Mr. Chai Bunthonglek of Klong Sai Pattana community was shot and killed today. He is the 4th member of The Southern Peasant Federation of Thailand(SPFT) who have been killed because of their struggle for community rights to land.
At about 6.30pm today(11/2/2015), Mr. Chai, aged 61, of 103, Moo 2 Thaithong Sub-district, Chaiburi district , Surathhani province was shot dead. Six 357 Magnum bullets were used. The witness said that the gunman was came riding a red and black coloured Honda 100 cc Motorbike.
The human rights defenders and other members of the Klong Sai Pattana community in Surat Thani province have been involved in a struggle for community land rights with a palm oil company. In this long struggle, the people have been intimidated, threatened with eviction from their homes and villages, and even killed.
In 2012, Ms. Montha Chukaew and Ms. Pranee Boonrat, two women human rights defenders were killed. They were members of the Southern Peasants' Federation of Thailand (SPFT). On the morning of Nov 19, 2012, they were fatally shot by unknown individuals not far from their village of Khlong Sai Pattana, in Surat Thani province.
In 2010, human rights defender Ms. Somporn Pattaphum, a SPFT member, was also shot dead in the area.
At present, the villagers of Khlong Sai Pattana are facing a constant threat of killing and forced eviction from the land, for which they have a legal right to occupy. They are under threat from both the private company and even members of the state security forces.
We call for justice and demand that the murder of Chai Bunthonglek be immediately investigated and the perpetrator/s be brought to justice.
We reiterate our call to all stakeholder and duty bearers including the state security forces in Thailand to utilize all powers and take all necessary steps to put an end to the harassment and killing of the members of the Klong Sai Pattana community and all members of Southern Peasants'
Federation of Thailand (SPFT), and that necessary action be taken to protect their rights.
Further, this recent shooting and killing of 61 year old Chai Bunthonglek demonstrates the increasing need for the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand to immediately take urgent action to raise awareness and protect the rights of members of communities residing on land, that are subject to disputes all across Thailand.
We urge all those concerned with human rights to be on alert constantly monitoring the human rights situation and on-going crisis in Thailand following the coup.
Backgroud information : Go to http://www.humanrights.asia/