The Statement of Assembly of the Poor
Stop Tyrant and Abusive Actions against the Poor by the Royal Thai Army 2nd Regional Command
The National Peace and Order Maintaining Council (NPOMC) issued the National Peace and Order Maintaining Council (NPOMC) Order No. 64/2557 entitled Suppression and stop the encroachment and destruction of forest resources and the NPOMC Order No. 66/2557 entitle addition of government agencies for suppression and stop the encroachment and destruction of forest resources and interim policies on practices in the current situation.
Accordingly on 28 June 2014, a fully armed force comprising of soldiers from the Royal Thai Army 2nd Regional Command, policemen and forest officers, approximately 50 persons, entered Kaobart Village, Nondindaeng District in Buriram province which is a member of Assembly of the Poor. This village has been in conflict over land and forest for a long time. The soldiers informed the villagers that the army wants to claim the land back after the harvest and wants them to dismantle their houses and leave the village. Otherwise, the army will destroy their houses. On the same day the soldiers from the 2nd Regional Command took 10 leaders of the Siangsawan Village, Nondindaeng District in Buriram province, which is also a conflict area, under detention.
We, Assembly of the Poor, see that the operation of the soldiers in the Royal Thai Army 2nd Regional Command on the mentioned date happens as we anticipated after the issuance of the (NPOMC) Order No. 64/2557 and we already opposed in our statement entitled “Stop abusing the poor”.
NPOMC later issued its Order No. 66/2557 ordering all concerned government agencies to adhere to the policies and practices and any operation must not impact the poor, people with less income and the landless who live on the land before the enforcement of the Order. For the new encroachers, there will be investigation and right proving procedure so that the appropriate practice and process can be identified.
Nevertheless, the soldiers from the Royal Thai Army 2nd Command made it clear that such NPOMC Orders are only lies. The orders are issued only to fool people and to create a good image for the NPOMC. The true nature NPOMC is merely a tyrant. Reform and reconciliation are only their excuses to seize sovereignty and control the country. NPOMC uses the national sovereignty to violate the rights of the poor, to oppress and destroy the poor through the incidents that are happening at this moment.
We, Assembly of the Poor, call on the NPOMC to learn the lessons from the project “Land distribution for the poor living in degraded forest reserves” which was carried out by Internal Security Operations Command 2nd Region during 1990-1992. This project created troubles to people in almost all provinces in the Northeast Region. Tens of thousands of people rose to protest until the project was cancelled.
We call on the NPOMC to order the Royal Thai Army 2nd Regional Command to stop threatening, terrifying and abusing the poor with its tyrannical power. We also demand for the immediate release of the detained village leaders. We also demand a procedure based on participation, rights, freedom, equality and justice to solve the problems mentioned.
“Democracy where people can eat. Politics where the poor matter.”
Assembly of the Poor
29 June 2014