• Manushya Foundation

How do we #FightRacism against people from Isaan?



📍 Do you remember Isaan people? Living in the Northeast of Thailand, this large ethnic community faces hard daily challenges. Between racial discrimination and severe poverty, they are excluded from Thai society. However, during Thailand's CERD Review in November 2021, we made sure that their voices were finally heard! Read on to learn more ⤵️


#RacialDiscrimination🚨 Isaan people are facing an acute lack of equal opportunities in matters of jobs and education, and because of their countryside origin, they are a target of negative stereotypes where the urban population describes them as ‘stupid’, ‘dark-skin’, ‘poor lower-class people’ or 'mia farang' (white foreigner's wife). The racism is so normalized that Thai youth even casually engage in racist abuse against Khon Isaan on social media!


Instead of trying to improve their situation, the Government leaves Khon Isaan behind. For example, for more than 26 years, whole communities have been waiting for fair compensation after the construction of Pak Mun Dam had transformed their natural environment and taken away their livelihoods. The excuse of the authorities? They "didn't understand" the Isaan people's Lao dialect! The Government even worsens the situation with its false climate solutions and unfair forest conservation laws that target poor small-scale Isaan farmers such as Sab Wai Villagers!


🗣 Despite the Government's inaction, we succeeded in making Isaan people's voices heard by the international community! Over two meetings with CERD Committee members in November 2021, our founder Emilie Pradichit lobbied for the issue of racism against Khon Isaan to be included in Thailand's CERD Review:


"Dear CERD Committee members, I implore you, urge you, to not leave Isaan people behind. It takes you now to break the taboo, to ask questions, to make concluding observations that Isaan people need, that will, I hope one day, bring Justice and Equality to those who have been suffering in silence, humiliated in silence, and who have been cast for too long as criminals: simply because they are sex workers, or farmers living and protecting the forest.


Dear CERD Committee members, the power is now in your hands. It’s time for Isaan people to be treated as Equal Human Beings." Emilie Pradichit, Founder and Executive Director of Manushya Foundation


When the CERD Review came, the CERD Committee members addressed the discrimination against Khon Isaan for the first-ever time at a UN human rights review of Thailand! They even used our words and the evidence-based data we provided!


The Committee issued recommendations, so-called concluding observations, that the Thai Government MUST address:


👉 Tackle obstacles that prevent ethnic groups and indigenous peoples from accessing public services

👉 Implement policies to reduce poverty and enhance their economic and social inclusion

👉 Protect and preserve their cultural identity


#WeAreManushyan - Equal Human Beings


We urge the Government to fullfill its obligations and promote equal opportunities for every citizen, regardless of their ethnicity or religion! We stand in solidarity with the Isaan people!


🙏 Like and share this post to raise awareness about the discrimination they face & pressure the Government to truly implement the CERD Committee's recommendations!


#WhatsHappeningInThailand #HumanRights #CERD #SaveThaiDemocracy #IndigenousPeoples #IndigenousRights #IsaanPeoples #HumanRightsForAll #LocalCommunity #LandRights #Equality #RacialDiscrimination #EqualRights


References :


Manushya Foundation, Khon Isaan Thailand's third Universal Review Periodic Review Cycle (9 September 2021), available at: https://www.manushyafoundation.org/thailand-third-upr-cycle-factsheet-khon-isaan


Manushya Foundation, Joint Civil Society Shadow Report on the implementation of ICERD (25 October 2021), available at: https://www.manushyafoundation.org/joint-civil-society-cerd-shadow-report

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