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Mining company withdraws lawsuits against Loei village activists in exchange for mine access

Information Release on Tungkum Limited Company (TKL) will withdraw nine legal cases against 33 villagers who are members of the anti-mining and land-rights group Khon Rak Ban Koed (KRBK).

The agreement between Tungkum Limited Company  and the Khon Rak Ban Koed Group  was signed on December 4, 2014. According to the agreement TKL will withdraw eight  legal cases against 33 villagers who are members of KRBK group on Monday December 8, 2014. The agreement was reached based on a
conditional exchange between TKL and the KRBK group members.

The withdrawal of the legal cases would take place as a result of the villagers allowing officials to remove the barricade they constructed blocking the road to the mine. The company will then move 1,600 tonnes of ore which had been previously inaccessible as a result of the mine being temporarily shut down.

The Khon Rak Ban Koed Group released the VDO statement today saying that; 'The agreement noted that both parties will do according to the law. The
company, when transporting the ore, will do so according to all laws and KRBK will also respect the law. However The KRBK will continue to have the right to exercise their fundamental human rights if they were violated.

This agreement only binds to remove the barricade and to allow the companyto transport the ore. It does not permit the company to re-open the mining operation. The KRBK affirmed their demand that the company has to permanently close the mine and allow the area to return to a healthy environment and ensure people's livelihoods which were destroyed by mining activities.' The agreement signing was witnessed by the Loei governor, the public prosecutor, the chief of army and the chief district. As of today, December 6, 2014, the company had already started to clear the road to prepare for the transport of the ore.

We welcome the agreement and hope the Tungkum Limited Company will immediately   withdraw all legal cases against the community human rights defenders (HRDs) as it states in the agreement.  However, we also remain concerned about the security of community based HRDs, especially for the
security protection of 10 Khon Rak Ban Koed Group leaders who have received death threats in the Loei province.

We implore the government to promptly respond to forthcoming attacks against HRDs. We encourage all stakeholders to continue to raise concerns before the Thai government and the Army with emphasis on the security protection of Khon Rak Ban Koed Group key leaders.

We call on the media and public to closely monitor the situation in Loei province's Wang Saphung district to ensure the safety of villagers and the protection of the people's livelihood in the affected areas


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