World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Disappearance of a Karen Hill-Tribe Human Rights Defender

Demanding Immediate Explanation and Investigation by Relevant Officials Regarding the Disappearance of a Karen Hill-Tribe Human Rights Defender

According to a news report, Mr. Billy or Por Cha Lee Rakcharoen has disappeared since the afternoon of April 17th 2014. At the time of his disappearance he was believed to be travelling from his village in the mountains to Kaengkrachan district. Mr. Billy has been helping his fellow Karen villagers in their struggle for recognition of indigenous land rights in the Kaengkrachan National Park, specially in the case against the authorities that at present is pending before the courts.

On April 18th, the Head of Kaengkrachan National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Office Mr. Chaiwat Limlikitaksor admitted that Mr. Billy had been detained and taken for interrogation as a wild honeycomb and six bottles of wild honey had been found in the possession of Mr. Billy. Mr. Limlikitaksor also claimed that Mr. Billy had been released.

However, activists allege that neither the report of detention nor any evidence of release of Mr. Billy from detention had been disclosed by the authorities.

It is almost 73 hours since Mr. Billy's disappearance. His fellow villagers have made several attempts to contact Mr. Billy, but there is no information about his whereabouts and well being. On April 19th 2014, the villagers filed a complaint with the local police regarding his disappearance.

According to information received, at the time of his disappearance Mr. Billy was travelling from his mountain village to the Kaengkrachan District in order to meet with his fellow villagers and activists and prepare for the upcoming court hearing in the lawsuit filed by the villagers against the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment, and the Head of Kaengkrachan National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Office. In the lawsuit the villagers have claimed that in July 2011, the authorities were responsible for the destruction and burning of houses and property of more than 20 Karen hill-tribe families who were living in the Bangkloybon Villages in Kaengkrachan National Park. Research studies have confirmed that the villagers belong to an indigenous Karen ethnic group who has been living in the area near of Bangkloybon Villages since many generations for more than 100 years.

The case between the authorities in Kaengkrachan National Park and the Bangkloybon villagers is a clear example of the structural problems, which lead to lawsuits demanding recognition and protection of indigenous rights to land and traditional ways of life. This struggle has also led to the assassination of a human rights defender Mr. Tassanakamol Aobeaom on 10 September 2011. Although Mr. Chaiwat, the Head of Kaengkrachan National Park Office was accused of hiring someone to kill Mr. Aobeaom and the case is pending court decision, Mr. Chaiwat continues to hold office as the Head of the Kaengkrachan National Park Office. No action was taken to suspend him from his official duties pending investigation as required under disciplinary regulation and practice governing state officials under Thai law.

Mr. Billy is a human rights defender and a witness in the case villagers' lawsuit against the National Park Office as above mentioned. His disappearance is a matter of grave concern as it may affect the case and the struggle of the villagers for rights and justice.

Enforced disappearances often occur when authorities refuse to disclose the fate or whereabouts of the persons arrested and detained by them. Such an act violates the fundamental rights and freedoms, most importantly the rights to life and security of a person as well as human dignity. The State, therefore, has the obligation under international law to ensure full respect for and protection of such rights.

Cross Cultural Foundation demand immediate explanation from relevant authorities regarding the disappearance of Mr. Billy. We also urges all parties throughout the line of command of responsible authorities including police to investigate the matter such that information about the whereabouts of Mr. Billy is disclosed promptly.

It is universally respected principle of human rights which demands that no States shall practice, permit or tolerate enforced disappearance. As reaffirmed in the Declaration on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 18th, 1992, that States shall take effective action to prevent, terminate and investigation the acts of enforced disappearance and, most importantly, to find and rescue victims and bring perpetrators to justice as soon as possible. Furthermore, any persons alleged to have committed any acts of enforced disappearance shall be suspended from any official duties during the investigation.

ends


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Breaking: Israel Shelling Beit Hanoun Hospital

The Israeli military have started to shell and shoot at Beit Hanoun hospital. There are still 61 medical staff and civilians, three patients and two International Solidarity Movement volunteers trapped inside. More>>

UN: Urgent Action To End Female Genital Mutilation UN: Urgent Action To End Female Genital Mutilation

New UN data shows need for urgent action to end female genital mutilation, child marriage More>>

World News: SRI LANKA: Justice Denied To Two Child Victims Of Rape
There have been reports of an alleged abduction and rape of an eleven-year-old girl by a group of Navy officers, and of another nine-year-old girl treated in a similar manner. More>>

‘Global Epidemic’ Of Anti-Semitism NGO Urges UN To Condemn ‘global Epidemic’ Of Anti-Semitism

French riot police officers face rioters in Sarcelles, a suburb north of Paris, on July 20, 2014. More>>


IDF Falsifies Photograph To Justify Bombing El-Wafa Hospital IDF Falsifies Photograph To Justify Bombing El-Wafa Hospital

On the 21st July at 2:17 PM, the IDF spokesperson released an image on twitter showing an aerial picture of a building marked as ‘Al-Wafa’ hospital. In the image there is a red circle, which they designated as the location from which a M75 rocket was ... More>>

MH17: Black Boxes Recovered by Malaysian Government

'Following the agreement Prime Minister Najib Razak brokered with rebel leaders, Malaysia has taken custody of flight MH17's black boxes. As the Prime Minister said, they will be passed to the international investigation team for analysis. More>>

ALSO:


Gaza Update On 15th Day Of The Israeli Offensive

Dozens of Palestinian Civilians Killed or Wounded as Israeli Forces Attack Apartment Buildings, Mosques, Hospitals and Schools; White Phosphorous Bombs and Flechette Shells Fired by Israeli Forces in Border Areas... More>>

Al Jazeera: Egypt Verdict Defies Logic And Any Semblance Of Justice

Following today’s verdict in Cairo, Al Jazeera English managing director Al Anstey said: “Today three colleagues and friends were sentenced, and will continue behind bars for doing a brilliant job of being great journalists. More>>


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news