Representatives of the Mani ethnic group in the Southern province of Satun in Thailand have handed a letter to the authorities complaining that they would lose their residence and couldn’t access a better quality of life due to the local tourism industry.
The representatives told the authorities they didn’t even have a right to replace a thatched roof with a ceramic one as some officers said it wasn’t traditional and ruined a “selling point”.
The discussion to find a solution for the Mani group was hosted at a Perfect Room Report in Satun province. The meeting involved Mani representatives, an artist working closely with the Mani group, Provincial Governor Ekkarat Leesen, and a representative from the Office of The National Human Rights Commission of Thailand.
The NHRCT representative said in the meeting that the Mani people complained to her that they were losing their residence, were chased from their living area, couldn’t earn a living according to their traditional lifestyle, and couldn’t have a better life, because the tourism industry took over their areas.
The artist worked closely with the group and shared the stories about Mani people in her articles. She said Mani people usually live near water sources because it is easy there to access food and water. However, those spots later became tourist attractions, and Mani people were considered a mere “decoration” to draw tourist to the local attractions.
She claimed that one Mani family told her some officers complained tourists wouldn’t donate to them because the family replaced a straw roof with a ceramic one to better cover them from sun and rain.
“Who is gonna donate and feel sorry for you?”
Ekkarat, the Provincial Governor, promised that the province would find the solution for this and emphasised that all businesses should care more about human rights. The NHRCT representative said the topic would be brought to the NHRCT committee for further investigation on the point claiming that Mani residents were chased away from their living area.
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