myanmar Statement

The Joint Transboundary Network of Civil Societypublic statement on Thai mining case in Myanmar filed a lawsuit against the former editor of GreenNews Agency

According to Myanmar Pongpipat Co Ltd., a Thai mining company operating in Myanmar, has reported the case against  Mr. Pratch Rujivanarom, the then Editor of GreenNews, for the report on “Myanmar Court Ordering Thai Mining Company to Compensate Dawei Villager for 2.4 Million Baht as a result of the environmental damage caused by tin mining” published in the GreenNews’s website on 13 January 2020 on the charges of insult by publication.   

The article alludes to the verdict of the Dawei Lower Court which orders Myanmar Pongpipat Co Ltd to provide 114,800,000 Kyat (around 76,533 USD or 2.4 million baht) as compensation to Mr. Saw Dah Shwe, a villager of Kabanshaw Village located by the mining area. In 2015, Mr. Saw Dah Shwe has filed the case with the Dawei Court against the company demanding compensation covering the damage of his property including 882 betelnut trees which had died as a result of the mining operation. Sewage and ore tailings have inundated and caused extensive damage to the property and the environment.    

“The Thailand-Myanmar Transboundary Network of Civil Society has been monitoring transboundary investment and its impacts of human rights and the environment and we have found the freedom of expression of the press is enshrined in both domestic laws including the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand’s Section 35 which prescribes that “A media professional shall have liberty in presenting news or expressing opinions in accordance with professional ethics” and international human rights laws including Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Thailand is a state party. The restriction of such freedom of expression can only be made if it is provided for by law and it has to be done so proportionately and necessarily to fulfill the legitimate legal purposes. Therefore, the criminalization of the exercise of freedom of expression, particularly press freedom, shall inflict fear among the media and human rights defenders. Reporting on environmental and human rights issues always serves public interest.  

“In addition, we are concerned about the use of criminal defamation law to restrict the right to freedom of opinion and freedom of expression and to intimidate HRDs and journalists. We condemn the use of insult law to harass journalists and the affected community. Such an act constitutes the Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP).

“We also urge the public prosecutor in Nakhon Pathom to not indict Mr. Prat Rujiwanaom, Editor of GreenNews, to assert and support the right to freedom of expression and the reporting of news that serves public interest.  This can help to ensure transparency and accountability and other human rights protection. Thailand and the public shall benefit when HRDs, journalists and the media afford the protection when executing their duties peacefully and faithfully to their professional ethics and are able to work without fearing any intimidation and judicial harassment.  

“The case is also related to the transboundary investment which affects human rights and the environment. We therefore demand that the company, the Thai government and concerned agencies place an importance on operating businesses and promoting businesses which are not involved with human rights violation in any stage according to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) based on its three principles including protect, respect and remedy. In addition, an adherence should be made to the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAP)’s Phase One (2019-2023) and Thailand is regarded as the first country in Asia to have finalize such action plan and formally endorsed it. The action plan includes measures to prevent such SLAPP cases and measures on transboundary investment of businesses from Thailand to ensure it shall not lead to human rights violation in the destined country of the investment.  

“Last but not least, we fervently hope the company, the businesses and the state sector shall respond to the demands to refrain from harassing HRDs and media by exploiting the legal loopholes and the judicial process as a means to stifle the right to freedom of expression and the reporting of news that serves public interest. In addition, an importance must be placed on international obligations as mentioned earlier”.

Organization;

  1. ETOs Watch Coalition
  2. The Mekong Butterfly
  3. EARTH
  4. Spirit in Education Movement (Myanmar)
  5. EnLaw
  6. Center for Protection and Revival of Local Community (CPCR)
  7. Land Watch Thailand
  8. EEC Watch
  9. Eco-Cultural Studies Group
  10. Eastern Forest Protection Network
  11.  WeMove
  12.  iLaw
  13.  Single-parent family association, Surin Province
  14.  Rak Chiang Khong Group
  15.  Community Art
  16.  Realframe
  17.  TCIJ
  18.  The Isaander
  19.  Law Long Beach
  20.  Khao Khuha Community Rights Protection Association
  21.  Mekong Watch

Individuals;

  1. Teerachai Sanjaroenkijthaworn
  2. Supaporn Malailoy
  3. Krit Sangsurin
  4. Sasiprapa Raisanguan
  5. Naruemon Jaijuntuk
  6. Pariyakorn Tongwan
  7. Srayuth Nakmanee
  8. Surachai Trongngam
  9. Sumitrchai Hattasarn
  10. Assist Prof. Dr. Tanapol Penrat
  11. Assist Prof. Dr. Darunee Paisanpanichkul
  12. Kornkanok Watthanabhumi
  13. Songkran Pongbunjan
  14. Korawan Buadoktoom
  15. Pornpana Kuayjaroen
  16. Tiwa Tangon
  17. Somboon Kamhang
  18. Chalefun Ditphudee
  19. Kittima Kunthong
  20. Juthamas Srihatthapadungkij
  21. Somnuck Jongmeewasin
  22. Wasinee pabuprapap
  23. Prim Mneechot
  24. Apisit Subnaphapun
  25. Rattanaporn Juakeaw
  26. Wannisa Janhom
  27. Sunipha Ruamsup
  28. Tara Buakamsri
  29. Worawut Tamee
  30. Tantorn Karnmungmee
  31. Tanakrit Thongfa
  32. Pornchita Fahpratanprai  
  33. Pornpen Kongkajornkrit
  34. Assist. Prof. Saowanee Kaewjulakarn
  35. Sunee Chairos
  36. Tewarit Maneechai
  37. Nuttaphol Mekosophon
  38. Prasitchai Noonuan
  39. Watcharawaree Kambunruang 
  40. Intira Manakul
  41. Somporn Pengkam
  42. Jariya Senpong
  43. Suwit Kularbwong
  44. Tanakorn Audpradit
  45. Wichai Juntavaro
  46. Jamorn Sornpetchnarin
  47. Thitipan Pattanamongkol
  48. Karnsinee Urairat
  49. Kan Tattiyakul
  50. Raslaphas Kaweewat
  51. Phairin Sohsai
  52. Thitarat Kaewbuasri
  53. Jon Ungphakorn
  54. Passakorn Jumlongratch
  55. Sittiporn Netniyom
  56. Jittima Pholsawek
  57. Prasart Nirundonprasert
  58. Areewan Sombunwatthanakun
  59. Natchanan Klaharn
  60. Kunawut Bunlert
  61. Yiamyut Sutthichaya
  62. Rattanaporn Kamenkij  
  63. Luntharimar Longcharoen
  64. Jack Jenkins Hill
  65. Supakij Nuntavorakarn
  66.  – 315. 250 Myanmar people that could not reveal their names  

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