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)
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