PR - Mekong Villagers To Appeal Xayaburi Court Case Decision

Friday, December 25, 2015


Bangkok, Thailand – Thailand’s Administrative Court today found that state agencies involved in the destructive Xayaburi Dam, under construction on the Mekong River, have complied with Thai law by disclosing basic information about the project on their websites. The case was brought by Thai villagers who will be impacted by the Xayaburi Dam, against five state agencies for their role in signing an agreement to purchase 95% of the power from the controversial project. Thai villagers have not been sufficiently informed or consulted about the project’s impacts. In response to the verdict, International Rivers and Community Resource Center (CRC) released the following statement:

"We are extremely disappointed by the Court’s verdict, which ignores the significant transboundary impacts of the Xayaburi Dam and fails to hold the agencies to account for threatening the lives and livelihoods of Thai communities living along the Mekong River,” said Pianporn Deetes, Thailand Campaigns Director for International Rivers. “Xayaburi Dam will have far-reaching impacts throughout the basin, including in Thailand. However communities have not been meaningfully consulted, nor informed about the project, and no transboundary impact assessment has been carried out. The Thai agencies are playing a critical role in the development of this project through their approval of the Power Purchase Agreement and they must take responsibility for the impacts which it will cause."

In June 2014, the Supreme Administrative Court made the groundbreaking decision to accept the case, overturning the previous decision of the Administrative Court, who had initially denied jurisdiction to hear the case. In accepting the case, the Court recognized the threat posed by the Xayaburi Dam to the environment, livelihoods and community interests, and acknowledged the "transboundary impacts in riparian countries, particularly local communities in the eight riparian provinces of the Kingdom of Thailand [...]"

"While justice has not yet been achieved, we are ready to file an appeal to the Supreme Court within 30 days," says Sor Rattanamanee Polkla, Coordinator of the Community Resource Centre and lawyer for the plaintiffs in the case. "We are confident that this is not the end of the fight for the rights of Mekong communities to public consultation, disclosure of information and further study to understand the transboundary impacts of the Xayaburi Dam." 

"This case is very important to Thailand and to the region. It is the first community-filed lawsuit in the region related to dam building on the Mekong River and the first lawsuit on a transboundary project. We hope that through an appeal, Mekong communities in Thailand will receive the justice that they deserve and that the case will enable the country's justice system to cover the extraterritorial obligation of state agencies, companies and banks involved in projects such as the Xayaburi Dam," concluded Ms. Polkla.

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