CHIANG MAI - A group of ethnic Karen villagers in Doi Saket district on Sunday petitioned the government to scrap a policy on management of forest land because it harms their way of life.
Tribal villagers from two forest villages, Ban Huay Pha Tuen and Yom Ban Doi, in tambon Pa Miang of Doi Saket district, on Sunday submitted their petition to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin during his visit to the North.
The group asks the government to cancel the forest land management policy by the National Land Policy Board (NLPB); and implement a 2010 regulation on land and natural resources management from the Prime Minister’s Office and a cabinet resolution on Aug 3, 2010, which fully recognises the rights of ethnic minorities in Thailand.
Under the NLBP’s policy, the villagers risk losing land allocated to them to make a living, as they do not have absolute ownership of the land, said the group.
The villagers have occupied forest land over generations, even before the current forest land management system was created.
“The rights of people to live in a forest community simply aren’t recognised under the NLBP’s principles of forest land management. That’s why we’re calling for community land title deed,” said the group.
With community land deeds, ethnic villagers will be able to continue living and preserving their tribal way of life.
The NLBP’s so-called Green Economy policy to add more trees to forest areas by 40% in needs to stop as it provides more advantages to investors than local villagers, according to the group.
The group also demanded an apology from the government for violating the human rights of tribal peoples by implementing such problematic policies.