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On 1 Nov. 2016: Villagers of Ban Wan Ta Kian, Tambon Tha Sai Luad, Mae Sot District, Tak suing government agency for allegedly not legal issuing land title deeds related to Special Economic Zone policy per the NCPO Order no. 17/2558

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Thai version is attached

For immediate release on 29 October 2016

Press Release

Villagers of Ban Wan Ta Kian, Tambon Tha Sai Luad, Mae Sot District, Tak are filing a case before the Phitsanulok Administrative Court to determine whether the issuing of land title deeds to facilitate the setting up of the Special Economic Zone policy per the NCPO Order no. 17/2558 is lawful or not.

In pursuance to the promulgation of the NCPO Order no. 17/2558 on the procurement of land for use in the Special Economic Zone, invoking Section 44 of the 2014 Interim Constitution on 15 May 2015, an attempt has been made to designate land in the provinces of Tak, Mukdahan, Sra Kaew, Nong Khai, and Trat as Special Economic Zone to attract and incentivize investment.

The Tak Special Economic Zone is set as first priority in Phase One of the policy covering ten plots of land or 2,183 rai. Villagers of Ban Wan Ta Kian, Tambon Tha Sai Luad, Mae Sot District, Tak, have been living on this land and cultivating it since the village was first established, approximately in 1857. The SEZ policy will have a deep impact on the life and livelihood of at least 97 villagers.

Recently, the Ministry of Finance’s Tak Treasury Office has invoked the NCPO Order no. 17/2558 to apply for land title deeds covering the area of 2,183 rai, so that they can procure the land for purpose of the industrial development zone. Such move has affected a large number of villagers and together, as the Mae Sot Conservation Group, they have voiced concerns regarding the project and challenged the issuing of the land title deeds at the Land Office of Mae Sot District.

Meanwhile, an attempt has been made to negotiate with the villagers and convince them to withdraw their challenge and as a result, the majority of the villagers have already withdrawn their challenge leaving just the remaining six villagers who standing firm in their opposition to the issuing of land title deed. On 30th August 2016, the Land Official of the Land Office of Mae Sot District issued an order to the effect that the Ministry of Finance’s Tak Treasury Office have a better right over the villagers with regard to the land, and that the villagers, if not satisfied have to seek their own recourse.

Therefore, on 1 November 2016 at 13.00, six villagers including Mr.Panthong Putthatras, Mr. Kaew Intharak, Mrs. Phonphinan Chotiwiriyanon, Mrs. Noi Saentha, Mrs.Naphaphon Muncharoenphon and Mrs. Buatong Khrueakhamwang, will file a case against the Ministry of Finance (by the Tak Treasury Office of Tak) and the land official of the Tak Land Office of Mae Sot District with the Phitsanulok Administrative Court (the Court of Jurisdiction). The Court shall be asked to determine if the issuing of land title deeds in the name of Ministry of Finance (by the Tak Treasury Office of Tak) is lawful or not.

It is hoped that such determination by the Court will set precedent regarding the liability of the state when launching a program that impacts upon community rights, land rights, rights to self-determination and the right to participate in decision making processes that impacts upon their lives. It is hoped that such determination by the Court will also have an impact on other SEZ projects in the country.

For more information, please contact;

Mr. Sumitchai Huttasan, attorney, the Center for Protection and Recovery of Local Community Rights (CPRLCR), phone 053-230072, 083- 6284239

Mr. Preeda Nakpew, attorney, the Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF), phone 089-6222474

Attached file: 2016_10_29-villagers-of-wangtakien-filed-a-complaint-to-administrative-court-related-land-tille-deed-and-ncpo-order-17-2015-new

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