By Pratch Rujivanarom
The People’s Movement for a Just Society (P-Move) led the demonstration to demand government action, saying they had been campaigning on this issue for four years but there had been no improvement. Many people who have been involved in land conflicts across the country joined in the protest.
P-Move representative Direk Khongngen read a statement saying that poor people have severely suffered from unjust policies that take away their access to public land for the benefit of a few rich people, while also taking away land from poor people under the forest reclamation policy.
“We have pushed forward our demands for four years, but we find that the government still fails to provide just access to land and natural resources,” Direk said.
“Moreover, Thailand is ranked third on the list of the countries that have the most inequality, with only one per cent of rich people owning 56 per cent of the wealth.”
P-Move demanded that the government immediately cease prosecutions against poor people under the forest reclamation policy, to allow the relevant agencies to reconsider land policy and how it is affecting communities in forested areas.
P-Move also urged the authorities to provide land as compensation for six people who were affected by the development of a special economic zone in Tak.
It also asked the government to adjust its land bank policy to reduce the burden on people who lease land, and order the National Land Policy Committee to consider community land deeds as an option to solve land rights conflicts.