010 and 2015, with the latest death being Chai Bunthonglek. […]

3 03 2015
Farmers, democracy and primitive accumulation | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] Readers will have noticed the attacks on southern farmers in recent times, including, some say, four assassinations between 2010 and 2015, with the latest death being Chai Bunthonglek. […]

16 05 2015
More on the military and primitive accumulation | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] that seek to protect land and resources from those who control wealth in Thailand (here, here, here and […]

16 05 2015
More on the military and primitive accumulation | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] that seek to protect land and resources from those who control wealth in Thailand (here, here, here and […]




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