Thailand: See video about forceful eviction of indigenous Karen from Kaeng Krachan national park
In the video "When Can We Go Back? The Rights of Indigenous Peoples to their Lands" AIPP, with support from IWGIA, tells the story of how a community of Karen indigenous people has been displaced from their ancestral land in Thailand’s national park Kaeng Kretan.
In 2011 the villagers living in the forest of Kaeng Kretan national park was evicted from their homes by armed Thai forces. They witnessed their homes being burned to the ground and the killings of their livestock. The forceful evictions are a violation of the Karen’s collective rights to their ancestral territories. These rights are clearly stated in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which Thailand voted to adopt at the United Nations General Assembly in 2007. The Thai government’s reason for the evictions was that the indigenous community’s traditional farming practices are destroying the environment, and that the evicted Karen are illegal migrants from Myanmar. These allegations are however not true. The indigenous Karen have been living in the area for more than a hundred years and have all along been practicing their traditional rotational farming. Studies has shown that such agricultural practices do not harm the ecosystem. The displacement of the community to the lowlands of northern Thailand has caused an increase in illness, conflicts, and poverty due to poor options for earning a living in the cities. In addition to this the shared traditions of the Karen are being lost and old members of the community often find themselves alone with no one to take care of them. As of August 2013 the Karen community, indigenous to the forest og Kaeng Krachan, is still waiting to be allowed back into the national park and their original village. Last year IWGIA supported the organization Indigenous Peoples’ Foundation for Education and Environment (IPF) to provide legal assistance to the Karen community from Kaeng Krachan and assist the communities in raising awareness about the eviction at both national and international level
Tags: Land rights