Advocating for Human Rights in Thailand

Written by Plant With Purpose on August 22, 2013 in General

Plant With Purpose Thailand works with a myriad of people and villages, all of which vary greatly in their access to resources, legal status, citizenship, and religious practice. Plant With Purpose works primarily with hill tribe peoples who are oftentimes originally from neighboring countries and have moved to Thailand seeking a more peaceful place to build a life and community.

Unfortunately, Thai citizenship is not granted by birth location (like in the U.S.), but by the status and ethnicity of one’s parents. This leaves many people who are not ethnically Thai stateless, unable to claim citizenship anywhere. This population is incredibly vulnerable. The lower one’s legal status in Thailand: the less medical care they can receive, the less access they have to travel throughout Thailand, and the more restricted their land rights become. Fewer than ten percent of the Thai people that Plant With Purpose partners with have full citizenship.

The community of Khon Muang has learned to thrive in the face of these hardships, finding strength and solidarity together. In desperate times, hill tribe people are forced to work against the land by clearing trees for firewood and farming. Khon Muang community members, however, make an effort to care for the environment. They spare trees by building homes out of quick-growing bamboo and using other rapidly renewing resources as often as possible. The community’s local church, school, and 60 of its homes are powered by electricity generated from two hydro generators that exist because of Plant With Purpose’s innovation.

Khon Muang celebrates living in the same area for 30 years now, but because they do not own their land, the future of this community remains uncertain. A proposal to ask for a community land deed is being developed by Plant With Purpose and community members. By encouraging environmental conservation and community development, Plant With Purpose hopes to see maintained stability for Khon Muang. The impact of Plant With Purpose Thailand on Khon Muang has seen a butterfly effect; hill tribe people are guiding one another to take action, both in caring for the earth and in defending their human rights.

To help support the work of Plant With Purpose Thailand, consider sponsoring the village of Panasawan for just a dollar a day.

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