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Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact

Protect the Indigenous Karen to return home safely!

The Thai government must immediately step up to uphold the human rights of
the Karen Indigenous People in Bang Kloi

The Karen Indigenous Peoples of Bang Kloi used to live inside the Kaeng Krachan National Park in their original village (Bangloi Bon- Jai Paen Din) – a place they had lived in sustainably for hundreds of years.
However, due to alleged national security reasons, they were evicted in 1996. 70 village members have recently returned to their ancestral home in January 2021. The undersigned organisations are deeply concerned for their safety and call on the Government of Thailand to protect the Karen and respect the rights of the Karen to live on their ancestral land.

The area where the Karen used to live is on the Thailand-Myanmar Border, thus allegedly an area of national security concerns. In 2010-2011 the Indigenous Karen who returned home to their ancestral lands, was met with a deadly operation (Tenasserim Operation) which led to a second evacuation in 2011.

The relocation and rehabilitation was brutal for the Karen Indigenous People, whose human rights, Indigenous ways of life, and dignity was totally ignored in the process – despite a cabinet resolution from 3 August 2010 on the Recovery of Karen Livelihoods. The Karen are dependent on rotational farming and other traditional farming and livelihood practices, but in their new location, they were unable to practice these, and thus to survive independently. Instead, many of them had to seek employment as daily laborers outside their community, and most submerged into deep poverty.

The forced evictions violate the Thai Constitution of 2007 (particularly section 66, 67 of part 12), as well like international human rights law, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which Thailand voted in favor of.

Knowing the history of previous treatment of the Karen Indigenous Peoples residing in Kaeng Krachan, and their previous attempts to return home, the threat to their security is real. AIPP, IWGIA, Network of Indigenous Peoples in Thailand and their allies are deeply concerned about the safety of 70 Indigenous Karen who have returned home to their original village of Bangkloi Bon – Jai Paen Din2 in January 2021.

The Karen ethnic community members who have returned, fear a similar response from the government and are living in constant anxiety. We the undersigned organizations call on the state to urgently respond to the situation in protecting the community rights of the Karen Indigenous group, who have chosen to return to their original home.

You can read the full statement here: