Sea nomads take struggle over alleged land encroachment to Bangkok

Sea nomads take struggle over alleged land encroachment to Bangkok

The sea nomads are taking their fight against the supposed land invasion to Bangkok. The nomads are part of the Moken minority, a group of semi-nomadic Austronesians living in Thailand's coastal provinces and inhabiting over 800 islands in the Andaman Sea.

Today, a group of Mokens from Koh Lipe held a rally in front of the Ministry of Finance demanding justice for the alleged land trespass and intimidation.

The coordinator of the Moken of Andaman Network stated that the land grab granted to a powerful figure encroaches on the land of a school on the island of Koh Adang. Coordinator Wittawat Thepsong said the invasion is blocking access to beaches and the sea.

He said Moken indigenous people used to have free access to beaches and the sea, but now they are being denied such access, according to Thai PBS.

This morning, the group filed a petition with the official representative of the UN office in Bangkok demanding an investigation into alleged human rights violations.

Koh Lipe and Koh Adang are popular tourist destinations in the Tarutao National Park, located about 15 minutes from each other.

Tensions over the recent alleged land invasion have been running high since last month, with students gathering outside the school to protest.

The number of moken is less than 3000 people. They have lived in the region with land bases on Koh Lipe for centuries.

Since 2006, the commission has received 14 complaints concerning local land rights and has investigated nine of them.

According to Vasan Paylikli of the NHRC, the NHRC made recommendations to verify land rights, protected cultural sites and public spaces. Little has been done to solve problems.

Last month, Wasan called on all concerned to recognize the rights of the Moken people and follow the UN principles on business and human rights. Vasan said he would ask the prime minister's office to monitor the situation.