Human rights defender Chai Bunthonglek killed at home in Thailand

February 12, 2015

Frontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - cropped reports that on 11 February 2015, land rights defender Mr Chai Bunthonglek was shot and killed at his home in Chaiburi District, Thailand, by an unknown man. Reportedly, the perpetrator fired six bullets at the human rights defender.

[Chai Bunthonglek was a member of the Southern Peasants’ Federation of Thailand – SPFT, a network formed in 2008 to campaign for the right to agricultural land. Chai Bunthonglek is the fourth member of SPFT who has been killed. On 19 November 2012, Ms Montha Chukaew and Ms Pranee Boonrat were shot by unknown individuals near the village of Khlong Sai Pattana in Surat Thani Province. In 2010, Ms Somporn Pattaphum was also shot dead in the area.]

The killing follows the recent incommunicado detention of Mr Pianrat Boonrit, the President of SPFT, on 3 February 2015. The human rights defender was released by the military on 5 February 2015, reportedly on condition that he would mediate between the army and the Premsub Community, and urge the community to leave the area. Allegedly, Pianrat Boonrit was threatened with seven days’ detention if he did not convince the community to leave the land. The human rights defender had been arrested and detained when he presented himself at the Vibhavadi Rangsit Military Camp, Surat Thani Province, in response to a summons to attend an “attitude adjustment camp” for three days.

Front Line Defenders strongly condemns the killing of Chai Bunthonglek, which it believes to be directly linked to his peaceful and legitimate work in the defence of land rights. Front Line Defenders is gravely concerned for the physical and psychological integrity and security of Pianrat Boonrit and other members of SPFT.

The plight of land rights defenders was the focus of the annual report of the Observatory last year, see:

2 Responses to “Human rights defender Chai Bunthonglek killed at home in Thailand”

  1. […] The National Council for Peace and Order, a cover created by the Thai military after the 12th military coup in Thailand, shares characteristics with its Chinese counterpart. The coup in Thailand witnessed to arbitrary arrests and detention of lawyers and human rights defenders. Human rights defenders and lawyers in Thailand undertake their work under extremely hazardous conditions. Many are prevented from traveling outside the country, having had their passports seized by the government. Like their Chinese counterparts, human rights defenders in Thailand do not have any domestic protection framework. The Judiciary in Thailand is neither independent nor mature. [see also:…] […]

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