People without a nation: Citizenship and the hill tribes of Thailand
The indigenous "hill tribes" of northern Thailand often do not enjoy the economic and political benefits available to the nation's cultural majority. Denied citizenship, hill tribes exist in a situation of statelessness that threatens their survival. Without nationality, many hill tribe members are unable to secure necessities such as legal work, education, welfare opportunities, political representation, a passport and the ability to travel, and documentation of their births, marriages and deaths. The Thai government's response to this situation has been one of hostility, often viewing indigenous peoples as national security problems. The hill tribe situation demands a solution that draws on legal and social reforms for uniting the nation and creating an environment of equality. As the indigenous rights movement reaches the mountains of northern Thailand, it will take a variety of voices to pressure for social action and inspire positive change.