Open Letter written by Billy, Poh la chi Rakjongjaroean
Open Letter written by Billy, Poh la chi Rakjongjaroean- Thai and English version
we are villagers of Ban Bangkoy Bon (Upper Bangkoy Village) we call for justice as we have been living here more than 100 years since our ancestor. Our domain, forestry land are very rich and prosperous. We conduct rotating plantation and live happily sustainable way. In 1996, the Kaeng Kachan National park officer went to our village and told us that we could not live in Ban Bangkoy Bon anymore and told us to relocate to Ban Bangkoy Lang (Lower Bangkoy Village). The national park officer said they are worried that if we live there the forestry near the watershrd will be destroyed. They provided us 7-8 rai per families to cultivate and they will provide us food for the first three years. Some of the villagers believed them and started to move down. But some did not want to and they stayed back.
Those who stayed back in Ban Bangkoy Bon. Only 57 families decided to move to Ban Bankoy Lang faced difficulty that the National Park did not allocate land for them but asked them to share the cultivation land with Ban Pongluk. Some land that allocate by National Park to some families also could not cultivate. Therefore the shortage of land for cultivation among new comer from Ban Bangkoy Bon and Paluk villagers.
About food supply for 3 years, in fact the National park did provide for the villagers who relocated only less than 3 months. The villagers face difficulty and they need to go to seek for works outside village. They could not stand the cheating of wages and they are also subject to arrest by police as they do not have Thai citizenship. They were accused of illegal migrant workers.
around 1998, more than two years since we decided to move to Ban Bangkoy Lang (Lower Bangkoy village) , many of us decided to move back to our home in Ban Bangkoy Bon where we cultivate our own food, plants that belong to us from generation to generation. When we move back to now have to stay with our relatives. Then in 2007, the national park came to pressure us again to go to Ban Bangkoy Lang. They said otherwise we shall be expel to Burma/
We are originated from here Ban Bangkoy Bon, we are not from Burma. We shall not leave our land. We will not go to Burma. We will stay in Ban Bangkoy Bon but the pressure from the National Park are harsh and violence till they burnt our house, our rice house. They destroyed our plantation, fruit tree and also arrested us when they see us. We are having most difficult time. The children, elderly and who are sick or pregnant are the most suffered. We have not things to eat, some of villager died. The pregnant woman miscarried the baby. We need to hind in the forest some of us have not blanket, not enough cloth. We are cold and living under rain without shelther.
for food, we can only eat wild potato, taro, bamboo shoot and food from the forest. We are suffering. We have told the village headman in Pongluk – Bangkoy but they could not help us, because they afraid of national park officers even the villagers in Pongluk-Bangkoy are our relatives.
We wish to seek help from your good office. We want to claim our rights to stay in Ban Bangkoy Bon without any threat and intermidation from National Park officers. They shall not chase us away, burning our belonging: house, rice house. They shall not destroy our belief in our traditional way of live that carried on from our ancestor. We wish to end our miserable life in hinding in the forest. We wish to settle down and live peacefully. We will cooperate with the National park to take care of forest land for the security of the nation. We wish your good office to investigate the truth urgently. We are suffering severely now.