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1503 Filed Against Sacramento County
1503 Sacramento County, California USA
Discrimination against the Akha people.
1503 Complaint Form For the defense of the Akha families of Sacramento, California, USA
International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Date: Feb. 1, 2005
I. Information on the complainant:
Name: McDaniel First name(s): Matthew
Nationality: USA Date and place of birth: Michigan, USA April 3, 1958
Address for correspondence on this complaint:
The Akha Heritage Foundation
PO BOX 6073
Submitting the communication:
on the author's own behalf:
on behalf of another persons: X
[ If the complaint is being submitted on behalf of another person:]
Please provide the following personal details of that other person
Names: Unkown First name(s): Unknown
Two or more Akha families, approximately 12 people or more.
Nationality: USA Date and place of birth: Unknown/Laos
Address or current whereabouts: Sacramento, California, USA
If you are acting with the knowledge and consent of that person, please provide that person's authorization
for you to bring this complaint
If you are not so authorized, please explain the nature of your relationship with that person:
We are an international agency that defends the human rights of the Akha people free of charge.
and detail why you consider it appropriate to bring this complaint on his or her behalf: â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦..
We have been informed that the Akha families are in Sacramento and that they are being hid and that they are being deprived of their rights.
II. State concerned/Articles violated
Name of the State that is either a party to the Optional Protocol (in the case of a complaint to the Human
Rights Committee) or has made the relevant declaration (in the case of complaints to the Committee against Torture or the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination):
United States of America
1. US Dept. of State
2. Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance, Sacramento, California
2. Sacramento County Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California
Articles of the Covenant or Convention alleged to have been violated:
Freedom from racial discrimination, right to language, freedom of movement and travel regardless of race and religion.
III. Exhaustion of domestic remedies/Application to other international procedures
Steps taken by or on behalf of the alleged victims to obtain redress within the State concerned for the
alleged violation detail which procedures have been pursued, including recourse to the courts and other
public authorities, which claims you have made, at which times, and with which outcomes:
We have referred this case to the County administrator, to the Governor of California and to the US Department of Health and Human Services. However we are concerned that due to the urgency of the situation that the Akha face world wide, this case should be brought to the attention of the United Nations as quickly as possible.
If you have not exhausted these remedies on the basis that their application would be unduly
prolonged, that they would not be effective, that they are not available to you, or for any other
reason, please explain your reasons in detail:
We believe that due to the lack of awareness in the US about the international Akha situation, and due to the fact that there is little knowledge of the Akha situation in the US, the kinds of discrimination that the Akha face on a regular basis, that in order to protect the Akha as quickly as possible we are filing this case with the UN, and to protect any other Akha who soon find themselves in this situation.
Have you submitted the same matter for examination under another procedure of international investigation
or settlement (e.g. the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the European Court of Human
Rights, or the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights)? Not at this time.
If so, detail which procedure(s) have been, or are being, pursued, which claims you have made, at
which times, and with which outcomes:
IV. Facts of the complaint
Detail, in chronological order, the facts and circumstances of the alleged violations. Include all matters
which may be relevant to the assessment and consideration of your particular case. Please explain how you
consider that the facts and circumstances described violate your rights.
On Oct. 27, 2005 we were told by the Sacramento Department of Human Assitance, California, USA that there were two Akha families who were recent refugees with the Hmong from the temple camp in Thailand. We asked that our agencies contact information be given to these Akha families in order to provide Akha translation services and other social and culturally relevant services.
We were informed in December that the County still had not provided this contact information to the Akha and still had not informed them of their right to communicate their needs in their own language, Akha.
We are the only US and European based agency providing Akha translation services.
The County of Sacramento Human Assistance and Health Service refused these services though we are listed with their regular agency.
We were then told that the Akha did not need to speak in their own language by David Mowery of the Department of Human Assistance Deputy Director. These sentiments were expressed as well by office staff Rhonda Nolland, and Tren Vu.
We were told by Bowling Road Department of Human Assistance office staff that it was important to solve this problem but that they were being prevented by their supervisors.
We were told by Dept. of Health Services Laura Hardcastle that it was not possible that we had come to California to provide services to only two Akha families, questioning the integrity of our services.
We were told by Tim Moua of the Bowling Road office that there were indeed two Akha families in Sacramento.
We were told by Department of Health Services that our imformation "may" have been given to the Akha but they were being told they should NOT contact us. Debbie Salazaar, Department of Health Services Sacramento clinic Aministrator Stocton Road and Broadway Road office, Sacramento.
We were told by agency workers at World Relief resettlement agency that the County of Sacramento was "hiding" these Akha.
We were told that the US State Department is not allowing Akha refugees who are in Thailand to come to the US, even though they fled Laos at the same time as the Hmong. We believe this to be discrimination against the Akha who are in the refugee camp in Thailand.
We were told by the County that the Akha may be here as Hmong and not legally and that they can not provide them access to Akha language services and pro bono legal aid for this reason.
We believe the Akha families in Sacramento are not fully informed of their rights, are not informed in Akha language, and are being kept as virtual prisoners, in a state of fear, without knowing what their legal options are.
We believe that the State Department has discriminated against the Akha and that the County of Sacramento is also discriminating against the Akha.
We believe that numerous resettlement agencies are aiding this cover up and also discriminating against the Akha.
We have been told by the Department of Human Assistance that the Akha have medical problems. The Akha have a long history of traditional medicine that does not necessarily correspond to western medicine and by cutting the Akha off from their own medical practioners the Akha are being put in health jeapordy.
There are numerous Mien families in the Akha area and numerous Akha families in the US who would be willing to provide community to these Akha families but this information is being withheld from the Akha.
As of Jan 21, 2005 we are told that the Akha exist but don't exist and are being hid by Sacramento County.
Sacramento Department of Assistance and Sacramento Department of Health Services are both in violation of international law.
We request that the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights investigate this situation with the utmost urgency, and request the full and transparent release of these Akha families, that full Akha lanauage services be provided and that these families be given every protection of their cultural, medical and legal rights under international law.
The Akha Heritage Foundation
PO BOX 6073
Salem, OR. 97304
[The blanks under the various sections of this model communication simply indicate where your responses
are required. You should take as much space as you need to set out your responses.]
V. Checklist of supporting documentation (copies, not originals, to be enclosed with your complaint):
1. Currently we are waiting for the results of the investigation by the US Department of Health and Human Serivices.
2. The State Department has refused to provide us with information on the situation of Akha refugees in the camps.
3. Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance and Department of Health Services have refused to show that the Akha are gaining information as to their rights and access to Akha language and legal services.
4. The Akha families may be in threat of deportation.
- Written authorization to act (if you are bringing the complaint on behalf of another person and are
not otherwise justifying the absence of specific authorization):
- Decisions of domestic courts and authorities on your claim (a copy of the relevant national
legislation is also helpful):
- Complaints to and decisions by any other procedure of international investigation or settlement:
- Any documentation or other corroborating evidence you possess that substantiates your
description in Part IV of the facts of your claim and/or your argument that the facts described amount to a
violation of your rights:
If you do not enclose this information and it needs to be sought specifically from you, or if accompanying
documentation is not provided in the working languages of the Secretariat, the consideration of your
complaint may be delayed.
Copyright 1991 The Akha Heritage Foundation