The Akha Heritage Foundation - www.akha.org
Akha Human Rights - Akha University
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About this site, the Akha, our work and other points of interest.
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We work to protect Akha Human Rights and their right to self determination. We oppose missionaries who would stand silent regarding human rights that they themselves enjoy. We oppose Akha missionaries such as Aje, Yot, Luka, Ah Sauh and others who take money from western missionaries to sell their own brothers and sisters down the river. We work to protect Akha heritage, language, literature, culture and history.
We work to protect the Akha right to choose. Their future should not be determined by people selling them out, exploiting them or taking away their children. This includes exploitation such as can be found in certain "eco-tourism" projects. The Purpose of this Website
The purpose of this website is to bring you as broad a spectrum of accurate information as possible, as well as to publicize the Akha human rights situation.
The purpose of this website is also to publish information about the Akha which in the past has been kept secret or hidden away by people and organizations which considered themselves "gatekeepers". Unwilling to do the work themselves, wanting to be regarded as experts, yet blocking the way to anyone else who genuinely wants to help.
Currently, until things change, we consider UNESCO one of those gatekeepers.
In many cases researchers gathered information from the Akha who expected that their cooperation would help them in some fasion. Suddenly information they supplied to wester people became copyrighted, the property of the western people and was never published for common knowledge. In this situation alone, the loss of Akha cooperation and historical record has been enormous.
We do not believe that if you take photos, video, or make documentation about the Akha that you can "OWN" the information. This is a western notion. "What is YOURS is mine, what is MINE is mine."Activism
Activism is how we bring attention to the human rights situation of the Akha and how we get a change in how they are being treated. We have a lot of information on activism. Mobilization
Mobilization of the Akha community is very important. This includes training in documentation of human rights violations. This also includes providing information to the Akha so that they can see how exploitation works, who is doing it, who is behind it, how it destroys their community, and how to stop it. About the Akha
The Akha live in the four countries of China, Myanmar, Laos and Thailand. Some History
The Akha have come through many events to the spot they are today just in terms of recent decades.
Country situations for the Akha differ. Situations in one country are not the same as in another.
The Drug War
What is the "Drug War"?
The Drug War is a policy of predominantly the US Government. It is also a multi billion dollar law enforcement officer's dream. The Drug War identifies CERTAIN drugs as enemies of the state, and persues a harsh policy of enforcement. A Drug War is the opposite of "Harm Reduction" which seeks to address the problem and avoid criminalization.
The Drug War is accused of profiling ethnic minorities.
The US Drug War is a policy projected into foreign countries with promises of financial aid if countries cooperate. The Drug War allows the US Govt. by this method to intrude and develop a military network in other countries based on this policy. Thus the US Govt. is funding and cooperating with the Thai military and police via the NAS and the DEA. Chiangmai at Mae Rim for example has a DEA information sharing office.
Problem is that these countries often use the US appetite for Drug War and funding dollars as a means to target its ethnic peoples. This can produce disproportionate arrest rates of ethnic minorities such as the Akha if enforcement is done harshly in mountain regions far from any inspection or checks and balances. We identified this as often the case in many extra-judicial executions carried out by the Thai army and police.
In other countries the US Drug War policy forced poppy eradication on mountain peoples including the Akha, against the wishes of the government, but once again under pressure from US Policy Makers, and the end result was the starvation and death by disease of thousands of Akha and other ethnic peoples. This is a very shameful situation and a violation of basic human rights. However under the Bush administration human rights have not been an important issue in US international policy.
The US Govt. is the only foreign government involved in the funding of the Thai Drug War machine. As a nation, the US Govt's policies can be seen as lethal for the Akha people, having dramatic effects on their communities. The Akha people never voted to be governed by the US Govt.
The UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) also joins together with the US on Drug War policy. The head of the UNODC is Antonio Maria Costa.
Little attention to the human cost of the Drug War is given. The damage from drugs must be balanced against the thousands who die and are incarcerated under the hand of the Drug War.
The Drug War is prosecuted in the US, South America (Plan Columbia) Afghanistan (upswing in opium production) Laos (opium eradication) Thailand and other countries.
Opponents of the US War on Drugs as it is also called, say that the US should control the appetite of its own population before imposing its laws on other countries. None of these other countries voted the US into "office". Critics of the Drug War also point to the fact that certain countries are allowed to grow opium for medicinal use while others are not. Others point to the fact that illegal drugs are considered to be any that western pharmaceutical companies don't get a profit off of.
Many links can be found on this site that document the results of the drug war in the links section, news and contents.
The Akha are radically effected by western policy makers who wish to impose their view of utopia on world populations. Thus when it seemed fit, opium was forced upon the Chinese, but now when it seems fit, eradication is forced on the Akha. When that goes wrong, governments get blamed for adopting the policies that the western neo-confederates imposed on them. All a game with lives at stake, but not the lives of the neo-confederates which is a shame.
Shifting Cultivation. What is it? But what is crop rotation? And perma culture? Really it is about taking the land, call it what you want, for western enviromental ideals that don't include people any more than they include Indians or buffalo in Yellowstone National Park. You can't grow rice on the same land year after year without crop rotation. Call it shifting, call it what you want. All a paperwork fantasy. Even rice terraces are used to plant alternative crops in the off season. And what do owners of rice terraces do after harvest, they burn them.Missionaries and Human Rights
Seldom will missionaries in Thailand stand up for the human rights of the Akha. This is noticibly absent. We do not know any websites from missionaries which refer to the Akha human rights situation in Thailand and in most cases the missionaries appear to more or less side with the government and repressive US foreign policies such as the drug war.
The Thai Forestry Departments ongoing seizure of Akha rice lands for commercial tree farms and other uses has pushed the Akha into famine and hard choices. The missions never mention this human rights violation. Yet this single repetitive event forces a domino progression of evil on the Akha. Parents may take undue risk, work at dangerous jobs, children suffer malnutrition, young people are forced into unsavory jobs, families are split up, many people end up in prison, all without a single mention by the missionaries. They prefer to say something like "there is no longer enough land" that fails to point out to the reader WHY?
The relationship between missionaries and such organizations as the CIA and DEA is quite close, based on statements made by missionaries in the field. The CIA and missionaries have long been involved in the drug scene in Laos, via missionaries like Bill Young. Books on Air America and the drug trade bring this out frequently. See our reading list.
Interestingly enough, missionaries ignore ethnic profiling (missionaries are all white except their Akha converts) and use drug related issues as justification for taking away Akha children. No mention is made of the US Drug War and how the Thais are paid by the US govt. or how enforcement activity is focused on hill tribe areas. This results in disproporationate arrest and imprisonment rates. Well funded Akha missionaries also have no problem with this situation and its racial implications.
Missionaries are actively involved in building empires and removing Akha children from villages to their fake orphanages where they claim them as dependent wards and ask for moneys from donors far in excess of what parents would need to raise the children. The parents don't realize that the children are an important ingredient of the mission money making machine. Thereby, the children are exploited as an asset removed from the family. The missionaries don't really believe in family values, and they must cover up what they are doing with lies and deceptions. Sexual abuse in the mission schools is frequent enough according to missionary statements.
Missionaries like Paul and Lori Crouch Vernon from the Salem and Denver area, continue the traditions of mission exploitation in the Akha region.
The missionaries are slave owners, and they choose to enslave the Akha to their ideology and control.The Current Situation
Currently there is little in the way of Akha voice from Thailand. The US govt. was instrumental in getting us deported from Thailand according to reports from witnesses in Thailand. Our UN reports, Drug War death documentation and opposition to missionary practices were given as reasons. This was an attempt to silence our voice in reporting US Human Rights behaviour, and other human rights violations against the Akha. About Our Work
Our work to protect Akha human rights and promote Akha mobilization has gone on for 15 years.
Blogs are a communication medium that are popular because people can write at will, can visualize the location their writing goes to as in an online magazine and other people can immediately see what they write and respond to it.
Blogs come in many types. One finds a blog with subject content they like.
Or, a person may find a blog portal like dailykos.com etc.
Here many people can post their daily diaries, which are basically their own blogs, which then show up in a feed that other people can see.
There are types of blogs and trends, and it is interesting to see the links that people have on their blogs as they are useful collections of other sites.Other Links
We list many links to useful sites and information on the left margin of our home page. How you can help
There are many ways that you can help improve the situation for the Akha people Funding
We have operated our project for years on the funding that friends, family and other donors have provided. You can see our Funding Page here. Thus our project is not owned by funders. At the same time, your donation is needed to keep this site and this project going.
Many part time volunteers help our work by a variety of means. Research, assitance in the field, investigations, photography, video and other forms of consulting.
Would you like to volunteer?
Do We Believe in Jesus?
I hear it a lot over the years, if I oppose what christians do or what the church does or what missionaries do then I must be against Jesus. Lame, really lame. I believe in Jesus Christ. But do I believe that people should lie against an entire group of indigenous people in order to further a religious agenda or cause? Sure not. Neither do I believe that there is separation of church and state in the US. Neither do I believe that the American Gospel for white people is the same as Jesus's Gospel. Colonialism, racism, best all left behind.
What the missionaries have perpetrated against the Akha is shameful, it goes against all that I believe and all that I work for, and in my view it has nothing to do with Jesus Christ.
Copyright 1991 The Akha Heritage Foundation