CityNews – On April 22nd at 9.30 a.m., Sakda Sangmee, Secretary of the Network of Indigenous Peoples in Thailand (NIPT) coordinated a gathering in front of Chiang Mai City Hall. He has filed a complaint to Governor Wichian Puttiwinyu about the disappearance of Pojalee Rakjongjalern (also known as Billy), leader of Baan Bang Loi Karen village.
Billy has for a long time been a human rights activist in Amphur Kaeng Krachan, Phetchaburi. He was last seen on April 17th.
Sakda told reporters that Billy played an important role in protecting people human’s rights. He brought charges against Kaeng Krachan national park rangers in the human rights court in 2011 after they allegedly set fire to his village. Billy was also due to be a key witness in the Administrative Court in May. For a long time there have been tensions between Baan Bang Loi Karen village and the head of Kaeng Krachan National Park, Chaiwat Limlikhit-aksorn, after Billy sued Chaiwat and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP).
The complaint letter lists many suspicious points concerning Billy’s disappearance. The Karen Network for Culture and Environment (KNCE), Network of Indigenous people in Thailand (NIPT) as well as 23 Non-Governmental Organisations have demanded that the Royal Thai Police find Billy as soon as possible. They also asked police to protect his family and heads of the Baan Bang Loi community and also investigate Chaiwat Limlikhit-aksorn.
If Thai officials fail to act immediately the group will take their plea to the United Nations Human Rights Council, The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), and The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII).