6 June 2024

Karens in the upper Bangkloi village, in Kaeng Krachan National Park of Phetchaburi province, are proposing that the National park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department allocate 2.4 hectares to each family for farming, after the government has been trying to relocate them to the lower Banggloy village.

This Karen tribe has been living in Bangkloi since before the area was declared a national park in 1981. There have been many attempts to relocate them, citing the need to preserve the watershed forest. Those who agreed to move claim that they have not received help from the government as promised, resulting in some of them moving back.

On Monday, there was a protest at Pathumwan intersection in Bangkok, calling for the government to withdraw security forces from the Banggloy area. The Minister of Natural Resources and Environment agreed to the demand and promised no further intimidation.

Tomorrow, however, representatives of the Bangkloi community will submit a petition to the Human Rights, Justice and Law commission at parliament, seeking a probe into the operation, which the officials claim is to protect the watershed forest in Banggloy. They will also demand that the Natural Resources and Environment minister, the director-general of the National park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department and relevant officials “explain themselves” over the operation which, they say, has violated villager’s rights.