Thailand: We condemn the violent crackdown on peasants’ peaceful protest against the APEC 2022 meeting!

The government must unconditionally release the detained peaceful protesters and immediately compensate for any loss.

La Via Campesina’s Statement | Bagnolet | 18 November 2022

Thailand belongs to its people, including its commons, land, forests, minerals, seas, and rivers. Millions of Thai people who are peasants, fisher folk, and other small-scale producers depend on these common goods to sustain their lives and livelihood. But the current administration of Prayuth Chan-Ocha is manipulating the APEC2022 meeting to rubber stamp the economic policy, the so-called Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) Economy, which is to destroy lives and natural resources in Thailand. The policy was designed to grab lands and common goods from the hands of Thai people for corporates.

The current government has never listened to the voices of the people of Thailand. When the Assembly of the Poor (AOP), a member of La Via Campesina in Thailand, demanded his responsibility, he used his officials to block, arrest, criminalize, and violence against AOP members. 

The AOP members joined a peaceful protest against the APEC2022 meeting on November 18, 2022, together with many grassroots people and organizations. Their primary demand is for the Thai government to respect our peasants’ rights. They denounce policies that grab our land, forests, and commons, in the name of carbon credit trading policies. They demand that BCG policy must be terminated immediately. Nonetheless, the rights of people to peaceful assembly were denied when the people demonstrated at the Sirikit Convention Center. The police violently attacked the people, and many were injured and arrested.

We send our international solidarity to our members of AOP in Thailand and demand the following:

  1. We condemn the brutal crackdown by the Thai government and the police against the people who practice their rights to peaceful assembly. The government and police must respect and realize the fundamental rights of our members enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and also the UN Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas (UNDROP);
  2. The government and the police must release Baramee Chairayat, Paitoon Soisod, and other AOP members and people who were arrested without condition. Protecting our land and common goods is not a crime;
  3. The government must compensate for injury and any loss of properties immediately, without condition;
  4. We stand with AOP members and Thai people in demanding the termination of BCG policies, and we stand firm against neoliberal policies practised and promoted at the APEC2022 meeting.

La Via Campesina also denounces that what is happening in Thailand is not an isolated event. Unfortunately, these acts of criminalization and persecution are part of the reality experienced by millions of peasants and rural peoples around the world. We speak out with dignity and with a call to seek justice in the face of such violence and impunity.

Globalize struggle, globalize hope!