Thailand: Southern Peasants’ Federation wins court case after thirteen years | Welcome developments

Photo: Protection International

On 19 March 2021, after thirteen years, the land rights defenders of the Southern Peasants’ Federation of Thailand (SPFT) won an verdict from the Thai Administrative Court ordering the Department of Land and its affiliated authorities to revoke title deeds for 23 plots that have been unlawfully issued to palm oil plantations. The Court found the Directors General of Department of Land and Forestry Department have neglected their duties and the deeds must be retracted within 180 days. Lawyers say the Court has clearly ruled that the villagers have legal standing to bring the case to the court as well as the right to use natural resources within the land allocated by the State. This decision is the first of its kind for the SPFT, and many hope that the Department of Land will not appeal the verdict. Members of the SPFT, their lawyers from the Lawyers Council of Thailand and Protection International attended the 19 March court hearing for the verdict of the case concerning 20 land rights defenders of the Santi Pattana Community (photo). See more at Protection International.

Land defenders from the SPFT are among numerous human rights defenders in Thailand who have been subjected to judicial harassment. In June 2020, LRWC was among 53 groups and 23 individuals urging the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights and the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights and other agencies working on Business and Human Rights to intervene and highlight the ongoing situation of judicial harassment against women and men human rights defenders in Thailand.