Unlike many of its neighbors, Thailand was never colonized and has not experienced war within its borders in over 50 years. Tourists and foreign investors have been drawn to the country’s lush forests, farmland and beaches. But Thailand’s global reputation as a stable, gorgeous and hospitable vacation spot belies the harsh reality of ongoing human rights violations against many of the country’s residents, as well as the political instability that persists in the country.
Thailand is developing at a rapid pace, displacing communities that have worked and lived off the land and waters for decades. Many people have had their land taken away from them by the government without their knowledge or consent. Farmers who have worked the same land for generations suddenly find themselves locked in disputes with private companies that want to evict them. Across the country, dam construction and large-scale agriculture has polluted the country’s waters, destroyed its forests and stripped many farmers and fishermen of their livelihoods.
While travel agencies bill Thailand as a gay-friendly vacation spot, many LGBT people who live in Thailand do not experience true respect and acceptance from their communities. LGBT people are often forced into traditional marriages or disowned by their families. Sex workers also experience intense discrimination and abuse, including violence from both clients and police.
AJWS is committed to helping Thailand’s oppressed people advocate for human rights. Our grantees are:
- Educating communities about Thailand’s land laws so they can advocate for their rights and protect the natural resources they depend on
- Reducing stigma and discrimination against LGBT people and advocating for Thai society to recognize and respect LGBT rights
- Empowering sex workers to protect themselves from violence and harassment and speak up for their human rights
- Bringing grassroots and national organizations together, creating a stronger and more unified human rights movement in Thailand