In Solidarity with the Akha


Update: 03.05.2004

Akha Weekly Journal: 

The Akha Cause Goes to the UN on Wednesday.
Mon, 3 May 2004

Dear Friends:

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 people.

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 Akha people.

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 the Akha.

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.

Matthew McDaniel
Salem, Oregon, USA


Dear Matthew

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 the
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 village.

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 know existed.

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 Akha humor.

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 Akha people. 

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 just starting.

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!
Akha Nation
Matthew McDaniel
Salem, Oregon, USA

The Akha Heritage Foundation.  Akha Heritage Site. 
Donate Via Credit Card Paypal: 

PO Box 6073 Salem, OR. 97304 USA.



Matthew McDaniel,                                                                                                                     AKHA CRUSADER, detained illegally by Terror-Squad of the Government of 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 Akha. 

See all at:

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 McDaniel.

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.
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  < >

Justice Minister Mr. Pongthep Thepkanjana
via Department of Treaties and Legal Affairs  < >

Department of International Economic Affairs   < >
UN HC for HUMAN RIGHTS via Julian Burger < >


... 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 signed.

Thank you



PROSTITUTES - DON'T FLY THAI (or nearBankrupt Bangok Airlines)!



TimTeam wrote:

Dear colleagues and friends,

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 human
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 website

Yours truly,
Anita Pleumarom
Tourism Investigation & Monitoring Team (tim-team)
tourism investigation & monitoring team (tim-team)
P.O. Box 51 Chorakhebua
Bangkok 10230, Thailand



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 named.

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.

McDaniel produced "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 lies".

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 Enforcement Agency]".

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 .



f P c N forums < > wrote:
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.

Statesman Journal
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 reported today.
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 named.
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 Salem. 

The foundation seeks to promote the human rights, health, education and culture of the Akha people.
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 "ethnic cleansing."
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



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