Akha Weekly Journal:
The Akha Cause Goes to
the UN on Wednesday.
Mon, 3 May 2004
I am back in the US.
Deported from Thailand for fighting for the Akha cause, for refusing
to compromise when it comes to the most basic Human Rights of the Akha
To some, this was viewed that I was being shut down. But that in
reality is not the case at all and I was well prepared for this
eventuality in the work there.
Now the case of the Akha people is being taken to the UN, I will be
there for a number of days, starting Wednesday.
I will be making updates via email from New York about what is going
to be a learning process.
After that I will be traveling to Washington DC, to talk to
legislators, like Sen. Leahy, regarding US law
that links security aid to Thailand to human righs violations.
The Drug War, I will be talking to Congress people who probably never
knew who an Akha was, let alone that US Tax Dollars are killing them
and putting them away in prison for infractions at record numbers.
I will be talking about what is being done to Akha children, how
AMERICAN missionaries are taking them from their culture and villages
for financial gain and exploitation.
Legal disussion of course is already going on about class action law
suits against numerous American Missions in Thailand. Investigations
are also ongoing into cases of sexual abuse at these missions. Mr.
Woon of Benedikta House has already gone on trial in Bangkok for the
rape of hill tribe boys and I will forward those results to the web
site soon as I hear back.
Both Catholic and Protestant Missions are in our sights.
And they know who they are.
We will continue to set up IMC Thailand.
From Washington DC I will be traveling to Europe to discuss the Akha
situation in Thailand and raise
additional support for Akha projects.
And then we will have announcements of the progress we make in
establishing network to the international human rights movement for
all Akha people.
I got an email this morning, and it says something about what I
thought about all the Akha people I knew in Thailand and Burma.
I miss them all for a moment, but I will never never give up for the
And I ask you this, if you have been a donor to this work, please
don't think it is over, and stop, the
work now doubles, triples, what must be done to find human rights for
And if you haven't made a donation before, consider it, as there is
much network that has to be made in the Akha mountains.
Salem, Oregon, USA
How are you? We can only hope hope you are o.k. now in America. You
know we all miss you.
We cannot describe how much we are sorry about all the problems you
have had from what is supposed to be a democracy country. You have
worked with all your heart to improve the human rights for the people
especially for Akha people who hardly have any voice.
Even it is hard to talk to you, just to say thank you for all the hard
work you have done for us, because there is always the fear of the
politicians, the police or the army. Today we just know that you are
gone, somewhere so far away we can't imagine.
We will remember your truck coming up to the villages always bring
good spirits, always asking "how
are we today." And of course there were always lots of problems,
problems with other cultures and other religions coming to the
villages and tearing the villagers apart, even families cannot join in
ceremonies together. And this one is not well, needs some medicine,
and that man has disappear, nobody knows where he is gone, and the
children and mother all alone.
Everyone here has got enough energy to work but some how the lands are
not big enough for everyone now. In our memory there used to be so
much land, and free, not belong to anybody but the people who farming
there, working hard. We know everything is changing now and so
difficult to survive.
Now, thanks to you, we know a little bit that we have the right to
live on this planet earth. We are
talking now about the land, maybe belong to somebody far away who has
never been here, so where is our land? Is in Burma, Thailand, China,
Laos? Actually Akha are many people in these countries, we need to
connect with each other more and feel we are more than just one or two
You are only the one and only brother, Akha of the heart, who fights
for akha farm land, fight for the
right of human, fight against other religions coming to the village
and telling us our culture is no good
and say they will give good education to our children if we give up
our culture. You are the only voice
telling the world the reality of our lives.
I have no idea what the future holds. I stand here in my heart, in the
village, in the hills, though I am
far away. The insects are noisy, they are thirsty for water. How
thirsty, how hungry we are, waiting here for the rain to fall, for the
wind to bring relief and seasons change.
Dear Akha Friend:
I hope you do not despair.
I knew, every day I told my Akha wife, today I go down the hill, I
don't know what happen, maybe I don't come back.
Be ready. Never fear, take care to the children, the world is a big
place, and if not here, I can fight
from there, where ever "there" is.
So when on April 15, they picked me up in Maesai, which it turns out
they had been trying to do for two months, there was no surprise, no
shock, just determination to go to the next stage.
For years I had worked alone, I had no one outside Thailand that could
fully link to me, could see the
urgency of what I was doing, had the time to run full time for the
Akha. I wished how many times I could clone myself and work in one
mind, one of me in the world, one of me in the mountains, where I
loved more than anything to be, one of me free to go the world and
tell what tragedy was befalling the Akha, people most did not even
Because there were Akha people there.
I would sit for days on the computer and then have to get off it and
go to the other villages, take some
gift, remember the vitamins, ( I was running vitamins to Burma when
they picked me up), remember a sack of rice, ask about so and so who
was in prison, when were they coming out, take some pics for a story,
go see this elderly singer, like Ah Gurh at Hooh Yoh Village, dig out
medicine for the imflamation on a babies ear.
Little can describe the GIFT the Akha gave me, to enjoy who they were,
to be in some way Akha, to listen endlessly to their humor, their
stories, their language, poetic in every tone. Like Ah Peeh, showing
me the burns on his arms and joking about what he told the army when
they electrecuted him at Som Yaek army base, he was "just so
happy to be there" he couldn't "stop dancing". That is
Tragic humor of a people with a heart so large.
But my plans, my reality that some day I might get pulled out, was not
unprepared. In Thailand I had slow computers, bad food, no phone to
the outside world, and there is not much money in the environment to
draw on to pay for things for Akha.
But now that I am out, I am free to move as fast as I can dream for
Tomorrow I fly to New York, to the UN. I will be there many days. A
new case now goes against the government of Thailand at the UN.
"Retaliation Against A Human Rights Defender". The Thai
Government has much to learn.
And out here in America, where beautiful cars are parked as far as you
can see, where the streets are
clean, where everything costs big money, and where the place is so big,
hardly anyone knows who an Akha is there is a lot of work to do.
I reckon to change that, and to give every Akha a voice out of
Thailand, out of any where they live, to
something that is solely Akha, that looks fully on to their behalf,
only now I have more hope of linking to the resources that will help
that get done.
I have no idea, how long, but when I am done, all the world will know
who the Akha people are.
As soon as I am able I will be setting up aid links for Akha
communities, projects for specific villages,
I know where 280 of them are after all, I brought the maps all out
with me, I had them hidden in the truck for that very moment I was
pulled out, 40 pounds of maps. And I will set up communication links,
so that people can tell what is going on.
Water, seeds, agriculture, books.
But it is going to take time, how long, I don't know, but unless I
stop, I usually get there.
And please tell the Akha, the Akha you know, this is not over, it is
What you know from Akha, post it to the list, and soon there will be a
hotline phone number that Akha people can call.
Never Never Quit!
Salem, Oregon, USA
The Akha Heritage Foundation.
Donate Via Credit Card Paypal:
PO Box 6073 Salem, OR. 97304 USA.
AKHA CRUSADER, detained illegally
by Terror-Squad of the Government of Thailand
BOYCOTT THAILAND !
Since years Matthew
McDaniel was standing in the way of the Thai Military Machinery and
against the oppression and destruction of the Akha Hill Tribes by the
so called Government of Thailand. He is the outstanding and rightful
defender of the legitimate rights of the Akha people and did voice
their grievances to all global bodies. The UN, the US, the EU -
everybody has been alerted about the struggle of the Akha since years!
Several times he stood himself together with the Akha on the muddy
mountain tracks of Northern Thailand to block the raids and killing
sprees of the Thai forces. He is fighting also against the human
rights abuses, which are carried out especially under the flag of
Babtist missions from Korea with US money against the traditional
See all at: http://www.akha.org
The Thai Governance tries
now to shut him up - him, who also voiced his protest against the dam
policy by the WorldBank and the Asian Devlopent Bank. Don't get fooled,
if the Thai machinery comes up with lies in order to frame Matthew
This is a declaration of
war by the Thai Government against the free and humane world and a
declaration of war against each and every person, who works for human
and natural rights.
BOYCOTT THAI BUSINESS AND TOURISM IMMEDIATELY !
Don't buy Thai & don't fly THAI!
PLEASE write NOW a serious
note of protest with the unmistaken demand to immediately and
unconditionally set Matthew McDaniel free and demand too that he must
not be hindered continue his work !
Please send your protest and demand to the following addresses:
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn
via Kanchanapisek Network website
His Excellency Pol. Lt.
Col. Dr. Thaksin Shinawatra
Prime Minister of Thailand
His Excellency Mr. Suchart Jaovisidha
Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand
via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Royal Thai Government
Mr. Surakiart Sathirathai
Department of International Organization < firstname.lastname@example.org
Justice Minister Mr.
via Department of Treaties and Legal Affairs < email@example.com
Department of International Economic Affairs < firstname.lastname@example.org
UN HC for HUMAN RIGHTS via Julian Burger < email@example.com
... and don't forget to
urge YOUR Embassy in Thailand to get involved. It's not an US/Thai
affair alone - Matthews freedom concerns all HR defenders - and ask
your embassy as well as the UN what they intend to do in front of such
blunt violations of all conventions and treaties the Thai Government
GET YOUR THAI FRIENDS TO
HELP AVOIDING THIS SHAMEFUL ACTION OF THEIR
GOVERNMENT - CALL YOUR NEXT THAILAND EMBASSY - BLOCK THE NEXT THAI
TOURISM OFFICE - STOP EATING IN THAI RESTAURANTS - BOYCOTT THAI TRAVEL
AGENCIES - CANCEL YOUR NEXT TRIP TO THAILAND - TERMINATE BUSINESS WITH
THAILAND - STOP BUYING ANYTHING MADE IN THAILAND - NO SEX WITH THAI
PROSTITUTES - DON'T FLY THAI (or nearBankrupt Bangok Airlines)!
SEND MORE OBSERVERS TO THE
AKHA VILLAGES !
- MOBILIZE THE INDEPENDENT PRESS -
Dear colleagues and
A few days ago, the
director of the Akha Heritage Foundation, Matthew McDaniel, was
arrested in Mae Sai and is likely to be deported from Thailand.
Matthew has been living in Northern Thailand for many years and is an
internationally known activist for the rights of Indigenous Peoples -
and the Akha in particular. He has also repeatedly spoken out against
the devastating social and cultural impacts of tourism on the hill
peoples in this region.
Matthew's case seems to
confirm that Thailand is increasingly on the defensive in terms of
rights. It was only last week that Hina Jilani, the special
representative of the UN secretary-general on
human rights protection stated in a report that the environment in
Thailand was no longer congenial to the efforts of those working to
promote human rights and democracy. Apart from taking the Thai state
authorities to task over extrajudicial killings, Jilani noted in her
report that the government was trying to denigrate human-rights
defenders and civil-society organizations, with surveillance,
harassment and other means.
It is suspected that
Matthew McDaniel has run into trouble because of his vigorous efforts
to expose and bring to justice human rights violations committed by
the state apparatus. For more information on Matthew?s work, see
Tourism Investigation & Monitoring Team (tim-team)
tourism investigation & monitoring team (tim-team)
P.O. Box 51 Chorakhebua
Bangkok 10230, Thailand
AKHA CRUSADER: US
ACTIVIST DETAINED AT SUAN PHLU
THE NATION, Published on
Apr 18, 2004
By Jim Pollard
American had filed human
rights complaint with UN
An American activist who
has campaigned vigorously against government mistreatment of hilltribe
people in the far north of Thailand has been detained, and looks set
to be deported, by the Immigration Police.
Matthew McDaniel, 46, was
arrested when he went to extend his visa at the Mae Sai immigration
office on Thursday, according to a friend who preferred not to be
The American was
transferred to the Immigration Detention Centre in Bangkok. He told
his family and associates on Friday that he had been declared persona
non grata and deemed a threat to the country.
McDaniel believes the
authorities want to expel him from Thailand because he arranged for a
US lawyer to file a case about human-rights abuses with the United
Nations, his colleague said yesterday.
A spokesman from the
Immigration Department did not return a phone call late yesterday to
confirm that McDaniel was being deported.
The American is from
Salem, Oregon. He is married to an Akha woman, who is pregnant, his
friend said yesterday. He also has four other children, who live in a
remote village in Chiang Rai province.
The move to deport
McDaniel was not unexpected, his colleague noted, adding that the US
Embassy in Bangkok was aware of the case.
"Akha Voices", a 270-page book which details disturbing
allegations of abductions and extrajudicial killings by Thai army and
police officers that it claims amount to "ethnic cleansing".
He has also attacked
"the deceptive practices of US-based missionaries and their
assumption of control over Akha children and their bold ongoing effort
to completely eradicate Akha traditional culture with carefully placed
The introduction to the
book says McDaniel "is radically opposed to oppressive Thai
government policies that destroy the Akha people at their most basic
level of existence, their right to grow food, while at the same time
trying to portray to the public and tourists that the government is
the benevolent saviour of these 'unfortunate' people".
He is also described as a
staunch critic of the US 'war on drugs', which he says has resulted in
thousands of Akha being imprisoned "at the hands of the DEA [Drug
The book lists Akha people
imprisoned in jails in Thailand and controversial circumstances
surrounding some of these arrests. It says McDaniel has worked with
the Akha in Thailand and Burma since 1991.
McDaniel is assumed to
have been connected with leaflets distributed in Chiang Mai late last
year seeking volunteers to "help SAVE an Akha village from
loosing all its land".
Villagers in Hoo Yoh
"had been told by government officials they could no longer farm
land they had been farming for nearly 40 years. The villagers had been
given no say in the process," the leaflets said.
The dispute affected more
than 1,000 people, or 250 families, it said. The campaign encouraged
people to come to Chiang Rai to join a protest camp and to read the
website www.akha.org .
f P c N forums < forum@fPcN-global.org
in solidarity with our friend Matthew McDaniel, f P c N deplores the
genocide orchestrated by the Thai
state terrorism machine
Salem Statesman Journal, OR - Apr 18, 2004
Thai officials might deport
Salem activist Matthew
McDaniel said he had been declared persona non grata and deemed a
threat to the country.
April 18, 2004
An American activist, of
Salem, who has campaigned against the Thai government's treatment of
hill tribe people in the far north of Thailand has been detained in
that country and looks set to be deported, a Thailand newspaper
Matthew McDaniel, 46, was arrested when he went to extend his visa at
an immigration office in Thailand on Thursday, The Nation newspaper
reported on its Sunday edition Web site.
The Nation sourced its report to a friend of McDaniel who was not
The Nation reported that McDaniel was transferred to the Immigration
Detention Centre in Bangkok.
He told his family and associates Friday that he had been declared
persona non grata and deemed a threat to the country.
McDaniel thinks that the authorities want to expel him from Thailand
because he arranged for a U.S. lawyer to file a case about
human-rights abuses with the United Nations, the newspaper reported.
McDaniel is a former Willamette University student and the founder of
The Akha Heritage Foundation,
which has headquarters in Thailand and a U.S. mailing address in
The foundation seeks to
promote the human rights, health, education and culture of the Akha
The Akha are an indigenous tribe of about 400,000 people originally
from Mongolia. There are about
70,000 scattered among about 300 villages in Thailand, the
foundation's Web site states.
McDaniel is married to an Akha woman and has four children, who live
in a remote village.
McDaniel produced "Akha Voices," a 270-page book that
details disturbing allegations of abductions and extrajudicial
killings by Thai army and police officers that it claims amount to
The newspaper reported that the move to deport McDaniel was not
unexpected, adding that the U.S.
Embassy in Bangkok was aware of the case.
for more information about
Matthew's excellent work, see http://www.akha.org/
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