The Akha Heritage Foundation -
Akha Human Rights - Akha University


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The Akha and UNESCO

We have had numerous abortive conversations with UNESCO regarding the Akha.
We have talked to Mr. Smeets at the main office of UNESCO regarding Intangible Heritage Rights for the Akha. He took six months to answer our email. He refered us to David Feingold at the Bangkok office. We have asked David Feingold who works in the Bangkok office regarding Intangible Heritage Rights of the Akha. No Reply. It is very important that people realize that Intangible Heritage status is a project of UNESCO and that UNESCO could be facilitating it for the Akha, and we are willing to do most of the work.

UNESCO has never offered us any information on how the process can be initiated. To us, this appears racist in nature. Yet it isn't surprising considering what we discovered below.

There may be some reason to this in that UNESCO is suppose to assist in preserving culture, but in reality, David Feingold has two mission agencies involved on the UNESCO website, missions that are known to be involved in the destruction of Akha culture, the foremost being the New Life Foundation.

David Feingold can not explain this to us.

Further, David Feingold has also promoted an Eco Tourism project in Laos to Akha villages without their full informed consent, which is obvious in the fact that he does not include an Akha Advocate in the process. The villages which we observed were exploited, had many health problems and the staff of the tour agencies seemed little concerned with these issues. Facilities far superior to any living conditions the Akha had were built in the villages for tourists so that they could "observe" the Akha.

GTZ, Green Discovery and a number of other companies are participating in these tours which lack Free, Prior and Informed Consent, signing very limiting contracts with the Akha people while the Akha people have no legal consulting regarding their rights and these contracts.

UNESCO Declaration on the INTENTIONAL Destruction of Culture
Other Comments on UNESCO can be seen here.
Our November 2006 Letter to UNESCO Bangkok
The UNESCO Missionary Alliance in Thailand

Copyright 1991 The Akha Heritage Foundation