Source: Protection International
Born a peasant, Ms.Nittaya Muangklang has changed from a farmer to a defender of land rights and a WHRD. Her community has been directly affected by the policy. She has been collaborating with villagers in other affected communities countrywide and has become part of the People’s Movement for Just Society (P-Move). Through collaboration with various authorities, they have tried to raise the awareness of concerned authorities and sought to find solutions with them to address land disputes at the provincial and national levels. She has been advocating for forest and land policies and collaborating
with the Ministry of Justice to address the needs of the villagers who have been taken to court by the authorities during the implementation of the devastating Forest Reclamation Policy. She has helped to secure fund from the Justice Fund to help make possible legal defense of the affected villagers. Nittaya Muangklang has risen to demand the right to land after the Forest Reclamation Policy initiated by the NCPO Leader has come into force during which time the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC)
and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment have jointly launched intensive operations to clamp down on many communities. As a result, families of ordinary peasants including Nittaya Muangklang and her mother, one younger sister and one older sister and her neighbors, 14 of them, have been charged by the Sai Thong National Park for violating the Forest Act, B.E. 2484 (1941), the National Reserved Forest Act, B.E. 2507 (1964), and the National Park Act, B.E. 2504 (1961), even though her case was pending the consideration of the Office of the Prime Minister and taskforce has been set
up to review it and she has a proof for that including letters from the authority.
On 15 May 2019 at 09.00, the Chaiyaphum Provincial Court will read the verdict of the Appeals Court between the public prosecutors v. Ms. Nittaya Muangklang who is accused of encroaching and clearing the land inside the national park without prior permission. On 8 August 2018, the Chaiyaphum Provincial Court in the Black Case no. 1739/2560 has already found Nittaya Muangklang guilty as charged and sentenced her to four months of imprisonment and held her accountable for compensation of 40,000 baht. She and other members of the Isan Land Reform Network in Nong Bua Rawe were ordered to
vacate their farmland as well. Nittaya Muangklang was not the only person in her family to have been indicted for encroaching and clearing the land inside the national park without prior permission and another case. Two other family members including her mother and younger sister have been indicted in two cases each. 11 members of the community have also been indicted. Altogether, 14 of them have been indicted in 19 cases and the verdicts on the cases are to be read.
For more information, please contact Oranuch Phonpinyo, the Isan Land Reform Network 098-1056932,
Nittaya Muangklang 090-8879334 and Thanomsak Rawadchai (attorney) 081-6663533