After a year in Laos waiting for a visa for Michu, we have returned to Keizer, via the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
While in Laos we uncovered the disastrous US Drug War in Laos. Eradication of the opium crop while people had nothing else to eat, and the forced relocation of villages as an excuse to make them comply with the eradication program. Villages were forced into the lowlands where malaria took over, killing up to half the population in the villages during the first year, in order to make the US Govt. happy with its eradication program. Since there is little information coming out of Laos it was safe to bet that the US could force its policy, along with the UNODC (office of drugs and crime) and get away with it. Press articles carried glowing reports of crop substitution, which was in fact starvation and death. These issues were brought up at the UN in New York last week.
As well, while in Laos we discovered that the NGO's Norwegian Church Aid, and Action Against Hunger had severe staff problems. NGO staff were systematically raping the young Akha women in the villages of north Laos as the Akha testified to it in video interviews. Currently these stories are breaking in theNorwegian press and soon to be the French press.
Both agencies admitted they had a problem but failed to act to do anything about it.
We assisted Akha in Laos with mosquito nets and other aid that we could afford to render.
At the UN we presented again the Akha case regarding human rights abuses in Thailand. We note that a Thai is the next possible head of the UN, a bad choice, considering Thailand's reputation for human rights.
We also presented for the final statement of the 5th Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues that the relevant UN agencies must investigate the forced removal of indigenous children from their communities.
Now we turn our attention to Salem and the US. We will continue to do projects in SE Asia as funding permits. In Salem, there is the issue of two missionaries who are supporting the removal of Akha children and destruction of their culture in Thailand.
Also there is the issue of OMF and their website which makes racist statements against the Akha, in the same region where Norwegian Church Aid staff were raping the village women, some of whom became pregnant.
Click the OMF website link on www.akha.org
Also there are links to the Norwegian articles and a movie from that was made at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous issues.
If you would like a human rights presentation at your location regarding the Akha situation, please let us know.
We will continue to publicize regarding Akha human rights in SE Asia. We also continue to look for two Akha families smuggled into Sacramento. There will be a new Akha film coming out in Novermber. We will post that as soon as we know.
We have a lot of updating and repair to do on the website too. Hope to hear from you soon.