Human Rights Crisis in Laos Continues: Lao Students Jailed, Hmong Under Attack
The Hmong Lao Human Rights Council, Inc., the United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc., the Center for Public Policy Analysis and other organizations have reported an increase in military and security force attacks and atrocities against Laotian and Hmong civilians and dissident groups living in the jungles and mountains of Laos.
(Media-Newswire.com) - Washington, D.C., July 26, 2008 - The Hmong Lao Human Rights Council, Inc., the United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc., the Center for Public Policy Analysis and other organizations have reported an increase in military and security force attacks and atrocities against Laotian and Hmong civilians and dissident groups living in the jungles and mountains of Laos.
The Lao Peoples Army ( LPA ), assisted by special troops and advisors from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam ( SRV ) have established special “hunter-killer” teams of troops to seek to kill and eliminate unarmed Hmong civilians and dissident groups who live outside the Lao government’s control in Xieng Khouang Province, Vientiane Province and elsewhere.
“Recent reliable reports from Hmong in-hiding from the Lao government in Phou Da Phao, Xeing Khouang Province and Vang Vieng, Vietianne Province, Laos, state that approximately 100 new special forces and elite government soldiers have been deployed, in addition to the large-number of troops already deployed, with a special mission to hunt, target and kill innocent Hmong civilians in-hiding, including many unarmed women and children” stated Vaughn Vang, Executive Director of the Hmong Lao Human Rights Council, Inc.
Vang continued: “This is ethnic cleansing; these are crimes against humanity in violation of international law. In these areas, the Lao military with the help of Vietnam is dividing its troops into groups of six soldier, into special hunter killer teams, to look for the Hmong in-hiding to seek to starve and kill them. Each day in Phou Da Phao, Phou Bia and Vang Veing, where large numbers of Hmong and Laotian civilians are in hiding from Lao and Vietnamese government military attacks, they are being hunted by these special hunter-killer teams of special forces.
“The mission of the LPDR soldiers is to execute and eliminate all Hmong in hiding by the end of this year, 2008, before allowing the international community to gain access to the Hmong to stop these atrocities, end the ethnic cleansing and provide them humanitarian assistance so that they cannot be killed by the Lao government,” concluded Vang.
“In recent months and years, Laotian and Hmong dissident and peaceful opposition group members who live outside the Lao government’s control who have submitted or surrendered to Lao authorities have been summarily executed or have disappeared,” stated Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Public Policy Analysis ( CPPA ).
“Thousands of Laotian and Hmong who have come out from the jungles and mountains of Laos in recent years, where they were being attacked and starved to death by LPA forces, have simply disappeared or have been brutally tortured, raped and murdered by the Lao military and security forces; Amnesty International has documented some of these horrific atrocities committed by Lao troops against their own people, especially the Hmong minority.” http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA26/004/2004
“We urge the Socialist Republic of Vietnam ( SRV ), to withdrawal its special forces teams from Laos and its troops and to stop oppressing and killing the Hmong people,” stated Bouthanh Rathigna, President of the United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc.
“The Lao government, with the help of Vietnamese communist troops, is engaged in illegal logging, and the rape and cutting of our ancient forests, in the mountains of Laos where the Hmong people live; The Stalinist regime in Laos is engaged in helping to transporting these logs to the city of Vinh in Vietnam; the Lao military, with the help of the Vietnamese military, who are destroying the environment and sacred lands of Laos and committing atrocities and massacres of thousands of innocent Laotian and Hmong people,” Rathigna continued.
Bounthanh Rathigna concluded: “We urge the government of Laos, and its overlords in Hanoi, to abide by international law and the principles set forth in H. Res. 1273, and H. Res. 402, as called for by the U.S. Congress, and to immediately cease its illegal logging and military attacks on the freedom-loving Laotian and Hmong people; the U.S. Congress is also calling for the release, unconditionally, of the peaceful Lao Student Movement for Democracy members that the Lao communist regime continues to imprison since October of 1999.”
H. Res. 1273 was introduced in the U.S. Congress in June, 2008, by a bipartisan coalition of Members of Congress. It urges the Lao government to cease its attacks on the Laotian and Hmong people and address the human rights crisis in Laos. It urges the Lao government to release the Lao Students movement for Democracy leaders that its has jailed since October of 1999 when the students engaged in peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations in Vientiane, Laos.
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