Laos Crisis: Samak's Forced Repatriation Leads To New Military Attack Against Hmong
In response to Lao military attacks against the Laotian and Hmong people, as well as chronic human rights violations in Laos, H. Res. 1273, was introduced in June of 2008, and is cosponsored by seven (7) Members of the U.S. House of Representatives including Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA), Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA), Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-VA), Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI) and Congressman James Langevin (D-RI).
(Media-Newswire.com) - Washington, D.C., July 9, 2008 - Lao army units, in cooperation with Vietnamese advisers have launched new military and security force attacks against unarmed Laotian and Hmong civilians in Laos in the wake of the recent forced repatriation of over 800 Hmong refugees ordered by Thai Prime Minister, and Defense Minister, Samak Sundaravej.
“There are heavy attacks now being directed against unarmed Laotian and Hmong civilians hiding in the jungles of Laos; the recent Lao military attacks are concentrated in the Phou Bia and Phou Ta Phao areas. Many innocent Hmong civilians, including women and children, are being actively killed and purposely starved to death,” stated Vaughn Vang, Director of the Hmong Lao Human Rights Council, Inc. with chapters in Wisconsin and Minnesota. “The Lao military, with the help of Vietnam’s Peoples Army units, is to use new troops and special forces to attack unarmed Hmong hiding in the jungles and mountains, especially those in the Phou Bia and Phou Ta Phao mountain areas to eliminate them or surround them so that they can be starved to death.”
According to Vaughn Vang: “The Lao military is using more troops, heavy artillery and helicopters to attack Hmong civilians in Laos since the recent repatriation of over 800 Hmong refugees. Large scale attacks against the Hmong began in early July in and around Phou Bia and Phou Ta Phao mountain areas and elsewhere in Laos that have resulted in large numbers of civilian casualities.”
“The Hmong people have made important contributions to the national security of Thailand and helping to keep it free during the Vietnam War and its aftermath, “ stated Ambassador H. Eugene Douglas, United States Coordinator for Refugee Affairs ( 1981 – 1985 ). “Members of the U.S. Congress who have introduced and cosponsored H.Res. 1273, and many Americans, are asking His Majesty, the King of Thailand, the protector of all peoples in his land, to help save the Hmong from being sent back to Laos.”
According to Doctors Without Borders ( MSF ), Amnesty International and others, Hmong refugees have fled Laos to refugee camps in Thailand because of well founded fear of persecution and military attacks in Laos. Many Hmong refugees have recent bullet, shrapnel, and landmine wounds from their time in Laos caused by Lao military attacks against them. Other are suffering from malnutrition and starvation from the Lao military attacks and efforts to encircle and subject the Lao Hmong to a campaign of ethnic cleansing and mass starvation. http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?lang=e&id=ENGUSA20070323001
“We strongly condemn U.S. Ambassador to Laos Ravic Huso for his failure to seek an end to the killing of thousands of innocent and unarmed Hmong civilians, including women and children, by the Lao and Vietnamese militaries,” continued Vang. “We urge the United Nations, the European Union and others in the international community, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, to help work to stop the horrific killing and starvation of thousands of unarmed and innocent Laotian and Hmong people.”
In response to Lao military attacks against the Laotian and Hmong people, as well as chronic human rights violations in Laos, H. Res. 1273, was introduced in June of 2008, and is cosponsored by seven ( 7 ) Members of the U.S. House of Representatives including Congressman Patrick Kennedy ( D-RI ), Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin ( D-WI ), Congressman Frank Wolf ( R-VA ), Congressman Jim Costa ( D-CA ), Congressman Dana Rohrabacher ( R-VA ), Congressman Ron Kind ( D-WI ) and Congressman James Langevin ( D-RI ).
“We urge the Lao military regime to abide by the principles set forth in both H. Res. 1273, and H. Res. 402, introduced by the U.S. Congress and to release the peaceful Lao Student Movement for Democracy leaders arrested in October of 1999 and to stop the military and security force attacks against Laotian and Hmong civilians and dissident groups hiding in the jungles and mountains of Laos,” stated Bouthanh Rathigna, President of the United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc. http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=108_cong_bills&docid=f:hr402eh.txt.pdf
H. Res. 1273 urges that the Lao government to cease its military attacks and starvation campaign being directed against the Laotian and Hmong people now under attack in the mountains and jungles of Laos. Seven Members of the U.S. Congress have introduced or cosponsored the legislation which was introduced last month on Capitol Hill.
Contact: Anna Jones or Philip Smith Center for Public Policy Analysis Tele. ( 202 ) 543-1444 Fax ( 202 ) 207-8437
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