The Northeast has been hit hard by human rights violations in the past three years. After studying in Khon Kaen for one semester, an American college student reflects on her experiences engaging with issues of human rights and environmental justice in Isaan.
“Human rights is not something we are given,” stated Ombun Thipsuna, from the Network of Community Organization Council of Seven Northeastern Provinces in the Mekong Basin. “We have human rights because we are human, and that fact entitles us to live with certain rights and freedoms.”
Khon Kaen’s urban poor often have no appropriate access to water despite their constitutional right to “quality water resources adequately for the consumption by people,” as stated in Article 72 of Thailand’s new constitution.
A small school in Nong Khai Province is setting an example in adhering to Thailand’s human rights obligations seeing its Lao pupils become student leaders. But hundreds of thousands of other migrant students are left unschooled.