News : Article

Public left out of development planning

Graphic: NHRC office sign

The Commission will report to the government on its investigation into alleged human rights violations in the Tak Special Economic Development Zone.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) will report to the government after its investigation into alleged human rights violations in the Tak Special Economic Development Zone (SEZ).

The NHRC concluded that a key problem in the dispute was the lack of opportunity for public involvement in the issue, The Nation reported.

Local authorities told the NHRC that there was still no clear plan to relieve and compensate people who would be affected by the creation of the special development area at Tambon Tasailurt in Tak's Mae Sot District.

Such an area is intended for industrial, commercial and tourism investment, and can be considered an industrial estate according to the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand law.

Tuenjai Deetes, the NHRC member on communal rights, said that from the inspection of the proposed site for a special development area, the NHRC found a major concern was that local people did not have a chance to be involved on the decision-making or even being properly informed about the special development area's creation.

Prayong Doklamyai, the NHRC subcommittee member on communal rights, said the use of special powers under Article 44 of the interim charter to designate a special development area without a public referendum was unjust and violated the locals' rights.

"It is improper that the state allocates the land for private investors by using the poor people's land. If they (investors) want to invest in the SEZ, they should purchase the land themselves," Prayong said.

He said that at least the government should allow the people to consider their fate themselves and the referendum among only 1,000 people to create an SEZ that covered the area of 14 tambons in three districts was wrong.

Another NHRC subcommittee member on communal rights, Hannarong Yaowalers,also said people faced threats from the authorities if they protested to the SEZ.

Date: 20 May 2016

Source: The Nation


Image credits

  1. NHRC office sign - APF/James Iliffe