Thailand: Networks calls for just response to monk's murder
The Buddhist Channel, June 22, 2005
Northern Development Monks Network Calling for the Immediate and Just Response to the murder of Phra Supoj Suvacano
San Francisco, USA -- The Buddhist Peace Fellowship (BPF) received the following information from Santikaro, a longtime BPF member and formerly a monk in Suan Mokh. Phra Supoj Suvacano, the monk murdered on June 17, was a good friend of Santikaro's and had been working to protect a plot of forest in the Chiang Mai province of Thailand. BPF will post suggested actions as we receive them.
On June 17, 2005, Phra Supoj Suvacano (Duangprasert), aged 39, with 13 years in robes, was brutally murdered. Phra Supoj Suvacano resided at Mettadhamma Forest Sanctuary Dhamma Center in Ban Huay Ngunai, Tambol Sansai, Ampoe Fang, Chiang Mai Province in Northern Thailand. He was a member of the Sekhiyadhamma Group of development monks and involved in the conservation of more than 700 rai (280 acres) of forest.
This land has been desired by a group of "local influential businessman" (local mafia) who have previously attempted to scare away the monks living there with threats of violence and murder. Further, in 2002, they have previously done bodily harm to one of the laymen helping to look after the Dhamma Center. Currently there are many pending cases in connection with this land.
The Northern Development Monks Network believes that this case may be connected with local influential persons (mafia) and so fear that this case will drag on and never reach resolution, and that the victims will never receive justice in the process. The monks are calling for the following parties carry out their responsibilities immediately:
- For the government to find both the killer and the persons responsible for the murder of Phra Supoj Suvacano and see that justice is accomplished, according to the law.
- For the government to deal with local organized crime in order to insure the safety of conservation monks and villagers who are active in resisting the expansion of the large orange plantations that have been destroying the environment in Fang District (Chiang Mai Province) and other areas.
- For Buddhist organizations to work together to develop standards for protecting and supporting those monks who are properly carrying out their duties so that they will be safe from local criminal elements.
- For environmental conservationists to take a stand to insure that the criminal investigation and prosecution proceed immediately, quickly, and justly; further, we must not allow the responsibility of local conservation efforts to fall upon any single monk in any one community but will gather our hearts and efforts both directly and indirectly to support and promote conservation efforts in all cases.
- For the mass media of all kinds to closely follow the progress of this case and regularly inform the public of the facts as they emerge.
We hope with deepest sincerity that the violent death of Phra Supoj Suvacano (Duangprasert) will create the necessary awareness such that we all reach agreement on how to protect those monastics, civil servants, and citizens who struggle to protect our natural resources and create conditions for peace and justice in our society.
In loving kindness,
Phramah Boonchuay Sirindharo
Executive Secretary of Northern Development Monks Network
Contact the Thai Ambassador and express your concern for this issue. It's probably most effective to call or fax, rather than email. His Excellency Ambassador Kasit Piromya Chancery :