Mekong Region

Land Struggles III: Keeping Land Local

Announcing "Keeping Land Local: Reclaiming Governance from the Market," the third issue of the Briefing Paper Series on Land Struggles by Focus on the Global South, the Global Campaign for Agrarian Reform, and Land Research Action Network. You can download a free PDF in high resolution or low resolution.

It is now 622 days since Sombath Somphone, an eminent Lao thinker, development visionary and our dear friend, was abducted from a police post by men in police uniforms on a busy street in Vientiane, Lao PDR. His disappearance was captured on CCTV cameras installed to facilitate public security. Locating him and returning him safely to his family, and bringing his perpetrators to justice would not have been difficult. But to date, more than 18 months days since his abduction, Sombath remains missing, a victim of enforced disappearance.

As trade and investment flows rapidly increase across Southeast Asia, several countries have experienced a surge in large land deals for plantation agriculture. Against this backdrop, civil society organisations have been using a wider range of legal tools to promote public accountability in investment processes. These include scrutinising the negotiation of international treaties, challenging national legal frameworks, raising local awareness about rights, and testing approaches for local consultation and redress.

There are occasional references to the Edsa Uprising, with one speaker saying, “The Filipinos did it in nine days.  We can do it, too.”  The event to which he was comparing the Bangkok mass protests was the original Edsa Revolution that toppled Marcos in 1986, not to the more appropriate middle-class rebellion that removed Joseph Estrada from the presidency in 2002.

Thailand’s EDSA 2?

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