International support to a struggle against mining in Thailand

(Available in Thai)

Organisations, social movements and activists, from 40 countries sent a letter to the Women and Men Human Rights Defenders of Khao Lao Yai-Pha Jun Dai Forest Conservation Group in Northeastern Thailand, expressing their support and solidarity with their struggle to reclaim the land and forests, encroached on by the Thor Silasitthi mining company.

They express their support to the community´s demand to the Thai authorities to close the mining activities in the area, and they commit to continue monitoring the situation and give visibility to this important community struggle.

>>> Download the letter with the signatures here

>>> ดาวน์โหลดจดหมายพร้อมลายเซ็นที่นี่ (Thai)

26 years ago, a quarry mining company Thor Silasitthi Co. started operating inside a forest area in the Dong Mafai Sub District of Nong Bua Lamphu Province. Since then, at least six villages that depend on this forest area for their livelihoods have been bearing the negative impacts of the company´s activities. They have lost access to food they used to find in the forest, and face daily explosions in the mining area which causes noise pollution and damage to households due to falling debris. Important archaeological sites are located inside the mining area; according to the new Mining Act from 2017, these should be exempted from mining.

Women play a crucial role in this struggle which is led by a group called “the women and men human rights defenders (W/HRDs) of Khao Lao Yai-Pha Jun Dai Forest Conservation Group”.

Knowing that the company´s use permit for the mine was going to expire on September 3, 2020, the community group intensified their struggle to reclaim the forest in the past months. Among the demands is a call to the authorities for rehabilitation of the damaged area. Without a positive reply from the government on their demands, and the company attempting to renew its permit, the communities started an occupation.

Guided by traditional rituals and ceremonies, the planting of seedlings of flowers and trees, 300 women and men from the communities have been occupying part of the mining area since 4 September. They declared the mining area a “Community Forest Zone” and called for justice for the four villagers who in the period 1995-1999 were killed in this struggle. Until now, no one has been held responsible or punished for these killings. On September 25, community members occupied another area, the stone mill. The permit for this location expired on September 24. During the mobilization, community activists as well as a human rights activist supporting them have received death threats.

>>> Download the letter with the signatures here

>>> ดาวน์โหลดจดหมายพร้อมลายเซ็นที่นี่ (Thai)

To: The Women and Men Human Rights Defenders (W/HRDs) of Khao Lao Yai-Pha Jun Dai Forest Conservation Group

We, undersigned organisations, social movements, and activists, from 40 countries from all continents of the world, have learned about your important struggle of reclaiming the land and forests you care for. We understand that the Thor Silasitthi mining company encroached on this land 26 years ago. Many of us are engaged in grassroots struggles against mining and other destructive projects, and have faced similar indifference from government authorities and provocations from companies as you have in your struggle.

First, we want to express our support and solidarity with your struggle to reclaim the land and forest. In particular, we learned about the recent important actions in September by which you have successfully reclaimed the mining zone and the stone mill.

We are impressed by your staying power and that you are engaged in this struggle already for 26 years. In this process of reclaiming your lives, livelihoods, land and homes, you have lost four comrades. We are inspired by the rituals and ceremonies you have celebrated during the occupation actions. These ceremonies demonstrate a profound care and respect for the area and speak to how important these places are for the present and future well-being of your communities.

We stand with you. We join you in demanding from Thai authorities to defend the collective interests of the communities, not the private and profit-driven interests of mining companies. They must attend your demands and close the mining activities in the area. They must ensure the safety and wellbeing of all involved in the recent actions, in particular those who have received death threats. And they must not forget the call for justice for those community activists who were killed in the past. On this matter, too, we stand with you.

Although many of us are far away from Thailand, be sure that we are connected with your struggle. We are committed to continue monitoring closely the situation and give visibility to your struggle through our own communication networks. Your struggle is not only important to ensure your communities´ future, but it also encourages the struggles in other countries and regions. You are an example for the world of what a strong movement is about.

You are not alone in your important struggle. May it be victorious soon. It is already a strong and inspiring example for other struggles in Thailand, and for all of us who are in other countries around the world.

In Solidarity, on 30 November, 2020

Aalamaram – India
Acción Ecológica – Ecuador
ADECRU – Mozambique
Amelerions notre Environnement – Democratic Republic of Congo
Asamblea De Vecinos Por El No A La Mina Esquel – Argentine
Associación Conservacionista Yiski – Costa Rica
Bloque Oscar Alfaro – Bolivia
Cardamom Hill Research – Switzerland
CENSAT – Friends of the Earth Colombia – Colombia
Centro Cientifico Tropical – Costa Rica
Cercle Rosa Luxemburg – Switzerland
Colectivo Voces Ecológicas – Panama
Community Forest Watch – Nigeria
Conceverde San Rafael De Heredia – Costa Rica
Defenders in Dordrecht – Netherlands
Ecovital – Brazil
FASE-Espirito Santo – Brazil
Focus on the Global South – South East Asia
Fórum Carajás – Brazil
Forum Ökologie & Papier – Germany
Friends of the Earth Internationial – International
Global Forest Coalition – International
GRAIN – International
Grupo Guayubira – Uruguay
ICRA – France
Impulso Socialista – Colombia
Indus Development Organisation – Pakistan
JATAM network - Indonesia
Justiça Ambiental – Friends of the Earth Mozambique – Mozambique
M4 - Movimiento Mesoamericano Contra El Modelo Extractivo Minero – Meso Amerika
Maiouri Nature Guyana – France
Missão Tabita – Mozambique
Movus - Movimiento Por Un Uruguay Sustentable – Uruguay
MST- Movement Of Landless Rural Workers - Espirito Santo – Brazil
Muyissi Environnement – Gabon
Nature-D-Congo – Benin
Payday Men's Network – USA
Penny – USA
Pkf Foundation – Switzerland
Procesos Integrales Para La Autogestión De Los Pueblos – Mexico
Project Sevana South-East Asia – Thailand
Proyecto Gran Simio -Spain
RAPAM – Mexico
Rede Brasileira de Justiça Ambiental – Brazil
Refeb – Ivory Coast
RIAO-RDC – Democratic Republic of Congo
Salva la Selva – Spain
Sawit watch – Indonesia
School of Democratic Economics – Indonesia
Soralo – Kenya
Suhode Foundation – Tanzania
Sustaining the Wild Coast – South Africa
Synaparcam – Cameroon
The Corner House – United Kingdom
TUK Indonesia – Indonesia
Unión Universal Desarrollo Solidário - Spain
Wetlands & Birds Korea – South Korea
World Rainforest Movement (WRM) - International
Youth Volunteers for Environment – Ghana
Youth Volunteers for Environment – Ivory Coast

A.E. van Wyk – South Africa
Agathe Torti – France
Alexander Mága – Germany
Anicet Gervais Kouame – Ivory Coast
Anne Forget – France
Annie Avril – France
Asunción Libertad Torres Gosálves – Spain
Barbara van Dyck – Belgium
Benoit le Turcq – Germany
Bernard David – France
Brewster Kneen – Canada
Brian Gibbons – USA
Carlos Cambra – Panama
Catherine Roche – France
Cecilia Castilla Gómez – Spain
Claudio Sergio Nadal – Argentine
Cris Vigiano – Brazil
Dani Sánchez-Vizcaín – Spain
Danijel Dubičanac - Croatia
Daniela Oñate – Chile
Doris Warnstedt – Germany
Elder Andrade de Paula - Brazil
Emily Mason – Ireland
Encarna González – Spain
Fabienne Oubrayrie – France
Fernando Antônio Cuervo Cifuentes – Colombia
Flavia Buceta – Uruguay
Francisco Serrano – Peru
Fredrik Larsson – Sweden
Guillermo Tobón – Colombia
Henry Sak – Canada
Hugh Lee – Ireland
Isa Belinfante – Netherlands
James Gray – USA
Jane Sawcer – United Kingdom
Janice Lemos – Mozambique
Jean-Michel Amillard – France
Jesus Antonio Espinosa – Colombia
Jim Loveland – USA
Joan Vicenç Lillo – Spain
John Orbell – United Kingdom
Jos Martens – Netherlands
Josefina Paz Besomi – Chile
Judith Pincemin – France
Karen Rothschild – Canada
Kenneth Ruby – USA
Lydia Culzoni – Argentine
Luisa Memore – Italia
Maginel Galt – USA
Marc Reina – France
Marta Moschetti - Italy
Maria Angeles Mauri Espuny – Spain
Maria Elena Misó – Spain
Marie Melotte – Canada
Martine Rouillard – France
Michael Miller – France
Michael F. Schmidlehner – Brazil
Michele Belford – Australia
Mylene Marchand – France
Myrim Goldminc – France
Neus Calvo – Spain
Pascal Paquin – France
Patricia Sosa – Mexico
Paulo Nührich – Brazil
Peter Saltanis – USA
Peter Clausing – Germany
Philippe Favreliere – France
Philippe Dauibrese – Netherlands
Ramón Soriano – Spain
Sara Díaz – Mexico
Sergio Miguel Silva Chiossoni – Uruguay
Simon Bailly – France
Sylvie Dalbin – France
Tom van Hettema – Netherlands
Valerie Tomlinson – United Kingdom
Valérie Couché – France
Vanessa Apecechea - Uruguay
Vicky Penalva – Argentine
Victor Bravo – Argentine
Victor Kamendrowsky – USA
Willi Feuerstein – Austria
Yücel Çağlar - Turkey