Wed 21 Dec 2005
Filed under: News,On The Border
Three Shan groups in Chiangmai’s Fang area, with the largest migrant population in the north, have concluded a pact to work together, reports Tawng Tai:
The three groups Thai Yai Society, Thai Yai Cultural Council and Coordination Center for Migrant Workers’ Education and Culture were finally united under a single executive body and single name on 17 October. “We all agreed to adopt the name Chomrom Thai Yai (Thai Yai Soceity),” said Boonlert Jansuwan aka Hsang Aw, 46, General Secretary of the group, a Thai of Shan descent. (Thai Yai is the Thai appellation for Shans, who are also known as Ngiao.)
The Society’s 4-fold aim is to promote education, culture, mutual assistance and social activities. “The Thai law requires that groups such as ours are strictly apolitical,” explained Hsang Aw, who had been trained in legal matters.
The Society’s principal activity appears to be rescuing Shan migrants taken into custody by the local police. While a good many of those arrested do not carry valid ID cards, those who have pink, blue, orange and other documents issued by the government are also liable to detention if they don’t have work permits.
The Society also broadcast health and cultural programs through the local FM radio stations.
There are an estimated 200,000 Shans in the three neighboring districts of Chaiprakarn, Fang and Mae Ai, roughly 150 km north of Chiangmai. The majority of them, fleeing from the Burma Army’s forced relocation programs and varied abuses, are working in the fruit orchards that stretch across the three districts. The group boasts more than 2,000 members.
Membership is 50 baht ($1.25) each and a member is expected to pay 5 baht each month, 60 baht ($1.5) per year.
For more details, please contact 053-415915, Jong Ork Monastery in Fang.