Stop the Abuse of the Akha people by Christian Missions!
In village after village in Northern Thailand's Chiangrai Province the Chinese Baptist Church and other Churches are removing large numbers of girls from Akha villages in the name of protecting them from the possibility of going into prostitution.
According to the Geneva Convention on Genocide it is illegal to remove a people from their group and make them a part of another group.
Throughout northern Thailand, telling families that their daughters will be educated, the Chinese Baptists, and numerous other protestant and catholic groups are stripping all the girls of marriageable age from Akha villages by using the ploy that they will be educated in town at churches where the population usually is not dominantly Akha, but rather
Thai or Chinese or another hill tribe group. Foreigners are being told that the girls are at high risk for going into prostitution but the net result is that there are no girls in the villages for Akha boys to marry and the villages are being torn apart in this fashion.
The battle is on in northern Thailand for the life of Akha villages.
This battle is over the right of the Akha to remain in the mountains without being under seige of every wannabee protestant organization that has a "adopt an unreached people group" program to force a church into every ethnic village on the planet by the year 2000.
There are currently hundreds of girls in the "protective custody" of Christian missions in northern Thailand and the numbers increase as these groups find it easy to get funding from the western church peoples for "protecting the virginity" of these girls. The attitude is that the Akha environment is only a PAGAN ENVIRONMENT and that therefore the pulling of the girls out of these villages by promising their families that they will be educated is justified.
No thought is given to the ramifications on the birth rate of AKHA CHILDREN and the sustainablility of the culture in the already highly marginalized environement that Akha villages live in.
It is generally unknown what these groups are up to as they continue to repeat the practices of removing children from their tribal environment as has been done in Australia and the Residential schools of Canada.
Denmark students groups blocked from building non religious school in akha village by chinese baptist church of maesai, chiangrai, Thailand!
A group of teachers and students who came from Denmark to help assist in an Akha village were confronted by aggressive men from the Chinese Baptist mission that was located more than 100 kilometers away and were told that "this was to be a Christian village" and no school for learning to read and write Akha would be allowed to go on. These men were Lisaw, did not live in the village but threatened the villagers that they had to stop the construction and that the regional Lisaw headman would be contacted threatening their already delicate ability to hold onto that village land on that much coveted mountain in Hua Mae Khom.
The Denmark students group from a project in Denmark called "The Small Schools" had already received permission from the Akha Headman to build a school in traditional Akha style, in a clearing on the steep hillside where one family had volunteered to remove their house and move up one terrace so that the Akha school could be in the center of the village, accesible to all, and where parents could easily spot their children. According to non traditional learning, in an Akha village the center gathering area often has a small open air building with no walls, only benches around the edge where children can come to learn, play, older villagers gather for a smoke, drink of tea or a meeting and so forth. These buildings exist in many Akha villages. Mission after mission have fabricated the falsehood that these open terraces are where Akha young people come for sex in plain view and that they must not be allowed and that churches must be built there instead and then kept locked.
These terraces that serve as central meeting areas for the villages are crucial to Akha children having a place to come in the safety of the village and learn their language.
Most villages have this place to gather but due to the steep hillside this village did not.
The Denmark students group had already made the more than 200 kilometer round trip back out of the mountains to purchase the required building materials and had them trucked adjacent to the building site, for use in the morning. That night two aggressive men from the Chinese Baptist Mission in Maesai came into the village and began going from hut to hut telling the villagers that they could not build "without the MISSION'S permission" and that the regional Lisaw headman would be contacted and that the mission head would be brought out to stop the project. The villagers became frightened at this time and asked that the construction be stopped. Hundreds of dollars had already been spent by the students for these materials and they would not be able to return. The materials had to be left with the headman with no idea how construction would go on.
This village had been pushed into conversion to Christianity only a couple of months before and already radical changes were being imposed on the village.
Numerous girls had been gotten from families for "education" at the mission in Maesai even though there are Thai schools that other students go to, but these are not boarding schools.
On the following day we went to the Maesai Chinese Baptist Church and as luck would have it, there the same young men were. We asked the officials of the church why they had the right to stop the construction?
They told the woman from Denmark she would have to get the police. She did. The police told her that they couldn't make the church give back the money but that the church had no right to do that and we could build. But the Denmark teachers and students had to get back on the bus and the materials were left in the village, the project unfinished.
We are seeking anyone who has the qualifications to document human rights abuses as per the indigenous, who would be willing to come here and document these many cases. Without this kind of help it will be very difficult to stop this tragedy.
Please Contact your foreign ministry about this abuse of the Akha People and their right to their indigenous culture. Request that they contact the Thai Embassy in your country and find out what is being done to protect the indigenous culture of the Akha people from agressive foreign missions.
Please protest to the head office of the Maitrichit Chinese Baptist Church in Bangkok.
Phone: 66-2-222-5056, fax: 66-2-225-0299
Regarding Endangered Language:
For the Akha Weekly Update it must be added that the very kind people from Denmark and the small schools program have donated the three last toner cartridges that we so seriously needed to finish the "in progress" 50 copies of the Akha reader and these will be done in a few days.
From there we will continue our effort to get the deposit money on the building paid and get the printing press paid for and get the first large printing of 20,000 copies of the Akha Reader printed. After that there will be the currently finished Akha Children's Workbook and a host of other books already in the rough draft stage.