THAILAND: Call for observers in verdict of landmark Kaeng Krachan National Park case 

On 7 September 2016, at 10:30 a.m., the verdict in the case of Karen people forcibly relocated from the Kaeng Krachan National Park will be read at the Central Administrative Court in Bangkok. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) urges all concerned persons to attend the court as observers, and calls on other interested persons to follow the case closely.

According to the Lawyers Council of Thailand, the harassment of Karen villagers in the National Park had been going on for some time, reaching a head in May, June and July 2011, when many houses and the villagers’ rice stores were burned, and money, jewelry, fishing and agricultural tools were stolen by a group of National Park wardens and military officers. As a result, some of the Karen villagers (allegedly approximately 20 families) moved away and were staying with relatives in other villages, and a number of them (allegedly approximately 70 people) were hiding in the forest in a state of fear of meeting government officers, without sufficient food and shelter.

On 4 May 2012, Karen elder Ko-ee and other five Karen members, as plaintiffs, brought the case to the Central Administrative Court. All six Karen persons argued that the two defendants, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, as the Head of Kaeng Krachan National Park, violated their rights as recognized by the law. The alleged forceful action by the National Park was in contravention of the Thai Constitution of 2007 (in particular sections 66 and 67 of Part 12), the Thai Cabinet resolution adopted on 3 August 2010 on policies regarding the restoration of the traditional practices and livelihoods of Karen people, and international human rights law, as well as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity ratified by Thailand in 2003.

The six plaintiffs therefore required defendant no.1 and no. 2 to adequately compensate for the damages and losses incurred due to the actions of the National Park authorities and the military. This includes financial compensation (9.5 million Bath or around USD 275,308) and rectification of citizenship status, housing and allocation of land for traditional agriculture.

On 31 August 2016, the court held the final hearing for this case. The verdict will be delivered at (Courtroom no.2) the Central Administrative Court.

For further information, please contact:

Mr.Surasich Lueangarunnapha (+66 81943 0859)  Lawyer
Ms.Waraporn Utairangsee (+66 92472 5511)        Lawyer

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER