The Akha struggle for their human rights in SE Asia. One of the most severe human rights situation for the Akha People is in Thailand.
The Thai government continues to seize Akha land as confirmed in the US Human Rights Report on Thailand for 2005. The Thai government continues to harass Akha Human Rights workers. The Thai government continues to carry out extra-judicial killings of the Akha people.
The Thai government continues a policy of forced relocations of Akha villages. The Thai government execution of the Drug War and drug war policy unfairly targets the Akha population and ensures that a disproportionate number of their men and women are imprisoned for harsh conditions and long years. The Thai government continues the oppression of the people of Hooh Yoh Akha and the continued seizure of their rice lands for special projects, while delegating the Akha to poverty without Free, Prior and Informed Consent. The Thai government fails to protect Akha children from being removed from their villages and culture by missions of Catholic, Protestant and Muslim orders. The Thai government fails to give the Akha ID cards despite the fact that they were born in Thailand. The Thai government has promised to investigate and improve conditions but in fact has condemned the Akha effort to establish a dialogue on these important life threatening situations.
There are 70,000 Akha in Thailand. Less than 30% have ID cards. The Akha human rights situation continues to deteriorate.
UNESCO fails to protect the language and culture of the Akha people. Rather they have made financial alliances with the very missions which destroy the culture of the Akha. UNESCO has failed to cooperate to protect Akha language and heritage. UNICEF has failed to investigate the removal of Akha children from their villages, and the elimination of their cultural identity in mission residential schools. UNDP has cooperated with bans on swidden agriculture that have made food survival very difficult for the Akha, violating their right to food. UNODC has imposed eradication programs on Akha farmers with no plan in place to replace their income, leaving them in starvation conditions.
Norwegian Church Aid and Action Contre Le Faim, both aid agencies, have been accused by the Akha people of sexually abusing Akha girls in the target villages where they work, of discriminating against Akha men and women in their hiring and training and payment practices and demanding that Akha villagers feed their staff for extended stays in their villages.
It is urgently needed that the International Indigenous Community come to the aid of the Akha people in pressuring the UN and UN agencies to correct their difficult situation.
Note: 5th Permanent Forum On Indigenous Issues
May 2006 New York City, The United Nations HQ