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UNESCO and SIL and Missions
The New York Declaration 1 of 3

The New York Declaration
Part 1 of 3
The Akha Heritage Foundation
UNPFII 2007 New York
Petition: UNESCO / SIL
UNESCO Needs to Sever All Mission Affiliations World Wide

In Thailand UNESCO is working with Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) on an Akha language project to the exclusion of traditional Akha people and organizations which UNESCO could have worked with.

UNESCO has stated that there is NOT activity in Thailand regarding Non-Tangible Heritage when in fact UNESCO itself is working with Summer Institute of Linguistics on Akha language in related projects.

Link to document on SIL site:
We have repeatedly contacted UNESCO about preserving Akha culture. UNESCO has been less than ingenius in their deception that there is no possibility to work on such a project or subject.

We have contacted the following UNESCO related officers repeatedly:
Mr. Smeets in Paris
Mr. Shaeffer in Bangkok
Mr. David Feingold in Bangkok
While these individuals claim a very large intellectual space regarding Akha language and culture, they have refused opportunities to work with traditional Akha projects and organizations.

We have filed formal letters of complaint with UNESCO both with Mr. Smeets in Paris and Mr. Shaeffer in Bangkok. We have never received a response to those concerns. We have also identified that UNESCO has partner relationships with mission organizations via its office of External Relations, and has placed three mission organizations on its Bangkok website. These very same organizations are involved in the active destruction of Akha traditional culture and oral literature (Oral Libraries) and in one case, that of New Life Foundation, the founder was responsible for an extensive progrom of sterilizing Akha women. (Paul W. Lewis)

Link to document:
The mission organizations listed as partner organization on the UNESCO website are: New Life Foundation, Chiangmai Thailand - (Paul W. Lewis - Sterilizations)
World Concern, Yunnan, China
Project Grace International, Yunnan, China

Mission organizations in Northern Thailand, Myanmar, China and Laos are committed to the complete destruction of Akha culture, removal of gates, removal of swings, elimination of traditional naming systems, elimination of elder leadership, elimination of the transmission of Akha oral culture to the children from the elders, the suppression of Akha dress, the elimination of all Akha traditional ceremonies honoring parents, the explicit vilification of all things Akha, the coercive removal of large numbers of Akha children to residential schools for forced conversion which is in direct violation of the Geneva Convention on Genocide (5) and the establishment of churches and conversion practices in Akha villages placing pre-designated pastors in positions of village domination and leadership.

We see it as a failure of moral leadership on the part of UNESCO to be involed with, partnered with or assisting in any fashion a coordination with religious based organizations which have a biased religious, political and racial agenda. We see it as a failure to maintain the separation of church and state. UNESCO has come in direct violation of its own mandate to protect culture rather than work with those who destroy culture.

We call on UNESCO to sever all ties with Summer Institute of Linguistics and all mission organizations world wide.

The Undersigned:
Matthew McDaniel
The Akha Heritage Foundation

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