Our planet is at a critical point in time. We understand more than we ever have about our planet, yet it is at even more of a threat. Today, an increasing number of people find themselves defending their homeland, their villages, from corporations or state-run enterprises that seek to destroy it for their own profit, regardless of those affected.
Around the world people have lost their lives for protecting a wide range of environmental values and human rights ranging from the exposing of waste-dumping, illegal deforestation, land grabs, to opposing the construction of polluting coal plant.
In Thailand, research by NGO Protection International documented over 50 cases of Human Rights Defenders (HRD’s) having been murdered or abducted in the last 20 years. This make’s Thailand one of the worst offenders in terms of violence against HRD’s including a system of impunity putting community-based HRDs at high risk of violence and injustice.
Across the country people who have become obstacles have simply been removed. Many perpetrators go unpunished as the influence of the powerful can easily override justice. The effect of such an assassination on a small community struggle can be devastating.
This project is a tribute to those Thai Human Rights Defenders who have lost their lives over the last 20 years. The photographer did so by driving almost 10,000km, visiting the families or friends of the victims and requesting a portrait of that person. The portrait of the murdered HRD was then taken to and placed at the exact place where she or he were murder or abducted, representing the last time they were ever seen alive.
It is vital, for the victims and their families, that their fight and their death should not be forgotten and left un-recognised. Ultimately, those that abuse their power with impunity must not go unpunished; the HRDs recognition and administration of justice are steps on the path to end these killing.