Following the killing of a land rights activist in Thailand, inadequate investigation alleged

Publish Date: 
Thursday, March 12, 2015

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), these last two, within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, sent a joint letter to the Prime Minister of Thailand to investigate the murder of Mr. Chai Bunthonglek in Klong Sai Pattana, Suranthhani Province, Thailand on March 11th.

According to the letter, Mr. Chai Bunthonglek, a land rights activist and member of the Southern Peasant’s Federation of Thailand (SPFT) from Surat Thani province, was shot dead on 11 February 2015. Despite calls from civil society groups to conduct a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation, several ESCR-Net members report that authorities have not adequately investigated the case nor disclosed the progress of the investigation with the victim’s family.

The above-mentioned organizations strongly urged the government of Thailand to :

  • Immediately provide updated information on the investigation of all four killings of SPFT members to the victims’ family;
  • Carry out credible, independent and rigorous investigations to identify perpetrators and hold them accountable;
  • Grant reparations for the families of the deceased human rights defenders;
  • Urge the Department of Rights and Liberties Protection under the Ministry of Justice to extend their legal framework to provide protection to human rights defenders at risk, and provide further preventive steps to ensure their safety and physical and psychological security, and
  • Ensure that the Agricultural Land Reform Office (ALRO) 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 in November 2014 and encourage the Office of Community Land Titles (OCLT) under the Prime Minister office to issue letters stating the community’s right to remain on their land, to be forwarded to the Governor of Surat Thani and relevant authorities,to ensure they fulfill their responsibility to protect the community.

To read the complete letter, please visit here.

Photo Credit: SPFT