Seminar and Public Campaign for World Indigenous Peoples Day 2010



Seminar and Public Campaign for World Indigenous Peoples Day 2010

Discourse, Identity, and Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Thailand


Thailand is an area rich in ethnic culture and bio-diversity, and boasts a considerable number of indigenous peoples throughout its various regions. Each ethnic group possesses its own language, identity, culture and social situation, including [but not limited to]: Karen, Kachin, Dara-ang (Paluang), Hmong, Mien, Lisu, Lahu, Akha, Lua, Mlabri, Mbisu, Thai Khoen, Thai Liu, Thai Yai, Thai Yuan, Tai Yah, and Khamu in the North; Mokan, Moklen, Urak-lawoi and Manni in the South; Chong, Phu Thai, Saek, So, Kuai, Nyahkur and in the East and Northeast; and Mon and Thai Song Dam in the Central Region. Most of these are small groups living in harmony with nature and practicing agriculture and using natural resources for subsistence and in a sustainable manner. Their indigenous socialization has resulted in identities, cultures and lifestyles passed down over numerous generations. More recently, their cultures and value systems have begun to erode and become less significant. Some of the causes include government development policies focused heavily on economic growth and social assimilation. The ethnic groups have struggled to maintain their identities and lifestyles in the face of these Thai and global forces. What the government needs to do is to provide increasing support of the people in addressing their problems using their own considerable indigenous knowledge and skills. These issues must be raised to higher levels and become part of the national agenda, giving the indigenous peoples greater learning space on national and international levels. This will require improved public relations and expanded public understanding in support of ethnic potential, dignity, identity and culture.

In this regard, the United Nations has proclaimed the 9th of August to be “International Day of World Indigenous Peoples”. In addition, the period of 2005-2014 is designated “International Decade of Indigenous Peoples (second phase)”. Recently, on 13 September 2007, the UN General Assembly passed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples [UNDRIP]”. This was done to ensure that member nations and the world community recognize the problems and concerns faced by our sisters and brothers and join in the effort to affirm the rights of indigenous people everywhere.

The Network of Indigenous Peoples of Thailand Foundation and various networks of indigenous peoples have joined together with responsible government and non-government organizations on previous occasions to organize appropriate celebrations, such as the first Indigenous Peoples of Thailand Day during 8-9 August 2007 and the Festival of Indigenous Peoples of Thailand 2007 during 5-11 September 2007. The Network/Foundation now serves as a forum for continuing learning and exchange, as well as a mechanism for the solution of existing problems. This current 2010 event at the Chiangmai University Convention Hall during 7-9 August 2010 is a further step and affirmation of these joint efforts and a celebration of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It is a public forum for the understanding and exchange of experiences and ideas on issues impacting on the identity, rights and future of indigenous peoples in Thailand, as well as the rest of the world.


  1. To provide a forum for exchange and learning about the conditions existing and find alternatives for action to reduce the negative impact on indigenous peoples, as well as host a public campaign in this regard, and celebrate International Day of World Indigenous Peoples.
  2. To present the policies and associated practices of indigenous peoples to the public, and inform the government and its agencies of the needs and demands of the people
  3. To develop mechanisms and processes to drive forward and improve the work of the Network of Indigenous Peoples in Thailand

Location and Time 7-9 August 2010 at the small lecture hall and grounds of the Chiang Mai University Convention Center.


1. Seminar/forum

1.1 Local indigenous leaders (4 persons each from 30 networks) 120

1.2 Representatives of indigenous organizations and NGOs 30

1.3 Indigenous students and youth 50

1.4 Academics and representatives of government organizations 20

1.5 Donors/supporters, media, and interested parties 80

Total participants 300

2. Public campaign and celebration of International Day of World Indigenous Peoples

2.1 Representatives of indigenous peoples in Thailand 150

2.2 Advisors, NIPT, and academics 10

2.3 Representatives of government and non-government organizations 20

2.4 Media, students and interested parties 120

Total participants 300

Major Events

  1. Seminars: on the Discourse, Identity and Rights of Indigenous Peoples in order to foster improved understanding in Thai society about the diversity, identity, values and cultural heritage of indigenous peoples in both Thailand and the global community. At the same time, recognize the problems, realities and violations of rights suffered by indigenous people and their networks as a prelude to harmonious co-existence in a multi-cultural society.
  2. Indigenous exhibitions: including the presentation of accurate data & information on ethnic lifestyles, such as indigenous knowledge & wisdom in managing resources, food production, sustainable agriculture reflecting ‘sufficiency economy’; data reflecting problems and impacts on indigenous people, such as human rights violations over the years; and information on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The intended outcome of this is better appreciation of indigenous peoples by the government and other organizations working with them.
  3. Indigenous wisdom: including arts & cultural performances, discussions and informal exchanges focusing on the value and beauty of local lifestyles and indigenous knowledge & skills of the various ethnic groups. These will serve as forums for wider understanding and appreciation, and supplemented by indigenous agriculture products, food and handicrafts.
  4. Media and campaigns concerning indigenous peoples: including documents, articles, posters, magazines & other publications, brochures and video CDs on research results, indigenous lifestyles and other information and declarations & conventions. Indigenous issues and needs arising from the preceding seminars will give focus to increased understanding on the part of the public and various organizations.
  5. Celebration of Indigenous Peoples: The activities over three days will culminate in the celebration of World Indigenous Peoples Day and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The intent of these activities and the UNDRIP is to promote the understanding and acceptance of rights and cultural wealth of the world’s indigenous peoples by the member UN nations.

Organizing body: Network of Indigenous Peoples in Thailand (NIPT) and allied partners.

Organizing Committee of Seminar and Public Campaign 2010;

  1. Mr. Jorni O-dochao Chairman
  2. Representative of Akha Network - Member
  3. Representative of Chong Network - Member
  4. Representative of Karen Network - Member
  5. Representative of Khamu Network - Member
  6. Representative of Kachin Network - Member
  7. Representative of Nyahkur Network - Member
  8. Representative of Thai Khoen Network - Member
  9. Representative of Thai Song Dam Network - Member
  10. Representative of Thai Yuan Network - Member
  11. Representative of Thai Yong Network - Member
  12. Representative of Thai Lue Network - Member
  13. Representative of Thai Yai Network - Member
  14. Representative of Tai Yah Network - Member
  15. Representative of Palaung (Dara-ang) Network - Member
  16. Representative of Mbisu Network - Member
  17. Representative of Mlabri Network - Member
  18. Representative of Mon Network - Member
  19. Representative of Moklen Network - Member
  20. Representative of Mokan Network - Member
  21. Representative of Hmong Network - Member
  22. Representative of Mien Network - Member
  23. Representative of Lua Network - Member
  24. Representative of Lisu Network - Member
  25. Representative of Lahu Network - Member
  26. Representative of So Network - Member
  27. Representative of Urak -lawoi Network - Member
  28. Ms. Seewigaa  Kittiyoungkun (Bahn Ruam Jai Project) - Member
  29. Mr.Prasert Trakarnsuphakon (IKAP Foundation) - Member
  30. Mr.Kittisak Rattanakrajangsri (IPF Foundation) - Member
  31. Mr.Supot Leeja (HADF) - Member
  32. Dr.Prasit Leepreecha (CESD, CMU) - Member
  33. Mr.Yongyut Suebthayart (Hmong Association) - Member
  34. Mr. Sumitchai Hathasarn (HPT) - Member
  35. Mr.Boonyong Chotichaiphiboon (IMPECT) - Member
  36. Mr.Santipong Moonfong (DCCN) - Member
  37. Ms.Lakela Chathaw (IWNT) - Member
  38. Mr. Nathapol Singthuen (Art Mirror Foundation) - Member
  39. Mr.Thewin Somchit (CCT Foundation) - Member
  40. Mr.Direk Kriajinli (RTF) - Member
  41. Ms.Apha Norta (HPH Network) -  Member
  42. Mr.Prasaeng Na Khiri (Thai-Lahu Foundation)  - Member
  43. Mr.Yotsapong Kukeawkasem (AKHA Foundation) - Member
  44. Mr.Kraisit Sitthichodok (AFECT) - Member
  45. Mr.Waiying Thongbue (KNCE) - Member
  46. Mr.Promphon Samphanthano-anuttaro - Member
  47. Mr.Suwichan Phathanapraiwan (WISE Foundation) - Member and public relations
  48. Ms.Jirarat Sonklin (IMPECT) - Member and Treasurer
  49. Mr.Sakda Saenmi (NIPT Secretariat) - Member and secretary
  50. Mr.Ekachai Pinkaew (Office of NHRC) - Member and assistant secretary
  51. Mr.Pattara Maneerat (IPF) - Member and assistant secretary
  52. Ms.Nittaya Earkanna (IKAP) - Member and assistant secretary
  53. Ms.Chanthanee Phichetkulsamphan (IMPECT) - Member and assistant secretary
  54. Ms.Kamonphan Saelee (AIPP) - Member and assistant secretary
  55. Mr.Worawut Tamee (HPT) - Member and assistant secretary


Beside the Network of Indigenous Peoples in Thailand (NIPT), there is cooperation from diverse of GOs, NGOs, IPOs, INGOs ; Center for Ethnic Studies and Development (CESD) of Chiang Mai University, Asia Indigenous People Pact (AIPP), Indigenous Knowledge and Peoples Network Foundation (IKAP), SEA Regional Coordination Office of International Alliance of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of Tropical Forests (SEARCO/IAITPTF), Upland Holistic Development Project (UHDP), Bahn Ruam Jai Project, Training on Youth Relations Project, Highland Peoples Health Network, Indigenous Women Network of Thailand, Northern Farmer Network, Karen Network for Culture and Environment, The Mirror Foundation, Indigenous Peoples Foundation for Education and Environment (IPF), Foundation of Indigenous Peoples in Mekong Sub-region, Compassion of Thailand Foundation, Thai-Lahu Foundation, Foundation for Mission of Indigenous Peoples, Hill Area and Community Development Foundation (HADF), Northern Development Foundation (NDF), Sustainable Development Foundation (SDF), Wisdom and Ethnic (WISE) Foundation, The Life Skill Development (Raks Dek) Foundation, Akha Foundation, Highland Peoples Taskforce (HPT), Development Center for Children and Community Network (DCCN), Institute for Sustainable Agriculture and Community, P’gakenyau Association for Social and Environmental Development, P’gakenyau Association for Sustainable Development, Inter-Mountain Peoples Education and Culture in Thailand (IMPECT) Association, Lahu Association for Life Quality Development, Akha Association for Education and Culture (AFECT), Hmong Association, Social Development Center and Service (A Church of Christ in Thailand), International Justice Mission (ILM), PLAN Thailand, and ADRA Thailand.


1. Committee Members, Chairman, Executive Directors of IPOs and IP Networks

2. Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Social Development and Human Security (MoSDHS)

3. Director General of Department for Development and Social Welfare, MoSDHS

4. Secretary-General of the National Culture Commission, Ministry of Culture

5. Director General of Chiang Mai University (CMU)

6. Dean of Faculty of Social Science, CMU

7. Director of Bureau of Asset Management, Chiang Mai University

8. Dr.Chayan Wathanaput, Director of Center for Ethnic Studies and Development, CMU

9. Doctor Niran Phithakwatchara, Human Rights Commission and Sub-committee Chairman on HR’s Promotion and Networking, community rights, civil and political rights

10. Dr.Sriprapha Phetchrameesri, (representative of Thailand), ASEAN Inter – governmental Comission on Human Rights

11. Dr.Songwit Chuemsakul, Director, Office of Ethnic Affairs, MoSDHS

12. Mr.Phlakorn Wongkongkaew, Assistant Director of Community Organization Development Institute (CODI).

13. Associated prof. Surichai Wankeaw, Acadamic, former director of Social Research Institute, Churalongkorn University

14. Dr. Ken Kamp, Independent Researcher/Academic

15. Ajarn Chupinit kesmanee, Faculty of Education, Srinakarinwiroj University

16. Ajarn Samart Srichamnong, Faculty of Education, Chiang Mai University

17. Ms.Kulvadee Charoensri, Advisor of National Culture Commission in Thailand

18. Mr.Thaworn Fufueng, Director of Tribal Museum

19. Ms.Tuenjai Deethet, former Senator of Chiang Rai province, Assembly Committee of Thailand Reformation

20. Dr.James R. Klien, Country Representative of Thailand , The Asia Foundation (TAF)

21. Dr.Christian Erni , International Working Group on Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA)

22. Ms.Joan Carling, General Secretary, Asia Indigenous People Pact (AIPP)

23. Ms.Chandra Roy Regional Coordinator of RIPP/UNDP

24. Ms.Bernice A. Lee, Forum-Asia

25. Dr. Kirk Person, SIL

26. Mr.Phairoj Phonphet, Union for Civil Liberty (UCL)

27. Ms.Suraporn suriyamonthon, Pestalozzi Children Foundation (PCF)

28. Mr.Prayong Doklumyai, Sub-committee on Human Rights Promotion and Network Coordination, NHRC

29. Mr.Suriyan Thong-nu-iat, , Sub-committee on Human Rights Promotion and Network Coordination, NHRC

30. Mr.Baramee Chaiyarat, Member of National Health Security Organisation (NHSO)

31. Mr.Wiwat Tamee, Advisor of Highland Peoples Taskforce (HPT)

32. Director of Public Relations Division 3, Public Relations Department

33. Director of Thailand National Radio, Chiang Mai province

34. Chair and Coordinating Committee of the Northern NGOs Center

35. Northern Journalist Association

Supported by:

1. National Human Rights Commissioner

2. Office of Ethnics Affair, Ministry of Social Development and Human Security

3. Office of National Culture Commission, Ministry of Culture

4. The Asia Foundation (TAF)

5. Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP)

6. Pestalozzi Children’s Foundation (PCF)


8. Forum Asia

9. Thai Community Foundation

10. Additional supported by IPOs and concerned GOs, NGOs, and INGOs

Seminar-Public Campaign’s Coordinating Node: 188/525 Soi 21, Moo 10,Sannameng Sub-district, Sansai District, Chiangmai Province, THAILAND 50210 Tel: 053-344-945

Coordinator: Mr. Sakda Saenmi, Coordinator of NIPT.

Expected results:

  1. Recognition and acceptance by the Thai government of the identity of indigenous peoples in Thailand, and the promotion and support of activities and events in line with the UNDRIP as well as international obligations in this regard.
  2. Thai society better understands its indigenous peoples and the value of diversity and harmony within the country.
  3. Participating indigenous peoples feel pride in their identity and indigenous cultural wisdom, and become more aware of the necessity of solving existing problems.
  4. Formation of a network of learning and cooperation among indigenous peoples, government agencies, educational institutions, and non-government organizations.
  5. Formulation of a plan and processes for the continuing work of the NIPT, as well as direction for the development of clearer mechanisms and laws concerning a council on ethnicity and indigenous peoples in Thailand.