Target: General Prayuth Chan-ocha, Leader of National Peace and Order Council
Goal: Investigate an attack against activists and protect community members from further violence
Great news for mining companies: there’s gold in the area surrounding the village of Nanongbong, Thailand. Bad news for villagers: the mining operation has been linked to a number of environmental and health hazards. Most recently, the situation has deteriorated enough to include human rights abuses as well, as at least one hundred armed and masked men descended upon the village to intimidate and beat its seven hundred residents. This mistreatment of Nanongbong’s residents has already gone on for far too long. Sign the petition and urge authorities to protect the villagers and investigate the attack they have suffered.
For years, the villagers of Nanongbong have been at odds with the Thung Kham mining company, which set up shop near the village in 2003. In 2012, the villagers complained that the company was contaminating the community’s water supply, an allegation that was backed up by a Ministry of Health warning that instructed villagers “not to consume water or aquatic animals from two public streams and their artesian wells in the area after pollution tests found traces of heavy metals and chemical substances, including cyanide,” the Bangkok Post reports. Villagers have also objected to the mine’s impact on farmland. The company was fined for pollution.
However, Thung Kham did not take the opportunity to make constructive changes in the area. Instead, the company decided to sue twenty-two villagers for a combined sum of 270 million baht ($8.3 million US). Not long after, the village was attacked by masked, armed men who held villagers hostage, beat them, and threatened them “before letting trucks move minerals from the mine.” The company denies that it had any part in the attack.
Community activists remain determined to fight this David-and-Goliath battle against Thung Kham, but their objective would be so much easier with the government supporting them. Sign the petition and urge authorities to recognize and investigate human rights abuses in Nanongbong and protect residents and activists from further violence and ill-treatment.
Dear General Prayuth,
The village of Nanongbong is currently the setting of a David-and-Goliath-style battle. On one side: the villagers of Nanongbong, who simply want to live their lives in peace and health. On the other side: Thung Kham, the mining company that has polluted the water supply, contaminated farmland, sued individual residents, and sent armed men to intimidate the village into cooperating. Government intervention in this tense situation is long overdue, and I urge you to investigate these attacks against Nanongbong and protect the villagers and activists living there.
Thung Kham has a long history of abuses in the Nanongbong area. In 2012, the Ministry of Health warned villagers not to drink water or eat fish from the streams around Nanongbong, as the supply had been contaminated by heavy metals, including cyanide. The company was punished for pollution and responded by taking out a multi-million baht lawsuit against twenty-two community members. It followed this up with an armed attack on the village that saw residents intimidated, beaten, and taken hostage.
Gross human rights abuses cannot be allowed to continue right under the government’s nose. It is time to step in and ensure that no more villagers are beaten, threatened, and harassed. It is time to take proper disciplinary action against Thung Kham and remind it that big business is not an exception to the law.
Please stand with the villagers of Nanongbong. Stop Thung Kham’s human rights abuses.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Patrick Huber via Wikimedia Commons