After more than 40 years of suffering, grief and protest, Khok Yao’s land dispute might finally be resolved as the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment launched a new review of land conflicts across the country.
After the eviction deadline for Baw Kaew was extended in a surprise decision on Monday, villagers and their supporters celebrated their tentative victory. But the community’s decade-long battle for their right to land is set to escalate again when the extension expires in late September.
As the deadline for the eviction of Baw Kaew village draws closer, community members are calling on political parties for help. Last Saturday, Future Future Party politicians to discuss solutions to resolve the decade-long land dispute.
The prosecution of a prominent land rights activist is part of a legal campaign that may lead to the eviction of dozens of families living in Sai Thong National Park. Since 2014 forest communities across the country have been targeted as part of the military government’s forest reclamation policy.
A land rights activist whose husband was disappeared last year is serving a six-month sentence in prison for encroaching on national forest reserves. Her fellow community members continue to organize resistance as their numbers dwindle.
“That’s a threat. I’m afraid enough as it is. Stop your threatening me,” Nittaya Muangklang spits back at a national park officer in argument over the eviction of her village, a fate that many communities of small-scale farmers in the park are facing.