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Akha Human Rights - Akha University
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ID Cards for the Akha
ID cards have been a very difficult concern of the Akha people for many years. Although some Akha villages have been in Thailand for over a hundred years, the Akha are yet to be recognized as citizens of Thailand. However, the Thai government, which claims they are immigrants, often illegal, refuses at the same time to have them classified as refugees.
Being without a Thai ID card and also without Thai citizenship makes life very difficult.
Travel, medical care, education, the right to own land, are all made impossible without an ID card.
Even with limited ID cards of green or blue color, the Akha are not allowed to travel out of their ampur district. For those who go out and come back, they are usually fined by police at checkpoints for any amount of money, even if the trip was made to a hospital.
Though the ID card issue has been pressed for years, only about 20,000 of the 70,000 Akha in Thailand have Thai ID cards.
And Akha people with ID cards continue to be discriminated against.
While working to improve ID card situations for the Akha, so many Akha are without an ID card and without the most basic identity papers that much thought is given to establishing an Akha ID card system that would issue an ID card to every Akha individual, asserting their identity, village, and age. Such a system would also impress on Thai authorities, that even without the Thai ID card, the Akha had a place and their identity was known and their safety monitored.
Copyright 1991 The Akha Heritage Foundation