COMMUNITY-LED CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT
FIGHTING BACK GOLD MINING IN PHICHIT
In Phichit and Phetchabun Provinces, located in Central Thailand, over 6,000 villagers have been severely affected by the operations of a gold mining company since 2001. Ever since, the villagers' livelihoods and health have worsened, and the environment they live in and the natural resources they are dependent on are heavily polluted.
During years, villagers fought to protect their rights and the environment, and have undertaken numerous efforts to seek effective remedy and solutions for the negative impacts they experience. While the government closed the mine in 2017, no remedy or compensation were provided to the villagers.
Villagers who engaged in peaceful protests to stop the operations, voiced their concerns to the mining company or published information about impacts on the surrounding area, faced judicial harassment: Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) cases were filed against them by the company and local authorities. The cases against the villagers were filed to intimidate and scare them, to exhaust their finances, and to discourage them from fighting against the company and filing other complaints. Cases were especially targeting the community leader Ms. Premsinee.
Despite the judicial harassment and challenges faced, the villagers do not give up and continue their fight against the company, seeking fair compensation for the harm they suffered, and to hold the company accountable for the damage it caused. The class action lawsuit filed in May 2016 by 362 villagers was finally accepted by the Ratchada Civil Court in Bangkok on 31 October 2019 and is currently ongoing.
Manushya Foundation provides support to the villagers through financial support for cost incurred during the trial, monitoring the court hearings, and providing capacity building and legal empowerment activities to the villagers in support of their advocacy efforts and to amplify their voices at the international level.