NEWS RELEASE:
#WeAreJustTransition Movement: It’s time for a Just, Feminist, Green & Inclusive Transition with people-driven energy solutions to end greenwashing and phase out fossil fuels!

24 November 2022

24 November 2022, Bangkok - Manushya Foundation, Thai Climate Justice for All (TCJA), Green South Foundation, the Thai CSOs Coalition for the UPR, the Thai Business & Human Rights Network, and numerous community and civil society partners, newly united as the #WeAreJustTransition Movement launched The People’s Declaration for a Just, Feminist, Green, and Inclusive Transition on Energy, Environment, Natural Resources, and Forests, at a press conference held at the Elizabeth hotel, in Bangkok, on 18 November 2022. In the Declaration, the coalition introduced its key demands to the COP27 and APEC2022 international fora, the Thai government, and the private sector, ensuring their voices are heard in the current climate emergency and the push for a Just, Feminist, Green, and Inclusive Transition.

Need for a #JustTransition that is Just, Feminist, Green & Inclusive 

Local communities affected by climate change, greenwashing policies, and criminalized under Thailand's false climate solutions have had enough of being sidelined. The #WeAreJustTransition Movement is a coalition mobilized around their real life struggles and their community-driven solutions to shift towards a Just, Feminist, Green, and Inclusive Transition. Emilie Palamy Pradichit, the Founder and Executive Director of Manushya Foundation, explains:

"Through this intersectional climate justice movement, indigenous women, forest communities, climate and environmental defenders, migrant workers, and feminists are joining forces to stand strong against greenwashing and corporate capture of the climate crisis. It's time for change to come from the ground as COP27 failed to concretely phase out fossil fuels for clean and renewable energy solutions. For that very reason, the #WeAreJustTransition movement is a space where grassroots lead the climate response: they are heard and seen, share concerns, exchange people-powered green solutions, build solidarity, and speak truth to power with one powerful unified voice. There will be no Just Transition without the real Guardians of our Mother Nature at the forefront.”

Despite Thailand being among the top 10 countries in the world impacted by climate change,[1] the Thai government is not doing enough to tackle this challenge and resorts to greenwashing and superficial promises, as explained by Krisada Boonchai, Coordinator of the TCJA which is a part of the Movement:

 

“The Thai government declared its plan to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% to the UN. But when we look at this target in detail, we see it’s not ambitious enough. The government and private sector don’t need to do much to adjust to this new goal. In reality, the government still invests in coal mining, natural gas, and other sources of energy based on fossil fuels.”

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Criminalization of Indigenous Peoples and Land Rights Defenders

The government’s flawed solutions to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change only exacerbate the situation: indigenous peoples and forest-dependent communities are being criminalized, jailed, and evicted from their lands in the name of forest reclamation.[2] Greenwashing schemes such as carbon markets and carbon credit are underway and unsustainable energy projects such as hydropower dams destroy the environment, and livelihoods of communities domestically and abroad.[3]

 

Nittaya Muangklang, Community Leader representing the 14 Sab Wai villagers criminalized under Thailand’s false climate solutions said in this regard: the Government still prioritizes the role of corporations in managing the resources. This means resources are taken away from communities that are best placed to manage them. We want communities living in the forest to be the ones in charge of resource management, as we protect the forest, we don’t destroy it. And its budget should be allocated to the people, not corporations.

 

There can’t be a Just Transition and Climate Justice without Human Rights Protection

Human Rights Must Be Front and Center in Climate Action. The Declaration emphasizes the need to center human rights in all climate action on the national and international levels, with effective protection for climate and environmental human rights defenders who are the catalysts of the Just Transition. The youth climate human rights defender Khairiyah Rahmanyah, ‘Daughter of the Sea’, known for her fight to #SaveChana Southern community from the large-scale Chana Industrial Estate that would pollute their air and damage their health, added: 

 

“We fight for a clean environment, for the climate, for our health and livelihoods. But the people in power keep ignoring us and make decisions about us, without us. My community has been deceived, criminalized, harassed. That’s why we go to the streets and protest. If our fundamental rights were respected, we wouldn’t have to. If the right to breathe clean air is a fundamental right, we shouldn’t have to ask for it. But why are we?”

 

Katima Leeja, Lisu indigenous woman, member of the Indigenous Women’s Network of Thailand emphasized the commonality of our fight for climate justice: “It is true that the consequences of climate change are most hard felt by the most marginalized. But if the climate situation gets worse, it will get worse for everyone (also the developed countries) as that’s specifically why, now more than ever, we must all collaborate to come up with a common solution.”

 

“We urge the Thai government, companies, and all actors involved in addressing the climate crisis to be inspired by our People’s Declaration as we put forward the key demands of the #WeAreJustTransition Movement. Its members, the people on the ground, human rights defenders, and activists, are the real experts holding community-driven solutions to tackle climate change and roll out effective climate action. It’s about time for the Just Transition Movement to be led by women, indigenous peoples, feminists, and affected communities if we truly want to meet the targets set forward by the Paris Climate Agreement,” concluded Nada Chaiyajit, Manushya Foundation’s Human Rights Campaign Advisor.

 

The People’s Declaration was presented during the press conference ‘There Will Be No Just Transition Without Us’, held in Elizabeth Hotel in Bangkok on 18 November 2022. Nada Chaiyajit moderated the session and set the context of the establishment of the Just Transition Movement. Prominent speakers included:

  • Krisada Boonchai,  Coordinator of the Thai Climate Justice for All;

  • Khairiyah Rahmanyah, ‘Daughter of the Sea’, youth environmental human rights defender, #SaveChana;

  • Nittaya Muangklang, Woman Human Rights Defender and Community Leader from Sai Thong Rak Pah Network, #SaveSabWaiVillagers;

  • Anchalee Ismanyee, #SaveBangkloi Coalition Leader & Activist;

  • Naree Wongsachon, Indigenous Woman Human Rights Defender representing Southern indigenous peoples and Chowlay Andaman Network;

  • Katima Leeja, Indigenous Woman Human Rights Defender representing Northern Lisu indigenous peoples and the Indigenous Women’s Network of Thailand (IWNT), including anti-mining #SaveOmkoi;

  • Direk Hamnakorn, Human Rights Defender leading the Green World Network, #SaveThepa;

  • Natthaphong Kaewnuan, Environmental Human Rights Defender.

 

Access the recording of the event in EN here and in TH here.
 

For media enquiries, please contact: 

Learn more about our impact and work, fighting for a Just, Feminist, Green and Inclusive Transition:

  • #SaveSabWaiVillagers: Digital campaign supporting Manushya Foundation’s efforts on Sab Wai case.

  • News Release: Thailand: End the unfair criminalization of land rights defenders in Sai Thong National Park, 19 June 2019

  • Submission of Urgent Action to 7 UN Special Rapporteurs: #SaveSabWaiVillagers from going to jail! The unfair criminalization of 14 villagers under Thailand’s Forest Reclamation Policy, 23 June 2019

  • Joint Statement: Human Rights Organisations urge Thai government to drop all charges against women land and human rights defenders in Ban Sap Wai community, 24 June 2019

  • News Release: Thailand: Ensure the provision of fair justice & effective remedy to land rights defenders unfairly criminalized in the Sai Thong National Park Case, 8 July 2019

  • Racial Discrimination in Thailand: Joint Civil Society Report: List of Themes to be considered by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) for the review of the combined fourth to eighth periodic reports of Thailand (CERD/C/THA/4-8), 2020

  • Joint Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR): Land-related rights, forest conservation laws and climate change policies, 25 March 2021

  • Manushya Foundation’s Factsheet to inform Thailand’s Third UPR: Thailand's False Climate Solutions with Bad Forest Conservation Laws, 13 September 2021

  • #FightRacism - Thailand is a Paradise; But only for the 1%: Joint Shadow Civil Society Report on the Implementation of ICERD: Replies to the List of Themes CERD/C/THA/Q/4-8 105th CERD session (15 November - 3 December), 25 October 2021

  • Follow-Up UN Complaint to seek Justice for the Survivors of the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy Dam collapse in Attapeu Province, Laos, 28 February 2022

  • News Release: Lao Government and Implicated Companies Must Deliver Justice For Survivors of 2018 Attapeu Dam Collapse, 26 July 2022

  • Complaint for Urgent Action for Protection of the 14 Sab Wai Villagers, facing human rights violations due to Thailand’s False Climate Solutions, 4 August 2022

  • News Release: Thailand: Stop Forced Evictions of 14 Sab Wai Villagers facing Extreme Poverty & Homelessness!, 5 August 2022

  • News Release: Responsible governments and implicated companies must ensure safety and effective access to information of communities living near the Nam Theun 1 dam in Laos, 26 August 2022​

  • BLOG: Communities let down by Thailand’s NAP-BHR fight back: It’s time to #StopNAPping!, 2 November 2022

About Manushya Foundation

Manushya Foundation was founded in 2017 with the vision to build a movement of Equal Human Beings #WeAreManushyan. Manushya is an intersectional feminist human rights organization reinforcing the power of humans, in particular women, human rights defenders, indigenous peoples, forest-dependent communities, environmental defenders, LGBTI groups, and Youth, to be at the heart of decision-making processes that concern them and to speak truth to power at the forefront of their fight for Human Rights, Equality, Social Justice and Peace. Through coalition building, capacity building, community-led research, advocacy and campaigning, and sub-granting, local communities become Agents of Change fighting for their rights and providing solutions to improve their lives and livelihoods, pushing back on authoritarian governments and harmful corporations. Manushya defends local communities and seeks justice with them before the United Nations, focusing on women’s rights and gender equality, digital rights, climate & environmental justice, and corporate accountability across Asia. 

For further information on the work of Manushya Foundation, visit: https://www.manushyafoundation.org/

Endnotes

[1] Germanwatch, CRI: 10 countries most affected from 2000 to 2019, (25 January 2021), available at: https://www.germanwatch.org/en/19777 
[2] Manushya Foundation, Land-related Rights, Forest Conservation Laws & Climate Change Policies: Joint Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) for Thailand’s Third UPR Cycle, (25 March 2021), available at: https://www.manushyafoundation.org/joint-upr-submission-landrights; Manushya Foundation, Why we need to #SaveBangkloi, (11 March 2021), available at: https://www.manushyafoundation.org/post/why-we-need-to-savebangkloi; Manushya Foundation, No to the UNESCO "World Heritage Site"! We need to #SaveBangkloi!, (6 September 2021), available at: https://www.manushyafoundation.org/post/what-s-wrong-with-world-heritage-savebangkloi; Manushya Foundation, Complaint for Urgent Action for Protection of the 14 Sab Wai Villagers, facing human rights violations due to Thailand’s False Climate Solutions, (4 August 2022), available at: https://www.manushyafoundation.org/complaint-for-urgent-action-savesabwaivillagers-from-forced-evictions; Manushya Foundation, #SaveSabWaiVillagers from Forced Evictions & Extreme Poverty! The Unfair Criminalization of 14 Villagers under Thailand’s “Forest Reclamation Policy”, (2022), available at: https://www.manushyafoundation.org/campaign-savesabwaivillagers
[3] Manushya Foundation, News Release: Lao Government and Implicated Companies Must Deliver Justice For Survivors of 2018 Attapeu Dam Collapse, (26 July 2022), available at: https://www.manushyafoundation.org/laogovernment-and-implicatedcompanies-must-deliver-justice-for-survivors-of-attapeudamcollapse; Manushya Foundation, Follow-Up UN Complaint to seek Justice for the Survivors of the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy Dam collapse in  Attapeu Province, Laos, (28 February 2022), available at: https://www.manushyafoundation.org/followup-un-complaint-on-attapeu-xpxn-dam-collapse; Manushya Foundation, News Release: Responsible governments and implicated companies must ensure safety and effective access to information of communities living near the Nam Theun 1 dam in Laos, (23 August 2022), available at: https://www.manushyafoundation.org/23-aug-news-release-on-nam-theun-dam-1