By: Hmong Association for Development in Thailand (MDT), Inter Mountain Peoples Education and Culture in Thailand Association (IMPECT), The Pga K’Nyaw Association for Social and Environmental Development (PASED), Rural Care Foundation, AKHA Foundation, Upland Holistic Development Project (UHDP)
Supported by: European Commission (EU) Project, Asia Indigenous People Pact (AIPP) Foundation Executive summary
The aim of this human rights report of hill-tribal minorities (mountain peoples) is to describe problems relating to violation of rights of hill tribal minorities in Thailand and to recommend solutions to these problems for related agencies. All data included herein have been collected from the following individuals and organizations; Tribal Human Right Assistance Center Profect (THRA), Hmong Association for Development in Thailand (MDT), The Pga K’Nyau Association for Social and Environmental Development (PASED), Inter Mountain Peoples Education and Culture in Thailand Association (IMPECT), AKHA Foundation, Rural Care Foundation, Thai-Lahu Foundation, Upland Holistic Development Project (UHDP) and Center for Coordination of Non-governmental Tribal Development Organizations (CONTO).
The problem of human rights violation against hill tribal minorities (mountain people) in Thailand addressed in this report involves situations and issues involving human rights of 9 hill tribal minorities living in this country. They are 1) Karen, 2) Hmong, ) 3) Mien, 4) Akha, 5) Lahu, 6) Lisu, 7Lua, 8) Khamu and 9) Mlabri and other 3 ethnic minorities namely 10) Palong, 11) Padong and 12)Thin. They are among tribal minorities who live in Northern Thailand and some parts of Western Thailand. Their problems with regard to basic rights can be summarized as follow;
Right to Thai citizenship (status of individuals): Many hill tribal minorities have not been registered as Thai citizens or legal migrants in this country; the status that come with full set of basic rights and liberties according to Thai laws. Being deprived of any of these statuses, they are highly vulnerable to many types of abuse.
Right to residence, land, and natural resources: Almost all of hill tribal minorities in Thailand have no rights to ownership, utilization and participation in these properties and are constantly abused by being forced to migrate, arrested and restricted access to development.
Right to practice of culture and traditions: Hill tribal minorities are subject to social discrimination by the Thai majority and racial and ethnic discrimination among themselves that weakens their social structure even further.
Right to education: Lack of Thai citizenship and economic rights further disadvantage hill tribal minorities by preventing them from getting access and right to equal education as per the government’s education policy.
Right to medical/health care: Hill tribal minorities are denied this right and are not treated equally when it comes to health care services.
Woman and Child right: Without the government’s strong and effective measures to protect them, women and children from hill tribal communities are constantly lured into trafficking.
Rights to life and property: Hill tribal minorities are subject to unlawful and violent measures taken by the government against them, usually on charges of drug abuse, and lack of guarantee of their basic rights and liberties
Economic rights: The economic gap between hill tribal minorities, among the have-nots, and the haves is growing. Grass-root people are denied involvement in decisions over economic policies that can severely affect their life. Migration of labor is intensifying.
Solution of the problem of human rights violation against hill tribal minorities in Thailand requires collaboration of all parties involved in strictly observing the international laws, conventions, or covenants at all levels, on the basis of common understanding, and in putting into effects some measures guaranteeing human rights in this country, especially for hill tribal minorities who are the most vulnerable. The laws and policies which affect adversely to hill tribe people need to repeal and necessary to promote them to address their problems and issues on the line of international standards that Thailand has ratified.