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Forest livelihoods in Thailand threatened by ill-defined land rights
As the government of Thailand considers resurrecting a controversial land reform plan, the overarching issue of individual land rights is gaining greater attention. Writing for the Bangkok Post, Veera Prateepchaikul highlights the sor por kor 4-01 land reform scandal which brought down the democrat-led government in 1984. At the time, high level government officials were accused of illegally granting land certificates to business associates while ignoring the original intent of the reform – to enfranchise landless citizens and poor agriculturalists.
“The sor por kor 4-01 land reform scheme was intended to solve the problem of widespread illegal occupation of state land in forest reserves or national parks by providing land certificates to the land grabbers who are actually landless poor. The scheme was however badly abused as rich people also grabbed the state land, especially prime plots with commercial prospect, and tried to claim the land rights.”
Now, as the democratically led government moves toward reinstituting the same reform, there are fears that it could result in further scandal resulting in further marginalization of landless poor and increased forest depletion.
Individual land rights are gaining greater attention as government-proposed nature reserves and parks continue to disrupt local livelihoods. The Bangkok Post recently published an investigative series on local land rights by Supara Janchitfah which highlights the fear, frustration, disbelief and anger felt by local forest dwellers who face possible eviction from their lands due to ill-defined government policy.
Read the series by Supara Janchitfah:
Posted By Lopaka Purdy at 1:20pm on February 17, 2009
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