International diplomats to speak at Isaan Human Rights Festival in Khon Kaen

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KHON KAEN – The Seventh Annual Isaan Human Rights Festival will be held on December 10th at Khon Kaen University’s Kwan Mor Hotel. This year’s event features talks by Western diplomats, presentations on human rights issues facing Isaan communities, and screening of human rights-related films.

The event is funded primarily through the European Union’s “Thailand-EU Policy Dialogues Support Facility” program. Sponsors include the embassies of Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as the NGO Coordinating Committee on Rural Development (NGO-CORD) and the Council on International Educational Exchange’s Council Study Center (CIEE) at Khon Kaen University.

The morning session, entitled, “Human Rights Lessons from Abroad,” has representatives from the EU, Sweden, and the United States speaking on the human rights context in their own countries and their work in Southeast Asia. A highlight is the “Ambassadors’ Forum on Human Rights.” Canadian Ambassador to Thailand, H.E. Mr. Philip Calvert, New Zealand’s Ambassador to Thailand, H.E. Mr. Reuben Levermore, and H.E. Mr. Mark Kent of the United Kingdom will all be speaking at the event.

The afternoon session has short video presentations, booths displaying human rights issues in the Northeast, and various other activities. Representatives from a dozen groups from eleven provinces will discuss human rights issues related to the right to access in the healthcare system, producer and consumer rights, right to livelihood for dam-affected communities, right to public participation for mining-affected communities, rights to housing and participation for communities occupying forest land, and right to natural resources for communities affected by industry.

Organizers hope the event will help local participants understand the human rights experience and work of other countries, and help international participants understand the challenges facing various groups in the Northeast of Thailand. By starting a dialogue at the festival, organizers say, it is hoped that an ongoing dialogue on human rights between Northeast communities and the diplomatic community in Bangkok can be established.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the opening ceremony is at 8:30 a.m.

The event is free and open to the public. For more details, see the Facebook page, International Academic Seminar The 7th Annual Isaan Human Rights Festival

A sister human rights event, entitled, “Democracy and Human Rights within Thailand and the EU – a Forum of Exchange,” will take place at Ubon Ratchathani University on the same day.

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