Thailand's Somchai Visits Laos Following Bloody Military, Chemical Weapons Attacks on Hmong
In apparent preparation for the first official visit today of Thailand's Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat to the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic (LPDR), a special joint military task force of Lao and Vietnamese troops has been conducting massive clandestine military attacks on Hmong civilians and dissident groups in hiding in Phou Da Phao and Phou Bia, Xieng Khouang Laos.
(Media-Newswire.com) - Washington, D.C. and Bangkok, Thailand, November 3, 2008 - In apparent preparation for the first official visit today of Thailand’s Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat to the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic ( LPDR ), a special joint military task force of Lao and Vietnamese troops has been engaged in heavy military attacks on Hmong civilians and dissident groups in hiding in Phou Da Phao and Phou Bia, Xieng Khouang Laos.
Hundreds of Hmong and Laotian civilians have been arrested or killed in October, including credible reports of chemical weapons attacks by joint Vietnam and Lao military groups and special hunter-killer units.
International non-governmental organizations,human rights organizations and advocates, the United Nations, the U.S. Congress and others have repeatedly appealed to Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat and His Majesty, the King of Thailand, to grant Laotian and Hmong refugees in Thailand political asylum and to halt repatriation of the refugees from Thailand to Laos.
“The joint military forces of Laos and Vietnam have recently arrested some 130 Hmong in hiding in the month October,” stated Vaughn Vang, Director of the Lao Human Rights Council, Inc. “On October 1, 2008, the Vietnamese and LPDR government also jointly attacked Hmong civilians in hiding in the mountains of Phou Da Phao and Phou Bia, Xieng Khouang Laos.”
“In recent months, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the New York Times, Al Jazeera, Doctors Without Borders and other independent human rights organizations, journalists and non-governmental organizations have documented serious human rights abuses and violations facing the Laotian and Hmong people, including attacks by the Lao military against Hmong civilians and dissident groups,” stated Philip Smith, Executive Director for the Center for Public Policy Analysis in Washington, D.C. “Hmong dissident groups and families are also now providing fresh and credible reports that the Lao and Vietnamese military forces are apparently resorting to ruthless tactics and are again testing and using lethal chemical agents and defoliants to target Hmong groups hiding in the jungles and mountains in some of their recent attacks.” http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?lang=e&id=ENGUSA20070323001
H.Res. 1273 was introduced earlier this year in the U.S. Congress regarding the human rights crisis in Thailand and Laos facing the Laotian and Hmong people. In the legislation, the U.S. Congress urges the Lao government to cease its military attacks on the Hmong and Laotian people and urges the Royal Thai government to halt its repatriation of Hmong refugees at Ban Huay Nam Khao, in Petchabun Provice, and Nong Khai, Thailand, until they can be resettled in third countries. The LPDR and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam ( SRV ) have held high-level military cooperation meetings regarding the crisis in Laos in recent months. The SRV has deployed Peoples Army of Vietnam ( PAV ) troops to Laos to assist in military operations and attacks against the Hmong and SRV military-owned companies are involved in large-scale illegal logging in key areas in Laos that have traditionally served as homelands for the Hmong people.
Vaughn Vang issued the following statement on behalf of the Lao Human Rights Council regarding the situation in Laos, including recent military and chemical weapons attacks:
“Currently the LPDR forces are conducting heavy chemical, artillery, and starvation attacks on the Hmong in hiding groups in Laos. The attacks have caused a high number of civilian casualties among the Hmong people resulting in vomiting, migraine headaches, and skin injuries from the chemical attacks.
Hmong women and children have been separated from their families during these Lao military attacks as well.
A high ranking Lao LPDR official, who wishes to remain anonymous, has reported to the Laos Human Rights Council that the LPDR and Vietnamese governments have stated that they will kill Hmong associated with the United. According the Lao government official, all Hmong in hiding, the refugees in Hue Nam Khao, and the thousands of Hmong who are living with them in Laos are considered the ‘seeds’ of the American Central Intelligence Agency ( CIA ) and military, and therefore should be all exterminated quietly in the coming years.
Hmong returnees from Thailand have disappeared or have been arrested in the middle of the night by LPDR authorities. Families of these missing persons have been given no rights to information regarding their disappearances. Many Hmong leaders who participated with the peaceful rally in Huaj Nam Khao, Petchuboun, Thailand in May 2008 against Thailand’s repatriation policy are still being held in prison.
Thai authorities have been forcing the Hmong refugees at Huay Nam Khao to volunteer to work for Thai authorities jobs. The refugees have also been forced to watch an LPDR propaganda video regarding Laos and demanded and threatened to sign their names as in agreement to be deported back Laos.
According to the Lao official, the LPDR requests and is pressuring the Thai government trying to have all Hmong refugees in Ban Huay Nam Khao returned to Laos where many will eventually be sent to reeducation camps or exterminated, as the LPDR regime plans to imprison and kill many Hmong political refugees and dissidents, or just ordinary Hmong people who have family links to the U.S. military and CIA effort in Laos.”
( --End of Statement by Vaughn Vang, Director, Lao Human Rights Council, Inc.-- )
Laos, Hmong scholar, human rights advocate and author Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt has documented the history of the Hmong people in Laos and Thailand, including documentation of the forced repatriation of refugees, and the LPDR’s persecution of the Hmong as well as military and chemical weapons attacks against them. http://www.tragicmountains.org
“Currently, the Lao army is operating with direct assistance and support from Vietnam to oppress and kill the Laotian and Hmong people and in violation of international law, including the Geneva Accords to address war crimes and crimes against humanity,” stated Bounthanh Rathigna, President of the United League for Democracy in Laos.
Bounthanh Rathigna continued: “Vietnam has deployed increased numbers of PAVN troops in Laos in recent months to kill and oppress innocent Lao and Hmong civilians, and to exploit the economic resources of Laos, including to engage in illegal logging in Laos where thousands of tons of Lao trees are being cut and shipped to Vietnam by Vietnam military-owned companies.”
Center for Public Policy Analysis 2020 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, D.C. 20006 USA
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