Thai Enviros Risk Their Lives to Fight Coal Plants, Toxic Dumping
Environmentalists fighting coal plants and toxic dumping in Thailand “have an unfortunate tendency to turn up dead,” Al Jazeera America revealed in a recent feature report.
“In recent decades, campaigners against coal-fired power plants, garbage dumps, and mining projects have faced constant threats,” Schatz writes. “According to a report from Global Witness, a non-profit based in Washington, DC, 16 Thai environmentalists were murdered between 2002 and 2013.”
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And “other experts say the number rises to more than 30 when cases involving land rights, and broader human rights issues, are included. The perpetrators are often $500 hit men assumed to be linked to local business interests.”
Threats against environmental activists have a long history in Thailand, Schatz explains. “The murky, often-violent confrontations over energy and resource projects constitute a little-told story in a country that has long had a reputation as one of Southeast Asia’s most democratic, prosperous nations.” With a military junta consolidating power and limiting civil rights after a coup in 2014, “some activists fear that the climate for environmental activism will worsen.” (h/t to InsideClimate News for first pointing us to this story)