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The ACF Batik Report on Allegations of Sexual Abuse in Laos By ACF Staff Has Been Released
The long awaited report, issued by Batik International, on the investigation into allegations by Akha people that the staff of ACF was sexually abusing Akha villagers in the target areas as well as demanding food from them, has been released.
Once again, the word "rape" is avoided. All kinds of sex going on, but no one got "raped" seems to be the deal, even if it wasn't consential, which of course is the litmus definition of rape, but this point has been missed by these NGO's whose first concern is to protect their name and budgets.
You can read it here:
NGO's Release the "Temporary" Report on Ms. Wongsa in Prison.
Naturally we hope they release the real official one soon. As this is no joking matter, and Ms. Wongsa is not in prison temporarily, but she is in prison for real. And the brothel owner now suddenly is all legal and can't be arrested.
Gee. What an operation the NGO's of Thailand are. Typical Thai, lots of talk, not much for delivery.
So after great delay, NGO's in Thailand have released this temporary, not quite official, gee wish it could be, report on the case of Ms. Wongsa who is sits languishing in Singapore's prison. The REAL report would be beneficial in the legal defense of Ms. Wongsa as a victim of trafficking and a reduction in her sentence and hopefully a lifting of the ban on her stay in Singapore. We looked forward to a good and hopeful resolution of this case, but of course after due opportunity we can't get the NGO's or the police in Thailand to get off their asses. The story of one Akha woman who was trafficked, one of so very many, and one who has a story to tell of what befell her. Certainly Thailand must take strong action against trafficking in Thailand. (can you hear the snickering?)
The brothel in Hatyai remains open, the owners have not been prosecuted, as so often the case, the Thais can do what they want to the Akhas and get away with it. We'd love to send Thais like these owners directly to hell, that is where they should be, people who traffick Akha girls like Ms. Wongsa. Its a THAI national past time, didn't you know?
Also worth noting is the fact that it is the very action of the Queen of Thailand, by taking all the land from Akha villages such as Hooh Yoh Akha, which has pushed so many Akha women into similar job situations where they are trafficked. The relationship between the two can not be ignored. An international effort continues, including an appeal to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, to ask that the Queen of Thailand return the land of Hooh Yoh, and that the forestry return other lands, so many of which have been turned into pine tree farms.
Can the Treatment of the Akha by Missionaries be Explained by the Evangelical Mindset on War
We always wondered why the Evangelicals have no respect for Akha identity or culture, and why they think it is ok to take away the Akha children. A discussion on video. Evangelical Support of War
File a Complaint Against the Makers of "The Enemy God" Which Exploits the Yanomamo
Support Indigenous Rights. Oppose those who would exploit and destroy in the name of religion.
Why Is The Case of Ms. Wongsa Stalled?
Why hasn't the owner of the Karaoke in Hatyai been arrested?
In Thailand, what do you have to do to get arrested, stand up for human rights?
A victim of trafficking from Hatyai has testified against the Hatyai Karaoke. In most civilized countries, this would be enough to arrest the owners, who traffick women like their own personal slaves. But not in Thailand. In Thailand you can do just about anything but stand up for human rights.
Lack of cooperation stalls investigation into the case of Ms. Wongsa.
From recent reports, the Rose Karaoke in Hatyai is still open. How come there hasn't been an arrest? Why was Thailand given improved status on trafficking reports if these brothels can act with impunity?
So far, the last thing this case seems to be about is Ms. Wongsa. We are encouraged that by the time the heavily funded and paid ANTI TRAFFICKING ngo's in Thailand get their act together, Ms. Wongsa will be out of prison. Strange isn't it?
Thaksin Shinawatra - Where Art Thou?
Will the Thai democracy movement ratify the International Criminal Court and bring Thaksin to justice for the Drug War Killings?
Disturbing enough, according to Amnesty International reports from 2003, Thaksin signed an impunity agreement on June 3 2003, which commits the government not to surrender US nationals accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes to the new International Criminal Court (ICC).
Somchai Hom-laor, chairman of the council's human rights committee, said evidence came to light supporting the belief that state officials were responsible for the deaths of 2,500 people in the anti-drugs campaign. The death toll was recorded from two phases of the campaign, the first from February to April 2003 and the second in 2005.
Officials were obeying a Thaksin policy which included a well-organised plan to issue a "licence to kill" with approval from Mr Thaksin, the then interior minister Wan Muhamad Nor Matha, and the then interior permanent secretary Sermsak Pongpanich.
"Saddam Hussein [the former president of Iraq] was charged with committing crimes against humanity for the killing of 170 people. In that case, the 2,500 deaths we witnessed here must constitute crimes against humanity," he said.
What about Gen. Surayud? He is accused of ordering the extra-judicial killings of Karen who took over a Thai hospital.
Extremely Racist Mission Web Page of the Caleb Project Bashes The Yanomamo Indians - Evangelicals "The Enemy of God" and Indigenous Peoples
We will be asking the Government of Venezuela the status on this project in Venezuela and why it is being allowed to go forward, considering the history of the missionaries in that region.
It is nearly incomprehensible how a Christian project could be so severely uninformed about the Indigenous and what they have suffered at the hands of White Saviours.
The book Darkness Over El Dorado clearly portrays how the Yanomamo were exploited in all forms by white researchers. Yet these mission projects, the least introspective of all life forms, choose to portray the Yanomamo as vicious cannibals no different than Dead Man's Chest. This is no redeeming Christ whom we know.
This project, following the model of the End of the Spear film by Steve Saint tries to inspire western people by making Indian people's out to be less than human. We oppose all such white racist versions of Indigenous peoples. (Read Darkness Over El Dorado)
Matt Castagna owes the Yanomamo an apology.
Contact the webmaster:
Oppose this racist trash where ever you find it. We do.
The Caleb Project is now called "Initiative 360 - Taking it Global". Like selling big mac's.
(You will not readily see the link on the Caleb Project homepage. It is a black icon in the top header that rotates with other ads, it is called "Caleb Project Feature: The Enemy God)
Terms Used in Feature Film Synopsis to describe the Yanomamo story in just a few paragraphs:
For the Queen of Thailand: Return the Land of Hooh Yoh Akha
The Akha Are Not Your Slaves
We are asking again, as we will keep asking in a louder and louder voice, for the Queen of Thailand to return the land of Hooh Yoh Akha. Taken in 2003, the land of Hooh Yoh is more than 4500 acres, the entire food source land base of Hooh Yoh Akha, for more than 1500 Akha and Lahu villagers. What people don't talk about is that the same thing was done at Doi Tung, where a large garden was built. All on land of the hill tribe.
Akha TV Program 2: Our Questions to UNESCO Bangkok
We have been writing to UNESCO and UNESCO Bangkok for going on a year. One of our concerns besides the fact that these people at UNESCO don't answer their email too quick, is why UNESCO Bangkok is in a partnership with four mission organizations? Their mandate is to protect culture, not destroy it, but these mission organizations are very much bent on eliminating Akha culture.
Akha TV 2: UNESCO and Missionaries 56 meg .mov
This is NO Picasso
Ok, here is the deal. Cause my fundraising skills are so lacking, I am going to sell these oil paintings. The paint is still wet, and like the disclaimer says, this is no Picasso. Write me an email if you want this thing. Maybe we will all eat this month.
This particular painting I painted myself, Michu is working on drawings, and soon as we can buy more canvas she is going to start doing some of the oil painting which she hasn't done before. We always wanted to set up an art studio in the village, but never got a break from all the killing and bs of the Thai army and police up there in the village area to move on to something a little bit more pleasant.
I will post the offers on this painting as they come in, if any do. Also we will have some of the kids art up here too. Other Akha may write in and have us post their art work here for sale also.
"Akha Ma". Oil on canvas, 18"x24". I will sell this to the highest bidder that comes in. My email is akhalife at gmail.com . Got a hole in the wall of your garage? Well, you can use this to cover it. But it is for a good cause and we might even pay our web bill. I will notify you if I am accepting what you offer, and you can send me the money on the paypal link, soon as I get that I will ship it within two days, making sure the paint is dry.
US the World's Largest Narco State
While the US and the UNODC saw it necessary to force the Akha to stop growing opium in Laos, eradicating crops, causing forced relocations, and probably the death of a host of Akha, the poorest of the poor, it turns out that the US is the world's biggest Narco State. So maybe the problem was that people were going overseas to smoke pot and opium causing some kind of trade deficit?
According to a report by David Alexander with Reuters, Marijuana is America's biggest cash crop. Americans using some $200 billion per year in "illegal" drugs.
Sort of funny when you think of it, all those christians preaching at the Akha.
Once Again We ask the Queen of Thailand to Return the Land of Hooh Yoh Akha
Three years on from the 2003 confiscation of Hooh Yoh's land, we call for the Queen of Thailand to return that land. 8500 rai of priceless farm land, now setting an emboldened precedent for Army and Forestry to take even more land of other nearby Akha villages.
The Queen can not help the hill people by first taking their land.
We continue to press this issue with the UN and other indigenous organizations and forums, because we are serious, we want the land returned.
You may search this site or contact us for more information on the case of the Queen of Thailand and the Land of Hooh Yoh Akha.
While most people think that the Royalty in Thailand only helps the poorest hill tribe, the facts on the ground in Chiangrai Province are very different. In fact thousands of acres of Akha farmland have been taken and made into gardens for Thai and other tourists. No Akha I ever interviewed stated that they were glad that they had lost their land for any reason. Would you???
ACF - The State of the Scandal
Action Contre La Faim in Laos:
The State of the Scandal
In response to accusations of sexual exploitation, appropriation of food from host communities, indifference to high mortality rates from malaria (viz., failure to provide mosquito nets), and a slew of management issues, Action Contre La Faim commissioned (and completed) an internal investigation in 2006. As of the time of writing, that report has not been released to the public, nor to those who formally presented the accusations of misconduct to the United Nations, contrary to stated promises from ACF.
The bulk of the "executive summary" of the report that was released focuses exclusively on management and staff issues. The very brief treatment of the question of sexual exploitation reveals the following:
1. Action Contre La Faim considers it acceptable for their employees to have sexual relations with 15 year old children; by definition, the executive summary says, sex between their employees and children 15 years of age (or older) is "not sexual abuse", but only "power abuse".
2. On the strength (or weakness) of the above definition, the executive summary concludes that no sexual abuse took place between their staff (of more than 80) in Muang Long and the indigenous population (of "targeted communities").
Having "dismissed" the very serious accusations made against them to their own satisfaction, ACF has proceeded with business as normal: they are again conducting large-scale "work for food" programs in Northern Laos, without making any changes to the staff, procedures, or policies that caused the scandal in the first place. Presently, one has to assume that they are withholding the full text of the report, as the line of reasoning that excuses them from sexual abuse might not agree with their donors; it certainly doesn't agree with us.
There is a similarly narrow excuse offered on the question of Malaria and the (failure to provide) mosquito nets to communities that were recently relocated (en masse) as part of opium elimination policies, resulting in staggering mortality rates. Simply, ACF defines their responsibility as making nets available for sale (in all communities? in some?), and outlines the terms and conditions involved in this tuck-shop effort that they operate; there is no evaluation of the effectiveness of the program, nor of how many lives it may have cost, nor how many might have been saved, if they followed another model, such as many other charities employ.
The verbally stated excuse from ACF, that Akha people "don't want mosquito nets", is not correct. In fact, the Akha of Luang Namtha province were coming into town and asking for the nets when they found out some people were getting them.
Neither is it sufficient to passively allow tribal populations to buy the nets when they have enough money to do so: it is of vital importance to offer them for free (what would the black market be in nets?), reinforce their value, and to help target communities to protect themselves against malaria, for the same reasons that it is not sufficient to passively provide condoms for sale in the prevention of AIDS. However, in Laos, AIDS actually infects far less than one percent of the population, whereas Malaria is the number one cause of death among children. Subsistence farmers rarely have spare cash to buy mosquito nets or anything else, and ACF should know this, as the reality of the "cashless economy" is part of the rationale for their own "work-for-food" program (a nice term for what the French used to call corvŽe labour here in Laos).
One can compare the "Save four lives" program supported by the Phnom Penh Post in Cambodia, which takes its name from the principle that providing a rural family with an (extra-large) mosquito net (for free) can save the lives of the parents and their children as well. Of course the nets have to be free, and of course rural people have to be urged to use them.
In the instance of resettled families in Malarial, rural Laos, the importance of providing mosquito nets really cannot be so easily brushed aside as the executive summary to the ACF report would pretend. The Lao government entrusted ACF with the well-being of many of these remote communities during a critical juncture (viz., relocation), and both the accusations and the report would seem to indicate that ACF did not (and does not) understand the gravity of that responsibility.
Although many have tried to represent the question of sexual exploitation in Muang Long as a minor issue that Akha.org has "blown out of proportion", the facts show that it is not a small issue in rural, northern Laos at all. Although Laos is a tiny country, 15,000 to 20,000 women and children are trafficked into prostitution abroad every year (viz., not including trafficking of laborers, or any employment other than sexual exploitation). [Source: 2003 UNCHR report, "Integration of the Human Rights of Womenษ"] Over the last five years cumulatively, this would equate to more than 3% of the female population leaving the country, and ending up in chains. Although traffickers' and exploiters' preference for Northern, tribal women (especially the Akha) may seem incomprehensible to Westerners, it is a well-documented fact. In Laos, the "Tibeto-Burman" language group is only 2.5% of the population (the majority of whom are Akha in Laos, with the remainder comprised of related tribes), but they comprise a staggering 10% of the victims of child trafficking.
[Source: 2004 UNICEF report, "Broken Promises, Shattered Dreams"] This disproportionate "bias" to sexually exploit Akha women is not matched by other ethnic groups, although there is a more general trend that preys upon northwestern women and girls (viz., including the Akha and other highland tribes), rather than southerners: "ษbased on the data collected in this study, girls from the northwestern provinces of Oudomxay, Luang Namtha, Luang Prabang and Bokeo tend to be mostly trafficked for purposes of sexual exploitation." [Ibidem]
Westerners have suggested that the accusations against ACF reflect some kind of baseless hysteria about the sexual exploitation of northern minorities on the part of Akha activists; however, those who say this have not done the research, and have not considered the hard facts.
Although many find it difficult to believe that bucolic settings like
Muang Long could be the scene of such depravity (including tourists
who have been there), the name of "Muang Long" seems to loom large in
case studies of sexual exploitation:
"Keo is an 18 year old Akha girl whose family was relocated to Long district in 2002ษ Keo met a woman named Ms. Lang who said she could find her a husband in China. She enticed Keo with stories about life in China and told her that the houses were bigger and that the standard of living was much higher there. She convinced Keo and another girl named Dou to go to China with her, without telling anyone they were leaving. Ms Lang brought the two girls to China andษ took care of all the papers and travel costs. When they arrived in China, they stayed at her house and some Chinese men came to the house to see them. Ms. Lang lied to the girls, promising that the men came to meet [sic.] because they were looking for wives. Keo was naive and believed it when the Chinese man told her he loved her and would marry her so she would not have to go back home. Keo did not marry the man from China because her older brother rescued her and Dou. It was not until the girls got home that they realized that Ms. Lang was not a matchmaker lining up prospective husbands for them. In fact, she was trying to sell them to the Chinese men. Fortunately her brother found her and brought both girls back to Laos." [Ibidem., case study, p. 26] This website has already extensively quoted material as to how dire the situation is in the area from Chris Lyttleton's 2004 report: Watermelons, bars and trucks: dangerous intersections in Northwest Lao PDR: An ethnographic study of social change and health vulnerability along the road through Muang Sing and Muang Long.
To make a long story short, Action Contre La Faim was not heading into a "normal" situation when they decided to set up shop in Muang Long. They were heading into a crisis, not only of malnutrition and malaria, but of desperation and widespread sexual exploitation.
One way or another, they seem to have gotten caught up in the most odious aspects of this crisis. The accusations and testimony are too damning to dismiss by simply defining them as "power abuse" (in ACF's terms), refusing to admit "sexual abuse", and then carrying on with business as usual.
As of the time of writing (Dec. 2006 - Jan. 2007) starvation and malnutrition is a real and present in northern Laos once again (as the dry season returns), and international donors are scrambling to distribute rice to remote communities that have, frankly, lost the ability to feed themselves in the scramble to relocate them, and to force an abrupt end to traditional lifestyle of shifting cultivation supplemented by hunting and gathering.
Some of the relocation and opium eradication programs have been successful, and there are hopeful examples of resettled communities that have done well (with Lao government support and oversight) in Huaphan province and around Phu Khao Kuay national park; however, it is no less important to admit that some relocated communities have been failures, or have incurred terrible costs in terms of human mortality, and it would seem that these often correspond to a lack of government oversight, allowing foreign NGOs to run amok.
Presently, the 2nd session of the 6th legislature of the Lao National Assembly is engaged in a very open discussion of the merits and failures of relocation programs, including some frank and critical talk of particular examples where infertile land, lack of microcredit support, or other factors have hobbled community development. This is a striking contrast to the disinformation and doublespeak offered by "humanitarian" agencies such as Action Contre La Faim and Norwegian Church Aid.
Organizations such as ACF, NCA, and GTZ need to look critically at their own record: are they really in Northern Laos to foster healthy, self-reliant communities, or are they more interested in dispatching their well paid engineers to carry out infrastructure and eco-tourism projects that marginalize and "modernize" the communities they pretend to preserve.
Finally, at what point does the culture of impunity among "developers" and "humanitarian" agencies stop? Apparently, so far as Action Contre La Faim is concerned, it doesn't stop at engaging in sex and prostitution with 15 year old children, in some of the most vulnerable and desperate communities in the world. We all look forward to reading the full text of their report --if it is ever supplied.
The comments in this article are the express opinion and observations of the donor.
In the Case of Ms. Wongsa, will the Thai Brothel Owner be Charged With a Crime?
While Ms. Wongsa languishes in the Singapore prison, the Thai MAMMASAN continues running a brothel in Hatyai slaving girls. We want to know when the brothel owner is going to be arrested? When will the brothel be shut? When will the brothel owner go to prison, and for how many years?
Thailand needs to take action to protect the Akha by putting brothel owners in prison.
Still No Reply From UNESCO Bangkok's Sheldon Shaeffer
We still have not received a reply from UNESCO Bangkok's Sheldon Shaeffer regarding UNESCO Bangkok's association with the very missionary organizations which are busy destroying the Akha.
We consider UNESCO Bangkok's association with these organizations a betrayal of the traditional Akha people and outside of their mandate.
Our original letter can be seen at:
We will continue to persue this issue with UNESCO.
UN Slams Indigenous People - Rejects Draft Declaration
Depressing news on the outcome of today's UN Vote on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
82 countries voted in favour of delaying the UNGA consideration of the Declaration (67 against, with 25 abstentions).
This means the text of the Declaration will be re-opened for negotiation (indigenous peoples may or may not be invited to participate) and September 2007 will be the new deadline.
Aroha Te Pareake Mead
Subject: UN affirms Indigenous Peoples are not equal to all other Peoples
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' CAUCUS
28 November 2006
UN affirms Indigenous Peoples are not equal to all other Peoples
The Indigenous Caucus is shocked and outraged by the actions of the United Nations, who today failed to adopt the most important international instrument for the promotion and protection of human rights for Indigenous Peoples. The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which represents more than 20 years of work within the UN, constitutes the minimum standards for their survival, dignity and well-being.
The newly created UN Human Rights Council, which is the premier international body to deal with human rights, adopted the Declaration in June of this year. The Declaration was one of the substantial achievements of the Council. However, it was delivered a huge blow today by African States, most of whom had chosen not to participate throughout this standard-setting process. Africa took the lead in blocking the adoption of the Declaration, which strategy was supported and encouraged by New Zealand, Canada, Australia and the United States.
It is clear that these actions are a politicization of human rights that show complete disregard for the ongoing human rights abuses suffered by Indigenous Peoples. This betrayal and injustice severely impacts 370 million Indigenous people in all regions of the world, who are among the most marginalized and vulnerable.
On May 24, 2002, Secretary General Kofi Annan, had proclaimed that the world's Indigenous Peoples ".have a home at the United Nations." However, today's vote by opposing States clearly demonstrates that this is not the case.
Indigenous Peoples Caucus At UN Headquarters, New York
Aroha Te Pareake Mead,
Visiting Research Fellow
Thaksin Could Face Criminal Court For Drug War Killings 2003-2005
Justice could still be served. Thai citizens are urging that Thailand ratify the Convention on the International Criminal Court, so that Thaksin can be charged with war crimes, crimes against humanity, in the same manner that Saddam Husein is being tried. The relentless and brutal murders of Akha Hill Tribe and other hill tribes as well as lowland Thais can not be forgotten.
Let us hope that like Haman of old, Thaksin gets to hang on his own gallows.
We would also like to bring back memory of Eric S. Rubin, the Consul to the US Consulate in Chiangmai, who has moved on to other drug enforcement related jobs in the State Department, that we made reports on a repeated basis to him about the drug war killings that were happening to the Akha, to the Lahu, Yao and other tribes during Thaksin's drug war. Mr. Rubin never took any action that we can confirm of to offer protection to these people or press the issue with the Thai government. The American voice was silent on Human Rights, just miles from Myanmar and the China border. The killings were not interrupted.
Akha Post Cards in Laos Made to Expose
French photographer Michel Huteau runs a post card business in Laos. We noted in the large displays that the photos of the Akha women always showed them in some uncomfortable pose with their breasts exposed. We did not see any postcards of any other Lao women portrayed in this manner. In Akha villages it is considered rude to stare at women or to photograph them in a stage of undress. Akha villages are private communities, not considered the same as a residential neighborhood. So we went to the shop of Mr. Michel Huteau and asked why no other women in the postcards were photographed in a manner that exposed their breasts, only Akha women? Course we got not much of a reply. We faxed a request as well, once again no answer. We expressed that to portray Akha women for post cards in this manner was not acceptable.
This is one of the postcards of an Akha woman in Laos.
Launch of On Line Akha TV
We are excited to get some new things going here, and now we start a new challenge, Akha TV. A little dry at first, but we hope to have an interesting collection of story telling and news about the projects and investigations.
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