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  • Writer's pictureManushya Foundation

#SaveSabWaiVillagers from unfair land eviction!












📍The Sab Wai villagers, Isaan ethnic people living in Chaiyaphum, are the main characters of another outrageous story of injustice in which the Thai government violates poor farmers’ right to land, with total impunity.


🚨14 villagers have been unfairly criminalized and found guilty of encroaching and destroying the land on which they have lived for decades, and that belongs to the Sai Thong National Park. Some of them were even jailed!


❌ Under the disguise of 'Climate Solution', the Thai government use Thailand's 2014 Forest Reclamation Policy and now the 2019 National Park Act as weapons to unjustly criminalize poor and Indigenous Peoples, casting them as forest destroyers, instead of holding large businesses accountable for actually damaging the environment.


👉 Nittaya Muangklang, Woman human rights defender and Sab Wai villagers' community leader, was also found guilty of encroaching on the forest in the areas of her cassava farm and of her house. On 3 March and 5 May 2021, the Supreme Court sentenced her to 3 years of suspended jail term and to pay a 190,000 THB fine. Thanks to our ongoing international advocacy and pressure, Nittaya is walking free. However, she and her family will still be evicted from their land, losing their livelihood and everything they possess. Nittaya’s story reflects the crimes committed by Thailand against poor villagers, indigenous peoples and forest-dependent communities!


✍️ The authorities not only criminalized the villagers, but they also manipulated some of them who are unable to read into signing documents to give away their land, telling them that their signature would allow them to keep it!


✊🏼 To protect the Sab Wai Villagers from unfair land eviction, we at Manushya Foundation, submitted a complaint to 8 UN Special Rapporteurs in August 2022 to seek justice for the Isaan villagers before the international semi-justice system! ⚖️


#Win 📄 Following our complaint, 9 UN Special Rapporteurs took action! In December 2022, they sent a UN Communication (AL THA 3/2022) to the Thai government marking the opening of a brand new chapter of the Sab Wai Villagers story: it reminds Thailand of its international obligation to protect minorities, Indigenous Peoples and local communities, expresses concerns about the unfair criminalization of the Sab Wai villagers under Thailand’s false climate solutions, and acknowledges their threat of forced eviction! Now the Thai government has to account to the UN for its unfair actions violating international human rights law!


#WeAreManushyan ♾ Equal Human Beings


✊Nittaya and the Sab Wai villagers’ fight for justice is not over yet! Manushya Foundation stands in solidarity with the Sab Wai villagers, and will continue representing them internationally until justice is guaranteed! We call on the Thai government to drop all charges against the Isaan villagers! Thailand must recognize them as "Guardians of the forest", and ensure their right to live on their land is respected!


❗️We also urge the Thai government to stop misusing false climate solutions like the Forest Reclamation Policy as a strategic tool to criminalize innocent people, and instead focus on holding accountable the capitalist investors who are the real culprits of climate change!


🌱Thailand must shift to a Just, Inclusive, Green, and Feminist Transition which ensures that community voices are heard and central in the planning and implementation phases of all climate mitigation measures!


🔗 Learn more about our efforts to #SaveSabWaiVillagers:


While you are here…

Check out our impact and work to #SaveSabWaiVillagers from jail, forced evictions, and extreme poverty and to denounce Thailand’s false climate solutions:

References:

  1. United Nations Special Rapporteurs communication on Sab Wai Villagers (AL/THA 3/2022), (1 December 2022), available at: https://spcommreports.ohchr.org/TMResultsBase/DownLoadPublicCommunicationFile?gId=27542

  2. How we seek Justice before the UN to #SaveSabWaiVillagers from forced evictions and extreme poverty, (10 August 2022), available at: https://www.manushyafoundation.org/post/how-we-seek-justice-before-the-un-to-savesabwaivillagers-from-forced-evictions-and-extreme-poverty

  3. NEWS RELEASE: Thailand: Stop Forced Evictions of 14 Sab Wai Villagers facing Extreme Poverty & Homelessness!, (5 August 2022), available at: https://www.manushyafoundation.org/news-release-savesabwaivillagers-5-august-2022

  4. Thailand: Stop Forced Evictions of 14 Sab Wai Villagers facing Extreme Poverty & Homelessness!, (5 August 2022), available at: https://www.manushyafoundation.org/post/thailand-stop-forced-evictions-of-14-sab-wai-villagers-facing-extreme-poverty-homelessness

  5. #SaveNittaya - What You Need to Know about Nittaya's Unfair Court Verdicts, (6 May 2021), available at: https://www.manushyafoundation.org/post/savenittaya-what-you-need-to-know-about-nittaya-s-unfair-court-verdict

  6. #SaveNittaya - What You Need to Know about Nittaya's Unfair Court Verdicts, (6 May 2021), available at: https://www.manushyafoundation.org/post/savenittaya-what-you-need-to-know-about-nittaya-s-unfair-court-verdict

  7. #SaveSabWaiVillagers from forced evictions & extreme poverty! The unfair criminalization of 14 villagers under Thailand’s “Forest Reclamation Policy”, available at: https://www.manushyafoundation.org/campaign-savesabwaivillagers-sai-thong-np-case


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