Mining company should drop defamation lawsuits, NGOs say

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ABOUT 11 non-government groups have called for a mining company, Tungkum Limited (TKL), to drop its defamation lawsuit against two leading members of the Khon Rak Ban Koed Group (KRBK) in Loei province.

In a statement issued on Monday, the group revealed that Surapan Rujichaiwat and Porntip Hongchai had received court summonses on September 13 over defamation charges.

The former was accused of damaging the company’s reputation via an interview with TNN24 and the latter via an interview on Nation TV in May.

The company also has also demanded that the two defendants publish the court verdict in five main daily newspapers for 30 days and be responsible for the expenses.

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The NGOs’ statement said the company had filed seven criminal and civil lawsuits against Surapan, demanding more than Bt270 million in compensation, while Porntip faces one criminal and civil case, with a demand of Bt70 million.

The statement also claimed that the two defendants faced the risk of being attacked, injured or even killed, especially after the “Black May 15 Incident” when a group of armed men reportedly used violence against Loei protesters.

The NGOs also demanded that the Army and TKL engage in a serious and sincere dialogue with the KRBK Group, the affected villagers and human rights activists to ensure justice.

They called on the authorities to urgently put in place effective measures to protect and promote people’s community rights and ensure their livelihood is protected.

They also called for laws that ensure the recognition and protection of economic, social and cultural rights as well as provided protection for whistleblowers.

The NGOs called on the public to recognise community-based rights activists’ work, make emergency funds available to activists, observe Surapan and Porntip’s trials and let the Foreign Ministry know about people’s rights being violated directly or indirectly by companies or investors.

The Nation September 17, 2014

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