Thailand, Laos' Hmong Crisis: Somchai Urged to Reverse Policy, Stop Pressuring refugees to return to Stalinist regime
The Center for Public Policy Analysis, Lao Human Rights Council, the Lao Veterans of America, the United League for Democracy in Laos and a coalition of organizations in Washington, D.C. and internationally urged Thai Prime Minister Somchai to reverse the policy of forcing Hmong political refugees and asylum seekers back to the communist regime in Laos that they fled.
(Media-Newswire.com) - Washington, D.C. and Bangkok, Thailand - November 3, 2008 - The Center for Public Policy Analysis, Lao Human Rights Council, the Lao Veterans of America, the United League for Democracy in Laos and a coalition of organizations in Washington, D.C. and internationally urged Thai Prime Minister Somchai to reverse the policy of forcing Hmong political refugees and asylum seekers back to the communist regime in Laos that they fled.
“The whereabouts of 1,237 Hmong refugees who were forced repatriated to the communist regime in Laos by the Thai government on June 22, 2008 and July 10, 2008, from Ban Huay Nam Khao, in Petchabun Provice, are still largely unaccounted for despite the efforts of the international community to stop their forced repatriation back to the communist regime in Laos that they fled,” stated Vaughn Vang of the Lao Human Rights Council, Inc. “We respectfully urge Thai Prime Minister Somchai to immediately halt this policy and reverse this terrible injustice as called for by the U.S. Congress in H.Res. 1273 and in many letters signed by dozens of U.S. Congressmen and Senators to the Royal Thai Government, His Majesty the King of Thailand, and to U.S. Secretary of State Rice.”
Vaughn Vang continued: "These Hmong refugees seeking political asylum in Thailand refuse to return to Laos, the country in which they have fled persecution, torture, death, and genocide. These innocent people, including many Hmong women and children, are appealing to the United Nations, United States, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the world community, and all human rights organizations to urge the Thai government to immediately stop the forced repatriation policy on these Hmong refugees. They are human beings who deserve human rights, peace, and justice." http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA26/004/2004/en/dom-ASA260042004en.html
“These violent incidents and the mass forced repatriation of Laotian and Hmong refugees in June and July of this year by elements of the Thai Third Army and Prime Minister Samak from Ban Huay Nam Khao outraged many in the international community,” stated Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis ( CPPA ) in Washington, D.C. “The majority of the Hmong refugees still in Thailand are rightfully and accurately fearful of their future if they are forced to return to Laos where many have disappeared, or have been summarily executed, tortured, imprisoned in terrible conditions or sent to reeducation camps,” Smith continued.
In recent weeks, Thai officials in Ban Huay Nam Khao and Nong Khai have stepped up psychological pressure and coercive measures on Hmong political refugees to seek to force them to ‘volunteer’ to return to Laos,” Smith said.
“A repeat of this humanitarian and policy disaster should not be repeated now or in the future by Prime Minister Somchai,” Smith observed.
Smith concluded: “A repeat of this catastrophic policy by Somchai regarding the brutal forced repatriation of the Hmong and Laotian refugees will likely have negative and serious ramifications in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Congress and in the international community for Prime Minister Somchai, and his fragile and embattled administration, especially if he appeases the brutal communist dictatorship in Laos at the expense of the lives and human rights of the nearly 7,000 remaining Hmong and Laotian refugees in the detention camps in Thailand; Thai Prime Minister Somchai should heed the important language of H.Res. 1273 introduced by a bipartisan coalition in the U.S. Congress regarding this terrible crisis as well as the many recent U.S. Senate and House letters regarding this matter that involves the lives and destiny of some many innocent Hmong and Laotian refugees." http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=110_cong_bills&docid=f:hr1273ih.txt.pdf
“Earlier this year, a major humanitarian outcry was unleashed from Washington, D.C., the U.S. Congress and the international community following former Prime Minister Samak and some Thai Third Army commanders’ efforts to forcibly repatriate hundreds of Laotian and Hmong refugees from Ban Huay Nam Khao and Nong Khai earlier this year,” stated Bounthanh Rathigna, President of the United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc.
“Prime Minister Somchai should grant immediate political asylum to all Lao and Hmong political refugees who continue to flee the corrupt and despotic communist regime in Laos that is engaged in military operations with troops from Vietnam against unarmed Lao and Hmong civilians,” Bounthanh Rathigna said.
The Laotian refugees and internally displaced people, including Lao students and ethnic Hmong, are victims of institutional violence by the Lao PDR regime; the Lao people simply wish to live in peace and freedom,” Bounthanh Rathigna continued.
Bounthanh Rathigna concluded: “The people of Laos urge Thailand and Prime Minister Somchai to keep in mind the national security implications of the continued presence of large numbers of Vietnamese Peoples Army ( PAV ) troops in Laos, their horrible military attacks and oppression of the Lao and Hmong people, and the ongoing illegal logging and economic exploitation of Laos by corrupt Lao and PAV military generals in Hanoi which is one of the real sources of the Lao and Hmong refugee problem.”http://media-newswire.com/release_1077933.html
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