Regional Capacity Building Program on Indigenous Peoples, Human Rights and Advocacy (Thailand, 22nd-28th March 2010)

The Diplomacy Training Program’s 2010 Asia-Pacific Regional Capacity Building Program on Indigenous Peoples, Human Rights and Advocacy took place in Chiang Mai, Thailand, from March 22-28, 2010. It was held in partnership with the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP). The program aimed to develop the knowledge and skills of advocates to assist them in their efforts to ensure accepted international standards on human rights and the rights of Indigenous peoples are applied in practice.   

It brought together 35 advocates from Indigenous communities across Asia, the Pacific and Australia, from a total of 23 different Indigenous Communities from 13 countries across the region. Indigenous peoples are seeking to assert their rights often in places of current or past conflicts – including Myanmar/Burma, Cambodia, the Philippines, West Papua, Malaku and Aceh, Thailand, Bangladesh and India.  Issues of land and resources also feature large in the challenges of Indigenous peoples across the region. 

Participants learnt about the Indigenous Jumma people of the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh, the forced displacement of Indigenous communities resulting from development in Cambodia, the situation of ethnic minorities in Thailand, and the impact of the war being waged by the military government in Myanmar (Burma) on ethnic minorities such as the Karen.  Participants also learnt about the impact of climate change and the actions of corporations through mining activities, logging and tourism.   While there is particular concern over the impact of logging and mining on Indigenous communities there is also growing concern about issues of bio-piracy, intellectual property regimes and issues of traditional knowledge.  While Indigenous peoples are among the most at risk of the negative impacts of climate change, with limited capacity to adapt, they are also at risk of strategies that respond to climate change and how these affect their livelihoods.  

See Program Report