Cambodia: Community member threatened with arrest by military police over land dispute protest
June 2, 2015
On 1 June 2015, a land rights activist who organised protests was threatened with arrest by the military police in Kampot province. Police said that they would arrest him if he failed to produce land titles for the hundreds of families who are locked in a land dispute with the provincial government. The landless families have been living on 1,300 hectares of land in Decho Aphivat commune that was promised to them in 2012 as part of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s nationwide land-titling project. Since then, however, the plot has been set aside as social land concession for the families of some 240 military veterans, according to deputy provincial military police commander Sem Soeun.
On 26 May 2015, nine people, including three farmers’ rights activists, were sentenced to prison terms ranging from two to five months in connection with a plough protest held on military-held land in Mandalay Division’s Meikhtila District. The farmers had filed complaints several times with senior government officials but had been repeatedly ignored. In 2013, after staging a symbolic plough protest, they were arrested and charged with several counts including sedition. They have appeared in court over 70 times since. Tthe group has been transferred to Meikhtila prison where they will serve their terms.
On 12 May 2015, Mr Teresito Mula Labastilla, a former priest and human rights defender of indigenous people and farmers ,was killed by unknown assailants on a motorcycle. The victim was known for his advocacy for the environment and good governance. It is believed that he was killed due to his support to farmer beneficiaries in relation to their land struggle.
On 29 October 2013, Ms. Lascoña Tulid was shot point-blank by a man who was identified as Mr. Rannie Bugnot, trustee of an alleged land grabber in the area, Mr. Edwin Ausa. Ms. Tulid, who suffered gunshot wounds in the nape, mouth, left eye and left thigh, was pronounced dead on the spot. Her husband and daughter who were with here both managed to run away and seek help. It is reported that since the killing, Ms. Tulid’s Elisa’s husband, Mr. Danny Boy and their daughter have been suffering the trauma of witnessing the murder in front of them.
India: 6 land rights defenders arrested and intimidated
April 21, 2015
On 28 March 2015, six land rights defenders from Tadvi Tribe in the Kevadia Village of Narmada District in Gujarat, India were arbitrarily arrested, intimidated and harassed by the police. They were protesting landgrabs in their area as the Government of Gujarat wants to acquire 10 hectares for the construction of a hotel known as “Shreshtha Bharat Bhavan” under its tourism project. The six six were taken to an undisclosed location at 11.00am and released after 6.30pm They were booked under Section 68 and released under Section 69.
On 27 February 2015, Mr. Indra Pelani, an Indonesian community-based human rights defender and a farmer, was allegedly beaten to death by seven security guards of PT Wira Karya Sakti (WKS), a company owned by Asian Pulp and Paper (APP), in Jambi province, Indonesia.
On 25 March 2015, around 4pm, two cars stopped the Southern Peasants Federation of Thailand (SPFT) members’ car while they were traveling out of the Khlong Sai Pattana community. It is believed that SPFT members were stopped because their car was mistaken for that of human rights defenders and SPFT member Mr Pratheep Rakhanthong. He has received multiple death threats due to his leadership role in SPFT.
Thailand: military filed lawsuit against villager for posting photo of military’s forced eviction
March 27, 2015
On 24 March 2015, Mr. Adisak Yimram, an employee of the forest fire protection unit was summoned by the military officers from Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) of the northeastern province of Chaiyaphum. The officers filed a lawsuit against Mr. Yimram under article 14 of the Computer Crime Code for importing false information into a computer system.
Burma: 14 land rights activists arrested and charged
February 27, 2015
On the 26th February 2015, fourteen land rights activists protesting for the return of land they say was unlawfully confiscated by the former military regime, were arrested by authorities and charged with holding an illegal demonstration under section 18 of the Law on Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Processions. This controversial piece of legislation has been criticised by activists and rights groups for giving peaceful protesters heavy penalties and claim it is used to silence activism instead of protecting the right to demonstrate.
If convicted, the activists could face up to one year in jail and a fine of 30,000 kyat (U.S. $35).
Burma: 14 land rights activists sentenced to six months’ jail time for staging peaceful sit-in
February 18, 2015
On the 18th February 2015, fourteen (14) land rights activists were sentenced by a Rangoon court to six months each in jail for staging a sit-in outside City Hall, one of a number of protests that have been held by activists decrying a historic land grab that took place in 1990 in Michaungkan township, Rangoon. They were convicted of two charges under Article 18 of the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law. They also faced additional charges under articles 143 [unlawful assembly] and 341 [wrongful restraint] of the Penal Code.
This is not the first time a member of the Michaungkan activists has been criminalised; in July 2014 Sein Than, a community leader, was arrested and jailed for staging an ‘unauthorised’ protest.