Laos, Vietnam: Withdrawal of Troops Urged At Protest, Conference
The United League for Democracy in Laos (ULDL) urged the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) to withdrawal all of its troops and security forces from Laos and demanded that the Peoples Army of Vietnam (PAV) and Lao Peoples Army (LPA) immediately stop their attacks on unarmed Lao and Hmong civilians and opposition groups hiding in the jungles and mountains of Laos.
(Media-Newswire.com) - Washington, D.C., May 28, 2008 - The United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc. ( ULDL ), in cooperation with the Center for Public Policy Analysis ( CPPA ), Lao Veterans of America, Inc. ( LVA ), the Lao Community of Minnesota and a coalition of Lao and Hmong organizations and U.S. policymakers, has concluded national events in Washington, D.C. to discuss human rights violations, increased military attacks, ethnic cleansing operations, the current mass starvation campaign, religious freedom violations and serious economic problems and corruption in Laos.
The ULDL also urged the Socialist Republic of Vietnam ( SRV ) to withdrawal all of its troops and security forces from Laos and demanded that the Peoples Army of Vietnam ( PAV ) and Lao Peoples Army ( LPA ) immediately stop their attacks on unarmed Lao and Hmong civilians and opposition groups hiding in the jungles and mountains of Laos. The also address issues of corruption by the Lao government and military.
“We want Vietnam to withdrawal its military forces and troops from Laos immediately and stop attacking the freedom-loving Lao and Hmong people now,” stated Boun Boulaphanh, Lao Community of Minnesota. “We want the communist Peoples Army of Vietnam and the Lao Army to stop their military attacks against the Lao and Hmong people; Vietnam and the communist regime in Laos are killing and starving to death innocent people, especially thousands of Hmong trapped in the jungle by the Lao military and Vietnam’s communist troops who are hunting and killing them. Why is the Lao government giving its land to Vietnam ? The Lao Stalinist military regime has no right to do so and this a violation, by Vietnam‘s communist regime, of the national trust and sovereignty of Laos and its territorial integrity .”
“The Lao Hmong refugee crisis in Thailand as well as the current horrific ethnic cleansing and mass starvation campaign in Laos by the Lao military that is facing so many innocent, freedom-loving Lao and Hmong people is of concern to policymakers and Members of Congress in Washington, D.C.,” stated Philip Smith, Executive Director of the CPPA in Washington, D.C. “The United League for Democracy and its Chairman, Mr. Bounthanh Rathigna,, have picked an important time to take a leadership role in hosting a national policy conference on the crisis in Laos as well as a demonstration in front of the Lao Embassy,” concluded Smith.
On May 2, the ULDL and CPPA in cooperation with Members of Congress and U.S. Congressional staff, Lao and Hmong human rights organizations, political and religious dissidents, community leaders and non-profit community-based organizations conducted a national policy conference in Washington, D.C.
The arrest and jailing, by Lao military and security forces in 2007, of Mr. Hakit Yang, who was with a group of three ( 3 )Hmong-American citizens from St. Paul, Minnesota, was also discussed at the conference and follow-up meetings. Military units of Vietnam's PAV were also operating in the province and surrounding provinces in Laos at the time along with Lao Army units engaged in military and ethnic cleansing operations against the Hmong people, which involved encirclement and mass starvation tactics that resulted in thousands of Lao and Hmong civilian deaths.
“There are more and more Vietnamese troops, security forces and secret police invading and coming to Laos,” stated Phoukhio Khaochonethan, Minnesota Chapter President of the United League for Democracy in Laos. “The Lao government has sold the country to the Vietnamese communist generals in Hanoi; the Lao military and government need to stop persecuting and killing the Lao and Hmong people and respect human rights and international law or the country will continue to be poor and backward and suffer.”
On May 3, the ULDL held a major demonstration in front of the Lao Embassy to protest the Lao regime’s ongoing persecution and killing of political and religious dissidents, the jailing of the Lao Students Movement for Democracy members and the mass starvation and attacks against unarmed Lao Hmong civilians and opposition groups hiding in the jungles and mountains of Laos.
The events were followed by additional meetings in May in Washington, D.C. and on Capitol Hill with policymakers, the U.S. Congress and other Lao and Hmong human rights groups, political and religious dissident organizations and individuals.
“We are demanding that the Lao government immediately release the peaceful Lao Students Movement for Democracy of October 1999 members and the Ban Vang Tao patriots who struggled and fought to fly our beloved Royal Lao national flag of Lan Xang, the sacred royal flag of Laos, the Kingdom of a million Elephants, in opposition to the corrupt and brutal Lao communist regime’s crackdown and arrest of the peaceful Lao students and the exploitation and oppression of Laos by Vietnam’s military regime in Hanoi,” stated Bounthanh Rathigna, President of the United League for Democracy in Laos. “We support Amnesty International’s recent reports and U.S. Congress’ H.Res. 402; It is now time for the cruel and terrible Lao military regime to stop its religious and political persecution as well as the ethnic cleansing and killing of the Lao and Hmong people in Xieng Khouang, Luang Prabang and Vientiane Province and elsewhere in Laos. We want the Lao government to stop its human rights violations and abide by international law and also release the three Hmong-American citizens from St. Paul arrested and jailed in Laos last year.”
“The Lao military should immediately release the jailed pro-democracy Lao student leaders of October 1999 who want to help peacefully change and reform Laos, stated Poumy Phanthavong, Minnesota Lao Community member. “We want the former Lao student leader, Thong Praseuth Kewnakoune, and his student group of October 1999, immediately released by the Lao military regime; Furthermore, the Lao government should tell Vietnam’s troops to go home and stop killing the Hmong people.”
Khamphet Moukdarath, of the Lao Community in Virginia, and special advisor to the ULDL stated: “History has shown us that communism has caused the deaths of millions of people and has enslaved one-third of the world’s population; everywhere that communism has spread, it has caused unprecedented human misery, cultural stagnation, economic disaster, starvation, mass murder and oppression followed by a large-scale exodus of people and refugees.”
Phousykeo Meunmany of the Lao Community in New York stated: “Corruption by the Lao communist party elite and Lao Army is everywhere, the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic, LPDR regime, is rotten and full of terrible corruption; they are exploiting the ordinary Lao people with the help of the masters in the Vietnamese military and the corrupt generals in Hanoi.”
Lao and Hmong Veterans National Recognition and Memorial Services were held at Arlington National Cemetery and the Vietnam Memorial on May 15-16, 2008, by the Lao Veterans of America and the CPPA.
On May 16, 2008, the U.S. Senate sent a letter signed by eight ( 8 ) U.S. Senators to U.S. Secretary of State Rice urging Thai Prime Minister Samak to immediately cease the repatriation of Lao Hmong refugees in Petchabun and Nong Khai, Thailand back to the communist regime in Laos that they fled.
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