Over 300 people gathered at Ubon Ratchathani University on Monday to discuss the state of human rights in the Northeast and the country. The 10th Annual Isaan Human Rights Festival gathered communities from across the region, activists, scholars, students, and foreign diplomats.
At a forum in Sakon Nakhon, activists, politicians, and academics discussed the role of women in activism and politics. The event was organized by Rajabhat Sakon Nakhon University, in collaboration with The Isaan Record and several other organizations.
The push for industrial farming, biomass power plants, and the extraction of minerals, gas and oil in the Northeast may carry a high price tag for the environment and local communities, warned speakers at a public forum in Ubon Ratchathani this month.
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.”
On July 29, speakers at a public forum in Khon Kaen agreed that widespread fear is keeping people from voicing their political opinions, while ten state intelligence officers observed and recorded the event.