Laos, Hmong Crisis: LMHR Commemorates Universal Declaration of Human Rights
"The leadership of the Lao Movement for Human Rights organization in Paris, France, and Vanida Thepsouvanh in Washington, D.C., in helping to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the anniversary of the United Nations Human Rights Defenders Declaration is critically important,' stated Philip Smith, Executive Director for the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Public Policy Analysis.
(Media-Newswire.com) - Washington, D.C. and Paris, France, December 11, 2008 - An international communiqué and statement by the Paris, France-based Lao Movement for Human Rights ( LMHR ) was presented and discussed today in Washington, D.C. and Paris, France as well as at recent events in the U.S. Congress, Laos Embassy Protests and at a special session of the Laos National Policy Conference held in Washington, D.C. from December 6-11, 2008. The events were cosponsored and cohosted by the Center for Public Policy Analysis, the United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc. and a coalition of human rights, refugee, humanitarian, student and non-governmental organizations. http://media-newswire.com/release_1081493.html
“The leadership of the Lao Movement for Human Rights organization in Paris, France, and Vanida Thepsouvanh, in Washington, D.C., in helping to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the anniversary of the United Nations Human Rights Defenders Declaration is critically important,’ stated Philip Smith, Executive Director for the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Public Policy Analysis.
“The plight of the Lao student leaders of the October 1999 demonstrations in Vientiane, Laos who were unjustly arrested by the Lao military and secret police has not been forgotten and the flame of hope is something that Vanida Thepsouvanh and the Lao Movement for Human Rights in Paris continue to keep burning until the Lao student leaders are released as the international human rights community and U.S. Congress are demanding,” Smith continued. http://asiapacific.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGASA260042000?open&of=ENG-LAO
“Moreover, it is important that the Lao Movement for Human Rights, Amnesty International, the Lao Human Rights Council and other human rights and refugee organizations continue to monitor the terrible plight of the thousands of Hmong and Laotian civilians hiding in the jungles and mountains of Laos from intensified Lao and Vietnamese military and security force attacks; Vanida Thepsouvanh and her organization have helped to inspire many people in Washington, D.C., Laos and around the world to stand up for human rights for the Lao and Hmong people,” Smith concluded.
The following is the text of the international communiqué issued by the LMHR on October 10-11, 2008 in Washington, D.C. and Paris, France:
"The 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights--The Lao people always 'without rights and without voice'
This December 10th, 2008, is the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a most important document that exists in the field of human rights, just as December 9th, 2008, is the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Human Rights Defenders Declaration.
It is, once more, a sad anniversary, indeed, in the Lao People's Democratic Republic ( LPDR ). In this country, people still do not have the right to express their opinion, the right to react against injustice, the right to protest peacefully against oppression and against impunity, the rights to contribute to the future of their country according to their aspirations and needs.
The Lao Movement for Human Rights ( LMHR ) takes this occasion to ring the alarm on the plight of human rights defenders like Thongpaseuth KEUAKOUN, Sengaloun PHENHPHANH, Bouavanh CHANMANIVONG and KEOCHAY – leaders of a peaceful march of students, teachers and citizens on October 26th, 1999 – imprisoned for more than 9 years now, without anyone knowing where they really are and if they are still alive.
The LMHR calls on the donor countries, the ones claiming to promote human rights, to put an end to this complaisant policy towards the Lao regime and to firmly demand the liberation of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience.
The LMHR remains deeply concerned on what has become of those thousands of Lao-Hmong, hidden in the Lao jungle since 1975, mainly women, children and elderly civilians, hunted, repressed and gradually eliminated for the last 33 years by government troops.
The LMHR also remains very worried by campaigns of repression against the religious minorities as well as against ethnic minorities, in spite of denials from the LPDR leaders.
Freedom of expression is refused to the people. Newspapers, radios, television, internet are under the strict control of the Party-State and must relay the directives of the Party to the population.
Political freedom does not exist. The Constitution of the RDPL clearly stipulates that the Lao People Revolutionary Party ( LPRP ) is the only legal political organisation of the country and constitutes "the nucleus" of the system.
Thus, to the population of Laos, of all ethnic origins, what is left for them as rights of the people, rights of the human being, when face with a generalized State surveillance and a justice system mastered by the one-party state ?
With a one-party régime which turns its back on human rights, the Lao people is obliged to turn to the international community, trying to make their voice heard and request that the LPDR respects and applies its international engagements mainly the comprehension of the human rights universal values, the reinforcement of laws in order to put them into concrete practice.
The LMHR urges the ASEAN to adopt a transparent and participative approach in its "Human Rights Commission" by complying on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The LMHR is, moreover, concerned about the principle of non-interference which remains the basic principle of the ASEAN. Based on this principle, the ASEAN cannot intervene on human rights violations in its members States, and hence, does not have a concrete, sustainable and effective competence in case of human rights abuses un a country within the ASEAN.
On this International Human Rights Day, the Lao Movement for Human Rights, once again, strongly reiterates its appeal to the international community - in particular the European Union and its Member States, the United Nations, the United States, ASEAN, the G8 countries -- so that concrete and concerted actions are taken, in order to reach true democratic reforms in Laos, and to bring freedom, democracy, a normal state of human rights, and national reconciliation in this country.”
( end international communiqué of the LMHR release in Paris, France & Washington, D.C. December 10-11, 2008 )
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