Karen to oppose Kaeng Krachan world heritage bid

Karen to oppose Kaeng Krachan world heritage bid

Karen people living in Bang Kloy village in Phetchaburi's Kaeng Krachan district have urged the UN's cultural body not to consider the government's proposal to register Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex as a new world heritage site.

They submitted a letter to Unesco's World Heritage Committee yesterday, calling on it to put the Thai bid on hold until their decade-long dispute with the government over forestry land rights and other legal issues are resolved.

The move comes as the World Heritage Committee meets online between July 16 and 31. World heritage status for the Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex was reportedly on the committee's agenda.

Three conditions needed to be met before world heritage status could be awarded, the Bang Kloy villagers' letter said. They were allowing them to return to what they say is their ancestral home in the village at Bang Kloy Bon, halting government legal action against 28 Karen villagers, and allocating farmland to people who choose to stay in Bang Kloy.

"We hope the committee will understand our demands," the villagers said.

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