FIGHTING FOR CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY
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 Akara Resources 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.
READ THEIR STORY
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 were intimidated and harassed
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.
Can you imagine risking your own health because of contaminated drinking water?
Phichit villagers have become dependent on deliveries of drinking water after residues from a nearby gold mine contaminated their groundwater and made it dangerous to drink. But the deliveries don’t come all the time and aren’t enough for everyone. Villagers then need to buy their own drinking water and see their already strained budget shrink.
Akara Resources, the company responsible for the gold mine, needs to pay Phichit villagers a fair compensation and restore their natural environment so that they can continue with their traditional lifestyle!
What happens when farmers can’t farm anymore?
Phichit villagers have seen their livelihoods and food security compromised after chemical residues from the gold mine contaminated their groundwater and farming soil. Dangerous to use for growing crops, the villagers became dependent on imported food they can’t afford or risk serious health problems from eating contaminated vegetables. Such a community becomes extremely vulnerable to food insecurity, risks hunger, and malnutrition.
Justice Delayed, Justice Denied!
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 holding 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.
But ever since January 2020, the court hearings keeps being postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic and requests of the company.
We stand with the Phichit villagers all along the way!
Manushya Foundation provides assistance to the villagers through financial support for costs 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.
Support this courageous community with a donation to:
Sirirat Taitong, Chatchadapon Lorsap