Activists urge justice for poor
Civic networks on Monday called on the government to address land and housing problems facing the poor in both urban communities and rural areas.
The call was made at a gathering of 2,000 members of the Four Region Slums Network (FRSN) and People's Movement for a Just Society (P-Move) as they handed their demands to City Hall, the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry, the Transport Ministry, United Nations headquarters on Ratchadamnoen Avenue, and Government House.
The gathering was held to mark World Habitat Day 2019 on Monday.
Sombun Khongkha, president of the FRSN, said Bangkok is a large and densely populated city where many face housing insecurity. The network wants City Hall to focus on homeless people, and the government to speed up implementation of its 20-year housing development master plan (2017-2036) to achieve tangible results, she said.
The network asked City Hall to build homes costing no more than 150,000 baht each, under the government's Baan Mankong Scheme for low-income people. It also wants communities with fewer than 100 households to be registered under the scheme.
The FRSN also urged the State Railway of Thailand to arrange land for 260 communities facing eviction from SRT-owned plots and from areas earmarked for rail development projects, and halt legal action against them.
Meanwhile, P-Move demanded that the government implement policies to protect agricultural land from being exploited for other purposes, ensure fair distribution of land ownership, and give communities more rights to manage land resources.
Other demands include using state-owned land for low-cost housing in urban communities, and for housing loans at no more than 2% annual interest.
The National Urban Poor Community Federation is organising activities under the theme "Collective Housing" this month, to educate the public on problems facing the poor.
Community leaders from around the world will attend a "Collective Housing" seminar on Thursday, said the federation's Aramsri Chansuksri.