On 20 March 2013, the project organized the dissemination session on CERD committee’s concluding observation to Thailand was organized in Chiangmai. The Program again was co-oganized by Ethnic Studies and Development Center, Sociology Faculty, Chiangmai University and Highland Peoples Taskforce at 4th Floor Common meeting Room, Sociology Faculty, Chiangmai University. There were around 30 participants joined the session. Dr. Malee Sitikiengkai of CESD was master of ceremony throughout the session. Dr. Chayan Wattanaputi, CESD, Sociology Faculty, Chiangmai University kindly gave open speech for the consultation. Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, Director, Cross Cultural Foundation presented on CERD and CERD Committee process and role of civil society. The session was also joined by government high ranking officer. Ms. Pitikan Sitidej, Deputy Director of Rights and Liberties Protection Division, Ministry of Justice together with Mr. Uthai Tariya of Justice office of Chiangmai Province and Mr. Chainan Sangtong of Cultural Ministry, Permanent Secretarial office also attended the forum. The forum agreed with some recommendation and suggestion how to follow up CERD concluding observations;
1. For education and cultural understanding on eliminating racial discriminations;
• Promoting multi-cultural education aiming to reduce racial bias and discrimination
• Promoting change in individual and family level and promoting communities network among diverse groups in Thailand. Each individuals and networks also need capacity building to strengthen each others
• Shall we not violate other and shall not discriminate each other or other ethnic groups
• We should work or seek cooperation with Thailand Reform Committee lead by Dr. Pravaj Wasee to insert our agenda into the national discussion; however, there will be a last meeting of Thailand Reform Committee soon.
• Shall we monitor the news report on drug suppression which always bias and stigma to some/certain ethnic groups
• Shall we use Change.org for any campaign for Change?
2. Community rights and natural resources management for ethnic and IPs population;
• Representative of Akha tribe shared that there is a decreasing of land owned by IP as most of young people after got modern education they did not want to work on field and farm in highlands. The government also promoted forest plantation to increase forestry land. However, after plantation, IPs lost our ownerships (customary, as most of IPs land is in state owned forestry reservation). In some location, IPs even is forced to relocate or force evicted.
• However, we, IPs and ethnic groups still need proper title deed or secure their land ownership legally.
• For the controversial issues such as deforestation by IPs and smoke issue VS slash and burn cultivation is needed to discuss openly and the open discussion is needed to create more constructively solution not only blaming on IPs communities.
3. General recommendation on follow up activities:
• Media and campaign messages on CERD should be easy to understand and use local dialect or DVD, radio or mobile library including volunteers who can explain and verify information on CERD
• CERD shadow report and also CERD committee concluding recommendation need to be simplified for IPs communities and public in general to understand.
• General human rights education is needed among IPs communities
• More capacity building among IPs activists on CERD to document the situation of human rights violation and progress related to CERD
• There is a need to have sources of information and knowledge on CERD and related human rights issues and easy to search. The information should also state and relate to concerned government agencies that responsible and obligate for change.
• Each of concluding reservations shall be analyzed and forwarded the progress to networks.
• Shall we participate in National Human rights plan of Rights and Liberties Department under Ministry of Justice
• Seeking for focus points and contact persons at key ministries/departments related to CERD committee concluding recommendation
• Organize regular meeting every 3 months to update the situation on the situation of human rights violation and progress related to CERD