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The Queen of Thailand and the Theft of Hooh Yoh Lands
The New York Declaration 2 of 3

The New York Declaration
2 of 3
The Akha Heritage Foundation
UNPFII 2007 New York

The Queen of Thailand
Theft of Akha Traditional Lands in Thailand

In 2003 the Queen of Thailand initiated a land use project at the village of Hooh Yoh Akha in Ampur Mae Faluang, Chiangrai province of Thailand. Villagers were immediately notified that they would loose all of their farmlands, the livelihood of more than 1500 people.

The villagers of Hooh Yoh Akha came to Matthew McDaniel of the Akha Heritage Foundation, who lived in an adjoining village, a known human rights defender, and asked his assistance in defending their land.

Matthew McDaniel began to publicize the case and placed volunteers as observers in the village of Hooh Yoh Akha.

In January of 2004 Matthew McDaniel filed a 46 count case with the UNOHCHR regarding the extrajudicial killing and torture of Akha peoples in the same immediate region. These acts of terrorism against Akha villagers were seen as a means of intimidating the Akha into keeping silent about the theft of their lands.

In February and March of 2004 Matthew McDaniel began to increase publicity and photo documentation about the theft of Akha lands. In April of 2004 Matthew McDaniel was arrested and deported from Thailand as a risk to national security. He was not allowed to contact his family including his wife and three small children, who were left behind in Thailand.

Since 2004 the Queen of Thailand has continued to seize Akha lands and has taken all of the lands of Hooh Yoh Akha, Pah Nmm Akha and certain lands of Pai ah Pai Akha as well as the lands of many other Akha villages in the region. Akha villages continue to be forcibly relocated since 2004 and the relocations have become more brutal since the military coup.

This is in direct violation of international law and the rights of indigenous peoples to their land and natural resources.

We call on the international community to denounce this land seizure by the Queen of Thailand and demand the return of all Akha lands.

We call on the Special Rapporteur, Prof. Rodolfo Stavenhagen, to investigate the case of Hooh Yoh Akha and other Akha land seizures by the Queen of Thailand.

Matthew McDaniel
The Akha Heritage Foundation

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