Thursday, May 12, 2016

Justice for the SPFT Klong Sai Pattana farming community and HR Defenders

Community Human Rights Defenders in Thailand are not just facing threats, but are also being killed and becoming victims of forced disappearance in Thailand. Below is a joint letter send to the government of Thailand.. regarding the plight of the Klong Sai Pattana farming community...

Ambassador Extraordinaire and Plenipotentiary Mr Kittiphong Na Ranong
Royal Thai Embassy
29-30 Queen’s Gate
London SW7 5JB

3 May 2016

 Your Excellency, 

We respectfully write to express our deepest concern for the life, livelihood and rights of members of the Southern Peasant Federation of Thailand (SPFT) who are facing murder and eviction as a result of illegal corporate land grabs. Even women who do the caring and farm work that ensures the survival of the community have been targeted. 

SPFT represents six farming communities. They are demanding their legal right to land in Chaiburi district, Suratthani province, on which they have been living for eight years. They share the land and cultivate communally. 

The land is managed by the Agricultural Land Reform Office (ALRO). Three previous governments agreed that the farmers are entitled to stay on this land. But multinationals are occupying the land illegally and local officials have gone along with this instead of defending the rights of the farmers. People are being intimidated and even killed. Four members of the SPFT have been murdered in the past five years, two of them women. They were shot by M16 weapons and stabbed in the back of the head. A fifth member was shot and nearly killed last month, and we understand that a sixth member may have disappeared over the weekend. All of this is of great concern to those of us who are friends of Thailand. 

The murdered victims are: Mr Somporn Pattanaphum (1957-2010); Mrs Pranee Boonrat (1957-2012); Ms Montha Chukaew (1962-2012); and Mr Chai Bunthonglek (1954-2015). SPFT is demanding a thorough investigation and the arrest and trial of the perpetrators. 

A recent Supreme Court ruling in favour of ALRO ordered the Jiew Kang Jue Pattana Co. Ltd. and its “dependents” to vacate the land they were illegally occupying. But through an illegitimate interpretation of this ruling, ALRO is pressing for the Klong Sai Pattana farming community to be evicted by claiming that they are “dependents” of the company. 

 The 83 Klong Sai Pattana members are asking the Krabi provincial court to order their right to stay by acknowledging that they are independent of the company and are entitled to land titles from ALRO. The court hearing is on 3-4 May 2016. 

We are also deeply concerned that the local authority seems to want to use Section 44 of the interim constitution to evict these peaceful farming communities. SPFT has submitted an open letter to the authorities urging them to consider the impact of Section 44 on the rights and survival of subsistence farmers. If evicted they will be landless and homeless. 

SPFT speaks for subsistence farmers worldwide whose survival is threatened by profit driven multinationals which are destroying livelihoods, communities and the environment. 

The signatories below urge the Thai authorities to: 

1) Implement the Supreme Court ruling in such a way that the SPFT Klong Sai Pattana farming community in Chaiburi district, Suratthani province, is allowed to stay on this land. 

2) Thoroughly investigate, arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of the murders of four SPFT members and the recent attempted murder of a fifth member and possible disappearance of a sixth. 

We thank you for your urgent consideration. 

Nina Lopez and Lori Nairne, Legal Action for Women, UK & USA
Beverly Bell, Other Worlds
Saranel Benjamin, International Programmes Director, War on Want, UK
Sara Callaway and Margaret Prescod, Women of Colour / GWS, UK /USA
M. Jahi Chappell, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, USA
Lisa Griffith, National Family Farm Coalition, USA
Leonor Hurtado, Senior Advisor, Food First, Oakland, California, USA
Selma James and Phoebe Jones, Global Women’s Strike, UK & USA
Andrew Kang Bartlett, Sustainable Agriculture of Louisville, USA
Dean Kendall, Payday men’s network, UK & USA
Cari Mitchell, International Women Count Network, UK
Tirso Moreno, Farmworker Associaton of Florida Inc, USA
John E. Peck, Executive Director, Family Farm Defenders, USA
Tahrir Swift Tadhamun, Iraqi Women's Organisation, UK
Crimson Tazvinzwa, Spotted Issues Blog on human dignity, rights and freedom, UK
Derek Wall, Green Party of England and Wales
Rachel West, International Prostitutes Collective, UK & USA

As well as the following: Kay Adshead (UK), Paul Barbara (UK), Beverly Bell (UK), Celina Dority, Barbara Ellis (UK), Justine Fernandes, Sylvia Gentile, Teacher, UCLA Lab School (USA), Isabelle Graillet (UK), Fe Haslam (UK), Marcia Ishii-Eiteman (USA), Dr. Bonita Lawrence (Canada), Robin Mallison Alpern (USA), Tammy Murphy, M.A., LL.M., Angela Qasir (UK), Beverley Robertson, Maggie Ronayne, Lecturer, National University of Ireland, Galway; John Tymon (Ireland), Len Ziefert (USA)

* This was an initiative of the Legal Action for Women PO Box 287 London NW6 5QU Tel: 020 7482 2496 Email:

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