In Thailand, Diakonia supports a variety of local partner organisations with a special focus on human rights and the question of identity and citizenship. Specifically, the beneficiaries are ethnic minority groups in the north and refugees from Myanmar/Burma.
Diakonia has through cooperation with local organizations pushed forward the agenda of ethnic minorities and sustainable development. In cooperation with Thailand Burma Border Consortium (TBBC), Diakonia provides food and shelter to around 150 000 refugees in camps in Thailand. Our cooperation with Upland Holistic Development Project (UHDP) has resulted in the development of technologies and methods on agriculture, which serve as important foundation for communities to rise above serious threats such as poverty, and lack of legal status, citizenship and land rights.
Lack of political influence
Other refugees in Thailand are Burmese migrant workers and, similarly to the ethnic minority groups, they live without citizenship and identity documents. Women are overrepresented in this group, and together with young girls, particularly at risk of sexual trafficking. Thailand has a population of 67,4 million people (2010), out of whom 950 000 belong to various ethnic minorities. These minorities lack political influence, are underrepresented in civil society and vulnerable to discrimination and exploitation, remaining acutely disadvantaged.
Provides legal support
Diakonia’s partner organisations assist migrants and ethnic minority groups to obtain legal identity documents. A large number of people have received Thai citizenship and partner organizations have establicshed the Tribal Human Right Protection Network that aims at raising awareness about, and protecting human rights and provide legal support to those subject of human rights violations.
Also, Diakonia supports human rights organisations along the Thailand Myanmar/Burma border involved in documentation of human rights violations.
Focus on democracy and human rights
The main thematic areas of Diakonia and our partner organizations' work are:
Diakonia’s focus on Thailand is a long-term commitment, with results focused on increasing people’s participation in democratic processes.
In Thailand, the Diakonia partner organization New Life Center works with identity building. Photo: Stuart Corlett