Forest destruction and encroachment on public land are issues that have figured highly on the agenda of the current military government. Since 2014, the introduction and implementation of controversial legislations, cabinet resolutions and policies, including NCPO Orders no. 64/2014 and 66/2014, have restricted access and use of land and forestry land by marginalized and landless peasants, indigenous peoples, and villagers, despite previous recognitions by the Constitution of their rights and a long period of settlement on the land.
On 14 March 2017, the International Day of Action for Rivers, we, the Save the Mekong Coalition along with civil society and community partners from Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, make this statement to express our gratitude to the Mekong River and the way of life she supports. The Mekong is our mother river, home to unique biodiversity and a lifeline for millions of people throughout the river basin. We recognize the efforts of Mekong communities who are working to protect and preserve the unique ecosystems and resources of the river for future generations.
This morning, around 80 community members came together to participate in an event in Cambodia to commemorate International Women’s Day.
Of the participants, around 30 were local schoolchildren, with members of social movements and civil society organisations also participating, including two from Messenger Band, one from Social Action for Change and one from Focus on the Global South.
By Niabdulghafar Tohming and Matt Davidson
Prior to the arrival of tourists in the peak season of tourism which starts around November – December, Sea gypsies, or what Thais and foreigners call “Chao Le”, from coastal areas of the southern region of Thailand, travel and gather for their annual assembly called “Ngan Ruam Yat Chao Le”—the Assembly of the Sea Gypsies.