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  • Writer's pictureManushya Foundation

Khon Isaan: Voice of the marginalized community finally heard!

#FightRacism #WhatsHappeningInThailand 🚨 Isaan is the most populous, yet the poorest region of Thailand. Its population has long been excluded from the majority society, left in poverty and criminalized simply for trying to earn a living. But in November 2021, their voices were finally heard! Read more ⤵️

📍 People from Isaan, or Khon Isaan, face discrimination in their everyday lives. Under the guise of Thainess, they are portrayed as less educated, simple countryside people who cannot speak proper Thai. Thai media routinely spread these stereotypes and discrimination against Khon Isaan is so normalized that even young Thais don't blink an eye when confronted with racist abuse on social media, as was the case with racist comments against Isaan people by Thai youth on Clubhouse!

⚠️ Isaan people, the majority of whom make a living from agriculture, are also demonized as destroyers of the forest and become victims of the Government's false climate solutions which throw them even further into poverty! Isaan women are then stereotyped as 'mia farang' meaning 'white foreigner's wife' while they are often forced to take up sex work to help sustain themselves.

⚠️ However, the Thai government has never been called out for allowing such racial and structural discriminations to take place and sometimes even promoting it! Manushya Foundation has spent several years actively advocating for the rights of the Khon Isaan and this year, we made sure that Thailand was held accountable!

#VoicesOfThailand ✊🏽 Together with the Thai CSOs Coalition for the UPR, the Human Rights Violations in Isaan Monitoring Group, Sai Thong Rak Pah Network, Amnat Charoen Friend of Women Center and Isaan Gender Diversity Network (IGDN), we have prepared the UPR Factsheet on Khon Isaan to inform Thailand's 3rd Universal Periodic Review, a UN human rights review that took place in November 2021.

🗣️ We also included concerns of the Khon Isaan in our Shadow Civil Society Report for Thailand's CERD Review and participated in two sessions with the CERD Committee members to make sure these concerns are addressed. In several ground-breaking interventions by the Committee members, the issue of human rights violations of Isaan people was addressed for the very first time at any UN human rights review of Thailand.

✊🏽 As Thailand is a signatory of the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), the official outcome of the review - concluding observations - is legally binding and the Thai government MUST implement provided recommendations.

Share this with your network to ensure the world knows about #WhatsHappeningInThailand!

👉🏼 Access the UPR Advocacy Factsheet on Khon Isaan here.

👉🏼 Access the Joint Civil Society Shadow Report for Thailand's CERD Review here.

❤️ Thank you to the Embassy of Canada in Thailand and the Embassy of Switzerland in Thailand for their support in making #VoicesOfThailand heard for Thailand UPR III review.


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