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Akha Blog Page 2

Sept. 2006

Donald Rene Ramirez: The Sex Abuser the FBI Let Get Away, Dead, Cambodia Oct. 31, 2006

TANG CHHIN SOTHY/AFP/Getty Images
This is Donald Rene Ramirez, in the mid 1990's the FBI interviewd us in Thailand about information we had that Donald Rene Ramirez was raping young Thai women. The FBI made excuses why it was too difficult to bust him and said that their concern was mostly over the fact that he was a San Francisco cop etc. Well, how many more girls did Donald Rene Ramirez rape along the way? How would they have been protected had the FBI taken their job a little more seriously? They said that in the mid 1990's he had already been busted for bringing child pornography into the US. Until he was dead, he never changed his pattern.

Madonna Adoption Controversy Not Much Different Than Missionaries Removing Akha Children in North Thailand

Human rights activists in Africa are comparing the adoption of the Malawi boy as similar to opening the doors to human trafficking. We have been saying this for a long time regarding what the missions are doing in north Thailand.

In northern Thailand Akha parents are not made aware that their children are being divorced from family, village, culture, and language. It is what the missions do not tell the parents and donors alike that makes the removal of the children all that much more serious.

"Banda (the father of the boy adopted by Madonna) said his understanding was that 'when David grows up he will return back home to his village.' He said the director of Child Welfare Services, Penston Kilembe, and the retired pastor who heads the orphanage where David spent most of his life never told him by 'adoption' it meant David will cease to be his son."

"The Human Rights Consultative Committee, which comprises 67 human rights groups, has challenged the adoption, saying laws concerning the residency of the prospective parents were flouted and that it may set a precedent for human trafficking."

Sex Questions for Mr. Chris Lyttleton

We previously had two statements to make to Mr. Lyttleton and no others.

1. When he recorded in his report in Laos, that there was sexual abuse occurring against Akha women, why did he not report it to the authorities? We have stated that this is unethical, and if he was working in a western institution it would be considered unethical also. If it is not unethical, to fail to report sexual abuse, we would like to know that from Mr. Lyttleton.

2. We state that he previously worked for NCA so as a matter of conflict of interest had to recuse himself from being on the NORAD team investigating NCA on the issue of sexual abuse of Akha women by NCA staff.

We would like to ask Mr. Lyttleton, if he did not document the information mentioned in number 1 in his previous report on watermelons, will he please advise us why it is in that report? Number 2, if he did not previously work for NCA will he advise us of that also?

Maybe Chris Lyttleton can explain to us, what part exactly of Akha culture we don't understand, that would suggest that when a woman doesn't want to have sex, in fact she does? In many many interviews, the Akha of the Muang Long area told us that NGO staff workers demanded the Akha girls for sex and that the girls were not consenting. In cases where the girls did consent, the Akha clearly stated that.

Maybe Mr. Lyttleton and Ms. Kristin Ingebrigtsen, neither of whom speak Akha, can explain to us what part of the Akha language we don't understand? All of our interviews with the Akha in Muang Long were done directly in Akha language and not through translators.

Our more complete commentary on the NORAD report will be posted here.

The General Who Saved Hooh Mah Akha To Run Thailand

General Surayud has been appointed to run Thailand during the intermission.
Our memories go back to the surprise visit that General Surayud made to Hooh Mah Akha much to the embarrassment of the local commanders and forestry. Hooh Mah Akha was at the time scheduled for a forced relocation. Gen. Surayud said that he had never been to these mountains and had never met the Akha. He brought gifts to everyone and instructed the local army commander to provide for their needs and improve the road, provide electric etc. We were impressed by his reasonable approach and concern for the Akha people and we are greatful for what he did for Hooh Mah Akha.

Thaksin Leaves Town

Thaksin faced a coup upon leaving Thailand for the US. Apparently he was aware as many of his family left Thailand too. The question now is will anyone comment on his handling of the drug war and the murder of thousands of people?
Assets, a few too many, corrupt officials, all part of the cleanup.
However, the setting aside of the constitution, whom many many people worked on for a good long time to the betterment of Thailand and it's civil society is not an ecouraging sign. The Army has long done what it wanted to the hill tribe peoples, so with this set back for civil society, what will be their increased plight?

Record Afghan Opium Crop Reported

August 18, 2006

An aggressive military campaign and hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars have failed to dent opium cultivation in Afghanistan, which hit record levels this year.

The Washington Post reported Aug. 16 that 370,650 acres of poppies were cultivated this year, up from 257,000 in 2005 -- an increase of 40 percent. That's an all-time high, surpassing the 323,700 acres planted in 2004.

"It is a significant increase from last year ... unfortunately, it is a record year," said an U.S. government official in Kabul.

Drug lords in Afghanistan have reportedly joined with Taliban rebels to fight Western soldiers and Afghan government forces trying to eradicate the opium crop.

An estimated 90 percent of the world's heroin supply originates in the poppy fields of Afghanistan. The U.N. estimates that 52 percent of the nation's gross national product comes from opium. "Now what they have is a narco-economy. If they do not get corruption sorted they can slip into being a narco-state," said the U.S. official.

The previous Taliban government had virtually wiped out opium cultivation in 2000.

Efforts to fight drug crops have been hampered by fears that a harsh crackdown could drive rural residents into the arms of the Taliban. "We know that if we start eradicating the whole surface of poppy cultivation in Helmand [province], we will increase the activity of the insurgency and increase the number of insurgents," said Tom Koenigs, the head U.N. official in Afghanistan

John Mark Karr Right at Home with Thailand's Missionaries

John Mark Karr was made to feel right at home with the mission schools in Thailand. All those kids! So little oversight, so little concern. Bangkok Christian College, Saint Joseph's Convent. Just how weird was Karr? And how many more have access to all those children? In the case of Hill Tribe children, there just aren't a lot of people to come ask questions, like "hey, where is my kid?"

We haven't heard what happened to Mr. Woon. He was out on the loose for a good long time after many Hill Tribe children, mostly boys, accused him of raping them at the Swedish Benedikta Home he ran in Chiangrai.

Informants continue to tell of sexual abuse at mission schools which remove Akha children from their villages, and the case of Norwegian Church Aid running "rape camps" in the Akha villages of Laos continues.

Australian David Stevenson Travels to Thailand to Remove Aboriginal Children From Their Families

Australian David Stevenson had to travel to Thailand to repeat the tragedy of Aboriginal children. This time removing Akha children from their families, with his organization Children of the Golden Triangle CGT. The CGT site does not give information to the reader as to the process and dynamic of what is happening. In Thailand the Government is greatly served by the missions which remove children from the Akha villages on their traditional lands in the mountains which are extremely valuable. Missions remove the children for the mission growth industry while benefitting the Government of Thailand's depopulation plans at the same time. No mention is made where these children came from and why they are not with their families. Christians always talking of family values EXCEPT when it comes to the families of tribal peoples.

No mention is made that all these chidlren once removed from their families are being converted. They are becoming the "property" of the Asa and David Stevenson PLANTATION. NO mention is made of their culture, their language, the parents. Phrases such as SAVING from the DANGERS of prostitution are convenient, which would involve all females of Thailand, but no mention of poor Thai girls in this equation. Why the focus on only Akha children? The site states clearly it changes the children. From what? From being Akha, that is what. No mention is made of the villages, the human rights situation, the land rights situation or WHY the children are here and not with their mother and fathers. We advised www.cantech-aide.org not to fund religious groups which remove Akha children but they have funded CGT. We hope they do not continue to do so.

Contact CGT: David and Asa Stevenson
Rotary International also supports CGT mission and the illegal removals of Akha children.

Working Group for Indigneous Populations - Geneva.
Akha Land Case and Queen's Seizure of Akha Rice Lands to be Brought Up Again

WGIP in Geneva
Representatives for the Akha Land Case who are attending in Geneva at the Working Group for Indigenous Populations will again bring up the issue of Akha rice lands in Thailand, where Royal projects seize Akha rice lands in the name of development.

The Ultimate Cartoon On "Development for the Indigenous"

No Right To Rape! The Akha Take Up The Legal Challenge

The Akha are taking up the legal challenge to bring charges against the NGO's whose staff raped them in the mountain villages. These NGO's are funded with western donor monies. Numerous NGO and Consultant reports confirm that the rapes have been going on for years, little evidence exists to show what action the NGO's took to stop it. If NGO's knew that the rapes were on going, which they have admitted, and failed to stop it, then that failure is both negligent and criminal.

Two Investigations Into Sex Abuse in Laos Falter Along

There are currently two investigations from Europe into the rapes of Akha women in Laos on the part of the NGO staff of Norwegian Church Aid and Action Contre Le Faim. (According to the accusations of Akha witnesses) One team is from Norway, and one team is from France. In both cases the investigation teams ignored the requests for transparency in the investigation and coordination of the criteria of the investigations.

We asked a number of questions.
1. That the teams be independent of the organizations which the Akha accused of the abuses. The teams are not. In one case, a man who used to work for NCA is in the investigation. In the other case, the the other team also has previous contacts with ACF.
2. We requested what means would be made of having an Akha speaking Akha Advocate present. This was refused without sufficient reason. Everything is being done through a number of translators who were not agreed upon.
3. What legal advice and counsel would be given to the Akha women?
4. What opportunity would the Akha women have to persue their right against these individuals and organizations in the event of ongoing evidence of these rapes?
5. What punishment would be made to the organizations who failed to protect the Akha and knew the abuses were going on, and what punishement would be made to the individuals involved? How would it be ascertained that punishment was equal for different idividuals?
6. What security measures would be made to protect the identity of the Akha women and other witnesses?
These were just some of our requests, which were ignored.

We continue our own investigation.

Rotary is "Bad News" For the Akha People

CGT Brags on Removing More Than 400 Akha Children From Their Families
"Transforming" Akha children from being Akha to something else meets the definition of Genocide.
Rotary's Ethnocide:
Destruction of Akha Culture, Rotary International and CGT Mission Thailand

An Open Letter To Trevi Albin of Rotary International:

Trevi Albin:
If the four points of Rotary's statement of ethics, the "4-way test," are to be standards that bind all Rotarians in all their activities carried out in the name of their organization, we believe you, Trevi Albin, have failed to live up to those standards, and therefore reflect very poorly on the ability of Rotary as an organization to uphold it's professed standards. Your support of the efforts of "Children of the Golden Triangle" in their conversion of traditional Akha to Christianity, and your failure to fully inform your audience of the dynamics of the situation facing the Akha in Thailand, are absolutely inexcusable in light of the pledge you presumably took to deal honestly with these questions:

"1) Is it the TRUTH?
2) Is it FAIR to all concerned?
3) Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
4)Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?"

You are the person at Rotary who is primarily responsible for failing to serve the best interests of the traditional Akha people, since you do take full responsibility for the images of and information about the Akha which Rotary has published.

You have failed to be fair to and truthful about traditional Akha in your reporting. You are certainly not creating goodwill by contributing to the ethnocide of the Akha and the total elimination of their traditions by CGT missionaries. Your actions are to the detriment of a people, not beneficial to them.

It seems to us that the people your work benefits most are the missionaries whose salaries get paid by good-hearted donors (upon whose generosity your salary also presumably depends). Of course, these projects are also beneficial in the sense that they can salve the guilty consciences of some of the more priveleged donors who could care less what their money is going to support (Yes, donors do also share responsibility for finding out what exactly they are funding). But we have a hard time seeing how your work will in any way prevent Akha traditions from being lost, and Akha communities from being shattered. In fact, we very much believe that you contribute to that process.

We understand that there are many well-intentioned people at Rotary, and we don't want to place all the blame on them for supporting bad projects if they are supporting those projects only because they have incomplete information. We feel that you, Trevi Albin, are responsible for providing all relevant background to the sponsors of the projects you cover, and if you haven't heard of missionaries bribing Akha parents and pressuring them to give their children up to the care of orphanages, we suggest you do some further research (Or would you not see anything wrong with that?...) Akha.org is a good place to start learning, but the missionaries' websites themselves will tell you a lot you might prefer to gloss over, if you care to dig deep enough.

Until you give a more considerate treatment to the situation of the traditional Akha people, we will continue to see you, and unfortunately the whole organization you represent, as utterly irresponsible in your coverage and as negligent and contemptuous in your attitude and behavior toward non-Christian Akha.

We Request That Norway Provide Official Documentation on Sexual Abuse Investigation
We have requested that the Norwegian Government provide us with official documentation of the investigation into the Akha charges against Norwegian Church Aid NCA in Laos. We await that documentation. Our concerns to date are that adequate guidelines are not being followed and a responsible investigation is not being carried out.

Chris Lyttleton Knew About Laos Rape Camps
This is a discussion that will be ongoing. This section is live. We will modify it and add to it as we develop this story and have time.

The Government of Norway has said that it will send a team of investigators to north Laos to investigate the Akha accusations that NGO workers from NCA and ACF raped Akha women and girls. They have said the team would be independent of Norway, but they have refused consultation on who should be on the team and have selected someone who has already worked for NCA in Laos. This is a conflic of interest.
We have told the Norwegian Government that we do not approve of their team, in addition because it does not have any Akha advocates on it, it does not have any lawyers on it who have experience in sexual abuse cases, and no provision has been made to protect the women or give them a secure situation to make testimony or further persue their cases against these NGO's.

The Norwegian Government has not specified what will be done if more women come forward with these accusations?

Chris Lyttleton is one of the consultants that the Norwegian Government has picked. However, Mr. Lyttleton has had previous work with NCA which we think makes the situation one of a conflict of interest.
Further, in looking through documents on the situation that the Akha face in north Laos we have come across reports written by Chris Lyttleton, that clearly state that the Akha women were being sexually exploited by NGO staff. Villages that were moved off the mountain faced having men come to their villages every couple of nights asking or negotiating for women. There is very little record of what the women's opinion was of this, or what an advocate for the women might have said.

Chris Lyttleton did not report the sexual abuse or file a complaint with the NGO's involved, or with their respective governments. Chris Lyttleton DID NOT demand action. Why not?

Therefore, how can he be trusted to investigate an abuse which we DID report and how can he be a non partial or RELIABLE investigator of these facts? How can we know that he will NOT protect his previous employer in the highly fraternal NGO and Consutant staff environment of Laos? In this environment, consultants and NGO staff move around. They rely on keeping good relations with all NGO's and potential employers, bosses, subordinates, so that when their one contract runs out they can readily get another one, so that their economy is not interupted. YOU WILL NOT readily gain employment in the NGO structure if you report that NGO staff are raping Akha girls.

We wonder why he did not do this, and it concerns us that if he did not do this in the cases he had already identified, how does that effect his judgement when being asked to investigate these same situations again. Now people with NGO's are being accused on an international level of raping Akha women, but it was also known before by Chris Lyttleton. What will he have to report now? Why should he find fault with it now, when in the past he chose NOT to report it and to overlook it. Sexual abuse is a crime, in this case against girls and women, and Chris Lyttleton should know it was his moral obligation to report this to the appropriate authorities.

We think that Chris Lyttleton should recuse himself from this investigation. We do not approve of his presence or the limited nature of the investigation team. We do not think the Norwegian Government should be organizing the investigation. We have repeated told the Norwegian Government that we do not approve of their involvement or technique, or who they are choosing or excluding, and that we do not think the women involved are being given consideration or protection. The situation lacks all the aspects of civil society, and thus there are few to no factors which protect the women, which is what made the situation ripe for abuse in the first place. It is in this context that the US Drug War and opium eradication was imposed on the Akha villages of Laos, and it is in this context that the Drug Warriors such as UNODC's Antonio Maria Costa remain silent about the real cost of all these elements to the Akha community. We continuously keep hearing NON Akhas speak about how free and easy sex is under this and that circumstance in Akha society. We hear very few of the Akha speak of it in this fashion. We hear even less of their elders speak of all these special arrangements that are forced on the villages as some normal culture. We hear even less from people who are fluent Akha speakers, say such foolish things.

We boycott the Norwegian Government investigation for ignoring our demands for due process and qualified people to make up the team, to protect the Akha women involved. At no time did the Norwegian Government ask us who should be on the team, or what their qualifications should be.

We demand that a team not chosen by the government of Norway, investigate these charges made against a major Norwegian NGO of sexual abuse and rape, by the Akha of Laos.

Rotary Supports the Genocide of the Akha People

Make a pledge today. Don't donate to Rotary. Demand an explanation. Demand a cease and desist from Rotary management.

We contacted them. We got delays and excuses.
Rotary is bad news for the Akha people.

OMF Changes Site!

(Content below is before pages were removed. We thank OMF for removing these pages)
"The Akha are some of the most spiritually oppressed groups in the region and are socially looked down on by the Thai, Lao and many other tribal groups. Their main religion is animism combined with ancestor worship. The Akha have the highest incidence of AIDS of all the tribal groups in Thailand because of their very immoral lifestyles and high rates of prostitution. In Laos the average death rate is in the mid-40s because the Akha live in such geographically isolated areas with little access to health care. Furthermore, making sacrifices to spirits keeps them very poor and encourages unhealthy lifestyles (e.g. infrequent washing)."

Norwegian Government Proposes to Exclude Akha Advocates from Investigation into Rapes of Akha Women
We have requested the assistance of the Committee to End Discrimination Against Women at the UN in New York, and other legal assistance in the case of the Akha women of Laos. The Norwegian government has offered to exclude Akha advocacy people from the investigation, rapidly narrowing the likelihood that there will be much of an investigation at all. NCA while admitting that the sexual abuse went on, also denies it.
The Norwegian Government should not be running the investigation, and has taken no action to provide legal counsel to the Akha women involved or to ensure their protection.
We continue to seek legal counsel in this case.
The Norwegian Government proposed that hand picked individuals, excluding several Akha advocates, be the people to do the investigation in a situation where it would be impossible for the Akha women to have any sense of protection in order to testify, or for there to be any documentation of the statements so that the Akha women can continue their cases while maintaining security.

NCA Raping Has Got To Stop!
Norwegian Magazine publishes letter from ex-NCA employee woman who states that NCA took no action in Africa to stop staff from using prostitues and sexually abusing young indigenous women.
Magazine
PDF file is here, article on page 2
Related article

Rather than become silenced, as NCA in Laos may have hoped, the story of the NCA and ACF rape camps has spread. A courageous women came forward to tell how she was treated by NCA after complaining about sexual abuse of young women in Africa by NCA staff.

So when is ACF going to step up to the plate?
We see little difference in how these organizations operate.

NCA Sexual Abuse in Laos - A lot of Shakin Goin On - Just how many people will cover for NCA and for how long?
Articles and investigations. NCA admits there was sexual abuse but can't determine on their own how much so the flurry of investigators that might be able to pull out their name and salvage it, for more deviancy later on, continues to grow.
Maybe NCA should just produce the documents that prove they knew it was going on, and how long ago they knew and how much they knew? Or would that be asking too much? Maybe it is like the dream, we are suppose to guess the dream and the answer too, NCA holding the cards all along.

Rotary Supports the Mission Organization "Children of the Golden Triangle" in north Thailand, Which Removes Akha Children from their Culture. See May publication of Rotary Magazine for exploitive and deceptive pictures. Trevi Albin is responsible for the video project and certainly for it all ending up in Rotary. Trevi's email gives an auto responder, apparently too busy.
CGT is a fundamentalist group that takes Akha children away from their families, villages, and culture, making them out to be orphans, making them convert to be what they are not, which we call a violation of the 5 article of the Geneva Convention on Genocide. Read it.
To take people from one group, and make them to be members of another group.

Now it is time for Rotary management to find out what is going on and correct the situation. We know that Rotary policy should not support such a thing, and Rotary management needs to better inform themselves of the issues, and support traditional Akha villages and families. Rotary should not be giving publicity, donating, or raising funds for an organization that destroys the culture of the Akha people. We have repeatedly contacted CGT mission about what they are doing and they have refused to alter their practices. Instead they have managed to get even more money for taking away Akha kids and making them into what they are not. No mention of land rights for the Akha in Thailand of course, as this mission project has worked with individuals to get entire Akha villages to leave the mountains and become captive labor for the Thais.

Censorship? Salem Public Library Makes Excuses. But the Akha Journal STILL IS NOT on the Shelf, or in the Catalogue System
For more than a year the Salem Public Library in Salem, Oregon USA, has been making excuses about why they haven't put the Akha Journal into the computer system or on the shelf. A bunch of old biddy ladies who want to make sure that no one reads what they aren't suppose to know in the narrow confines of the town? We can't say, but it looks like CENSORSHIP to us. We were told that it would be put on the shelf, that it would be put in the system, but it still hasn't been, which means it is also not available for inter library loan. Too often we find that in America, which prides itself on "democracy" anything that would make America look bad, that would disturb the illusion, is quietly stomped out. Not so different than some other countries we know.

(Situation Finally Corrected After One Year and a Second Copy of the Journal - First one "disappeared" who knows where? Now on the Shelf)

Danger! Land Confiscations by Royal Project in Ampur Mae Fah Luang, Chiangrai Province CONTINUE.
Akha villages in Ampur Mae Fah Luang tell that nearly all of their highland and water is being confiscated by the Royal Project, connected to the project at Hooh Yoh Akha Village where the Royal Project confiscated all of the farm land of that village. 8500 Rai. Villages are instead being paid 60 baht a day to work on what was their own land, which is far below the national minimum wage. Executive officers of the Royal Project have never adequately answered the reason why a Royal Project is above adhering to national law?

Video: Akha Case Presented at UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Movie Link Low Resolution
Movie Link High Resolution
Video of the proceedings at the 5th Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at New York, May 2006. Submitted into the final report was the recommendation that the prevention of forced removal of indigenous children by missionaries must be one of the criteria for Millenium Development Goals.
UN Press Conference. Mr. Littlechild, one of the 16 Permanent Forum members, mentions protection of indigenous children from removal by missionaries.
UN Press Conference.
Indigenous peoples insisted that there must be direct accountability of UN Agency staff for any programs which have an adverse impact on the indigenous.

"Rape of Akha Women in Laos by NCA and ACF Staff" Hits the Press in Norway
Link
Second Link
The Norwegian press responds to video testimony by the Akha in Laos that NCA and ACF staff raped Akha women in Laos.

We reiterate, in our interview with NCA staff in Vientiane, they told us that "sex is free with the Akha". We find NCA posturing at this time offensive and offensive to the women in Muang Long and the Akha villages in Muang Long who suffered under the brutal hand of NCA during opium eradication procedures and the rapes and the pregnancies forced on Akha women by NCA staff.

Akha Lives Under Threat At Muang Long
Communications reveal that the lives of Akha witnesses who testified that the international NGO's ACF and NCA were raping their women, may now be under threat. We call on the international community from the UN to the EU to immediately ensure that these individuals are protected and that ACF and NCA are held accountable.

Should harm come to witnesses it would be a very grave matter for these NGO's who refused advice on their organizations and then were found out to be abusing Akha women.

ACF Tries to Cover its Tracks
In my dealings with ACF regarding mortality statistics and transparency over the treatment of the Akha by their NGO staff I found them to be less than forthcoming. Emails were answered that we were not important enough to speak with. We questioned how ACF could be working in a region for more than 9 years and not know the mortality rates of the villages that they were working in?

Akha stated in filmed testimony that ACF and NCA staff raped women in their villages on a regular basis, demanding girls for the night, the men demanding girls in greater number than the men who did not.

NCA staff in the office in Vientiane, Laos told me that "sex is free with the Akha". I found this statement offensive and also consistent with what Akha told me that the ACF and NCA staff, after sexually abusing Akha girls, then went to Muang Long and talked around that Akha women were easy for sex.

This attitude is compounded by mission websites such as that of OMF which make similar statements but never speak about the rapes of the Akha or other human rights issues.

Gen. Vang Pao Promises Results in Search For Akha Families in Sacramento
Today we met with Gen. Vang Pao at the UNPFII and had a progressive meeting to disuss the location of the two Akha families who made it to Sacramento in 2004.

Gen. Vang Pao assured us that he would take action and help us to locate the families as soon as possible so that we could offer them support.


Copyright 1991 - 2006 The Akha Heritage Foundation