Abhisit's Starvation of Laos, Hmong Refugees in Thailand Sparks Suicides
"A series of recent food cut-offs and heavy-handed attempts to pressure some 5,500 Lao Hmong political refugees to go back to Laos, by Thai Prime Minister Abasit and Thai Third Army commanders, is causing a wave of suicide attempts," stated Philip Smith, Executive Director of the CPPA in Washington,D.C.
(Media-Newswire.com) - Washington, D.C. and Bangkok, Thailand, April 30, 2009 - Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s recent announcement to force nearly 5,500 Lao Hmong political refugees back to the military regime that they fled in Laos has sparked a wave of suicide attempts by the refugees who now reportedly face another major food cut off in Thailand.
“A series of recent food cut-offs, fresh water supply denials and heavy-handed attempts to pressure some 5,500 Lao Hmong political refugees to go back to Laos, by Thai Prime Minister Abasit and Thai Third Army commanders, is causing a wave of suicide attempts and terrible human suffering,” stated Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis ( CPPA ) in Washington,D.C. “Ironically, many of these 5,500 Lao Hmong refugees fled political and religious persecution as well as mass starvation and military attacks in Laos to seek political asylum in Thailand according to Amnesty International and others; Now Thailand’s new Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is apparently ordering elements of the Royal Thai Army to cut-off food deliveries to the Lao Hmong refugees so they will be forced to return to the brutal regime in Laos that they fled and where Lao Hmong refugees have disappeared or been killed.” http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?lang=e&id=ENGASA390022009 http://asiapacific.amnesty.org/aidoc/ai.nsf/Index/ENGASA260042004
Smith continued: “On April 25, four Lao Hmong political refugees in Huay Nam Khao refugee detention camp, in Petchabun Province, Thailand, Mr. Soua Lor, 35, Hli Yang 25, Nka tsua Lee, 30, and Lee Pao Vang, 26, reportedly attempted to commit suicide because they did not want to be forced back to Laos where they fled persecution, and where they have a well-founded fear of persecution. These Hmong refugees apparently cut their wrists and arms in protest of Thai Prime Minister Abasit’s recent new efforts to deny their families food and force them back to Laos. The refugees suffered heavy bleeding.” Thousands of Lao and Hmong civilians and political dissidents have been starved to death or killed in military attacks by the Lao government in recent years according to independent human rights organizations, journalists and others.
“If the 5,500 Hmong political refugees at Ban Huay Nam Khao, Thailand, cannot be resettled in third countries such as Australia or the United States, or granted political asylum in Thailand, these four Hmong political refugees want to die in Thailand with dignity instead going back to Laos and being tortured and die slowly by the Laos Communist Government regime, they said,” stated Vaughn Vang, Director of the Hmong Lao Human Rights Council, Inc.
Vaughn Vang, of the Hmong Lao Human Rights Council continued with the following statement:
“There are about 5,500 Hmong asylum seekers who do not, under any circumstance agree to return back to Laos. They have clearly stated that they are former veterans and descendent of veterans, who served with U.S. military and clandestine forces during the Vietnam War, including the Central Intelligence Agency ( CIA ) and they have been hunted, persecuted, tortured and killed by the Lao Communist regime, the LPDR regime, for as long as 30 years. They will definitely face persecution and death if they are return to Laos.”
On February 19, 2009, top officers of the Lao Armed Forces, Deputy Chief of Staff Brigadier General Bouasieng Champapham, Mr. Yong Chamthalasy, and nine other Lao Officials with the Thai military counterpart came to the Refugee Detention Camp, Ban Huay Nam Khao, Thailand to insult, intimidate, and threaten the Hmong to be repatriated back to Laos by saying that ‘the Hmong have no other choice but repatriation.’
According to Hmong refugee and other reliable sources, on April 18th, 2009, the Thai General in Charge of the third Military Region ( Military Region Three ) in Phetchabun Provice, Thailand, and dozens of Thai military officers came to meet with the Hmong Camp President and leaders at Ban Huay Nam Khao refugee detention camp; they intimidated, offered bribes, and said that if any Hmong leaders do not want to go back to Laos will face very severe consequences.
After the Lao officials visited the Camp, Hmong refugees refused to volunteer to go back to Laos; the Thai and Lao Militaries have joined hands to post signs with Laos and Thailand flags on the camp stating that ‘the Hmong have to be repatriated to Laos by mid 2009 and the camp will be closed by August 2009,’ and they have listed a group of the Hmong Leaders to be arrested and forced to repatriate back to Laos to face persecution. The first group that is going to be prepared is the “Red District” which are the Lao Hmong who have been living in Thailand since 1976-2004. They have been previously classified as political refugees by the UN and Thai Government, many are Hmong who came from the jungle of Laos. Thai soldiers have divided this group into three different small sub groups so they can be forced back to Laos soon.
The Thai government and military in cooperation with the Lao government is getting ready, and preparing six ( 6 ) buses for Hmong who came from the jungle of Laos and ten ( 10 ) buses for two other groups that have been living in Thailand since 1976-2004. Many of the Hmong political refugees in Ban Huay Nam Khao, in Petchabun Province, Thailand, were classified as political refugees before-- or received BV, BSC number from UN and Thai government in the past.
( --End April 29, 2009, Statement By Vaughn Vang, Hmong Lao Human Rights Council, Inc.-- )
April 23rd, 2009, was reportedly the day to deliver food supplies to the 5,500 refugees in the Camp again, but elements of the Thai military, including the Royal Thai Third Army, prevented the delivery. Many of the Lao Hmong refugees, facing despair and starvation, may soon be out of food as a result of Thai Prime Minister Abhisit’s new food cut-off and starvation policy toward Lao Hmong refugees according to refugee and reliable sources in Thailand. More Lao Hmong refugee suicide attempts are expected in Thailand in the coming days and weeks.
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