Laos, Thailand Hmong Refugee Crisis: Australian Author to Speak at World Affairs, Washington, D.C. Events
Kay Danes is an invited keynote speaker at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. and U.S. Congress on April 16-17 regarding human rights violations and political prisoners in Laos and the plight of thousands of Laotian and Hmong refugees in Thailand and Laos.
(Media-Newswire.com) - Australian author Kay Danes has received a special invitation to speak at the 61st Conference on World Affairs in Boulder, Colorado, from April 6-10, 2009. The event attracts audiences of more than 80,000. Previous guest speakers have included Patch Adams, Eleanor Roosevelt and Vice-President Joe Biden.
Kay Danes will also speak at events in Washington, D.C. later this month. She is an invited keynote speaker at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. and U.S. Congress on April 16-17 regarding human rights violations and political prisoners in Laos and the plight of thousands of Laotian and Hmong refugees in Thailand and Laos.
In March, Kay Danes' latest book, "Standing Ground," was release in Australia about her plight in Laos.
Kay Danes stated, in an except from new book "Standing Ground": " The memories of the time I spent in Phonthong Prison will never go away. When I close my eyes, I can recall even the minutest details of the prison. I can see the faces of the guards and those prisoners I left behind who helped me to survive; their faces remain etched in my mind. Serving time in Laos for a crime we didn't commit was a nightmarish experience but it made me realie that there are many rights we sometimes take for granted. Few of us ever ask what would happen if those rights were taken away. The world can be a frightening place. It can be dark and cold and filled with despair. It can be complex and humans can be evil towards each other. But one thing I know with all certainty now is that even in the darkest place there can be light, there can be goodness and there can be hope."
"Kay Danes has played an important leadership role on key international human rights and humanitarian issues, especially with regard to the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic ( LPDR ) and Afghanistan," said Philip Smith, Executive Director for the Center for Public Policy Analysis. "With regard to ongoing issues in Laos, she has repeatedly championed the rights of jailed Lao student leaders and Hmong political prisoners as well as three Hmong-Americans from Laos, including Hakit Yang of St. Paul, Minnesota, who were arrested and imprisoned by Lao military and security forces in 2007."
"The ordeal of Kerry and Kay Danes in the mysterious and exotic land of Laos is, perhaps most importantly, a unique human saga of love, courage, honor, heroism and the triumph of hope in the face of overwhelming odds against a ruthless Stalinist regime," Smith said about her new book "Standing Ground."
"The Laotian and Hmong community in the United States, including political and religious dissidents and human rights activists, warmly welcome Kay Danes' visit to the United States and the publication of her new book on the serious problems in Laos that she and many other people face under the abusive LPDR military regime," stated Bounthanh Rathigna, President of the United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc.
Kay Danes has had a diversified career. She established an international security protection service for the UN, international corporations, and foreign investors. While in service to their clients in Laos in 2000, Kay Danes and her husband [a former Special Forces Soldier] were abducted by secret police and held for a year.
They endured mock executions, torture, and arbitrary detention in the LPDR, in one of the world's most secretive communist prison systems. If not for their government, Australia's diplomatic intervention and lobbying, the Danes would not have survived.
Since that ordeal, Kay Danes has become one of Australia's top social justice ambassadors. She has been a guest speaker at two U.S. Congressional forums on human rights violations in Laos and is a recognized advocate for Hmong-Lao civil rights, recently showcased in Clint Eastwood's Hollywood feature film, ‘Gran Torino'.
Kay Danes motivates others to endure their own struggles, and her descriptive and skillful articulation of her experiences gives her audience a "fly-on-the-wall" perspective of third-world political processes and prisons. Danes is the author of "Families Behind Bars-Stories of Injustice, Endurance and Hope ( 2008 )", and "Standing Ground-An Imprisoned Couple's Struggle for Justice Against a Communist Regime ( 2009 )."
Kay Danes book "Standing Ground," was recently released in Australia, and is soon slated to hit the bookshelves in the United States, following her speaking engagements in Colorado, Washington, D.C. and across the United States.
Smith concluded: "This same one-party, authoritarian regime in Laos which abducted and brutalized Kerry and Kay Danes is currently engaged in a large-scale Darfur and Bosnia-like campaign of mass starvation and military attacks directed against thousands of family members of Lao and Hmong-Americans. The United States and the international community should heed the warnings about the serious nature and scope of this problem. They should more carefully consider the national security, foreign policy and humanitarian implications and risks of the LPDR regime as an oppressive communist military junta closely allied with brutal dictatorships in Burma, North Korea and elsewhere, which it is."
" Readers of the amazing story of Kerry and Kay Danes in Laos will find it a compelling, richly inspiring and fascinating saga. The unique strategic role of Laos, both during the Vietnam War and presently, makes this book all the more interesting and important. Standing Ground helps to elucidate the dark and despotic nature of the current government of Laos, the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic ( LPDR )," Smith continued regarding the recent release of "Standing Ground" in Australia by Kay Danes and her husband.
Mrs. Danes often uses her public profile to create awareness about issues affecting the community; specifically relating to security of self, social justice and human rights. Kay has helped thousands of people endure the most impossible emotional ordeals, and has assisted hundreds of family's worldwide to cope with trauma and tragedy. www.kaydanes.com
Kay Danes has also instigated a number of international campaigns to assist people in poverty, provided humanitarian support to the Zambian Orphans of death row prisoners and assisted thousands of impoverished people in SE Asia. Her direct efforts contributed to the building of a school and medical centre for refugee children in Cambodia. She was honored in April 2006 by becoming an Ambassador for the US based International Relief Centre.
In November 2008, Kay returned from a month long humanitarian mission in war-torn Afghanistan, as the Australian Liaison for the Childlight Foundation for Afghan Children - a US Based Charity. Her diplomatic efforts have earned her the respect, and the ear of, some of the world's most prominent individuals and government figures.
On 26 January 2009, Kay was given special recognition for her International Service, and awarded a certificate by the Mayor of Redlands in the Citizen of the Year Awards.
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