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A civil society organisation for poor communities in Thailand has rejected the jumta’s community forest bill, saying that landless communities will still suffer if the bill is enacted.  

Direk Kong-ngeun, a representative of People’s Movement for Just Society (P-Move), a civil society organisation which is the voice of marginalised communities in Thailand, on Monday submitted a petition to Tassana Boonthong, Deputy President of the National Reform Council (NRC), urging Thai lawmakers to amend the Community Forest Bill.

According to P-Move, the contents of the bill, which was initially proposed by P-Move and other NGOs, have been altered by the authorities to the point where it does not answer to the needs of marginalised communities in the country.

Members of P-Move submit the petition urging amendment of the Community Forest Bill to National Reform Council (NRC) members on 8 June 2015.

The petition was signed by 23,000 people who reject the current draft of the Community Forest Bill.

Direk pointed out that landless communities in Thailand would have to pay high rents for using public plots of land under the current draft bill.   

In addition to amending the bill, P-Move also called on the government to implement bills on community rights and a land bank, which would allow communities to utilise local natural resources.

Since June 2014, many landless communities which allegedly encroached into public land and protected areas have been affected by the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Order No. 64/2014, which applies strict legal measures to alleged land encroachers and poachers of illegal forest products.

In the past few weeks, the Thai authorities across the nation have seized many rubber plantations which allegedly encroach into protected areas.   

According to Atthapol Charoenshunsa, Director-General of the Forest Protection and Fire Control Bureau of the Royal Forest Department, the authorities plan to reclaim about 1.5 million rai (2,400 sq km) of alleged illegal rubber plantations across the country, the Bangkok Post reported.

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