Thai PM assures fair treatment of indigenous Karens in Pong Luek Bang Kloy

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has assured that all the ethnic Karen villagers, in Pong Luek Bang Kloy village in Phetchaburi’s Kaeng Krachan national park for each household, will have access to sufficient land on which to make a living and have a better quality of life, Ms. Ratchada Thanadirek, deputy government spokesperson, told the media on Friday.

She said that talks are being held with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to find a workable solution “so that humans and forests can co-exist.”

She disclosed that 260 villagers have already been allocated about 1.12 hectares of land in the national park on which to make a living, but there are 59 new settlers, who are now demanding 2.4 hectares for each household, for crop rotation farming for about 15 years.

This would mean that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment may have to cede 864 hectares of land to meet the needs of the new settlers, said M.s Ratchada.

The indigenous Karens claim they have ancestral rights to the land in Pong Luek Bang Kloy village since their forefathers were there well before their land was incorporated into a national park.

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