Wife and Family Seeks Urgent Assistance from National Human Rights Committee and Ministry of Justice to Find Missing Community Activist Den Kamlae
Fruitless Search for Past Ten Days Raises Suspicion of Involuntary Disappearance
On 25 April 2016, the wife and relatives of Mr. Den Kamlae, 65, wrote an urgent letter seeking assistance in tracking down missing activist Mr. Den Kamlae. They submitted an appeal letter to the Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, the Committee for the Development of the Discovery of the Disappeared and the Identification of Unidentified Bodies (under the Ministry of Justice) as well as the Director of the Central Institute of Forensic Science (CIFS).
The letter states that: Mrs. Suparb Kamlae, wife, and Mrs. Kamtad Posiracha, younger sister of Den Kamlae, have asked concerned agencies to urgently discover the fate of Den Kamlae, 65. Mr. Den and his wife have lived in Khok Yao community, Ban Thung Lui Lai, Khon San district, Chaiyaphum province. The community has been engaged in a dispute concerning their demand to receive a community land title deed for their land, and have been facing pressure that they will be forcibly evicted. The community leader, Mr. Den led the network of local villagers demanding their right to land and solutions to address their land issues since 2015. Since March 2016, a signpost was put up to demand the villagers to evacuate from the land they occupy. His relatives, villagers and the E-san Land Reform Network are gravely concerned that Mr. Den may have faced danger for his activities and are asking for help from concerned agencies to track him down urgently
On 16 April 2016 around 9.00-10.00, Mr. Den has left from home to collect mushrooms and other forest foods in the forest and has not been seen since then. His wife and the E-san Land Reform Network as well as its members from various areas in the Northeast have been making efforts to find him since 17 April 2016, to no avail. His wife filed a formal complaint on the case to the Huay Yang Police Station on 18 April 2016.
Since 18 April, the network has mobilized villagers from various areas to comb the adjacent forest areas near Khok Yao community. A healthy person, Mr. Den has suffered from no ailment and has had no personal disputes with anyone. The attempt to find him has yielded no clues that indicate that he might have been perished in a natural disaster or being harmed by animal or vehicle. His fate remains undetermined. The villagers continue to search for him tirelessly covering the vast area of forest. Help from rescue team of Ji Jin Kao Diving team has been obtained. The Khon San rescue team has sent divers to look for him in two large ponds on 23 April 2016. Even though the case has been reported, the police have failed to show up to conduct the investigation. Only during the first three days of the search did forestry patrol officers from nearby areas come to join forces with the villagers to conduct the search in adjacent forest areas, but found no clue of the missing activist. On 25 April 2016, Mr. Wichanon Saenpala, Deputy Chief of the Phu Kiaw Wildlife Sanctuary and about 20 officers have visited the area and asked about the progress, He promised to help with the continuing search.
For more information, please contact
- E-san Land Reform Network, Oranui Ponpinyo phone 086-9976808(Thai speaking)
- Center for Development and Education on Human Right Lawyers (CDEHL), Mr. Somnuk Tumsupap – 081-8428754 (Thai speaking)
- Cross Cultural Foundation, Pornpen Khongkachonkiet phone 086-7093000