Doi Mon Jam villagers start protest march against demolition of illegally-built resorts
Doi Mon Jam villagers marched from their mountainous resort town in Mae Rim District of Chiang Mai province to the provincial hall this morning (Monday), to petition the provincial governor to stop the planned demolition of five resorts by the Royal Forest Department.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa announced, however, that officials will strictly enforce the law and dismantle the illegally-built resorts.
Meanwhile, the Office of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought consultation with the governor about the possibility of delaying the demolition, pending the setting up of a panel, to include a member of the NHRC, to resolve the conflict.
Braving rain this morning, Doi Mon Jam villagers marched towards the provincial hall, with occasional stops along the way, to submit the petition. The resorts are, however, built and owned by “outsiders”, who have no right to use the land, which is reserved for use by local people.
After that, they will continue their 700km march to Bangkok to submit a petition the Royal Palace.
Minister Varawut made clear today that neither the ministry nor the Royal Forest Department has any conflict with the local villagers, who retain the right to use the land in question.
He maintains that the land at Doi Mon Jam is owned by the state and, while the local people can use the land to make a living, they cannot sell it.