Laos, Hmong Mobilize to Appeal to U.S. Congress, President Obama To Help Feed, Save Refugees
"Doctors Without Borders', MSF's humanitarian aid to the Lao Hmong refugees in Thailand was, for many critical years, a miraculous and generous act of extraordinary courage, charity and compassion; in its absence only the most horrific scenarios can be imagined as this tragedy continues to unfold in Thailand and Laos," stated Philip Smith, of the Center for Public Policy Analysis in Washington, D.C.
(Media-Newswire.com) - Washington, D.C., Ban Huay Nam Khao and Bangkok Thailand, May 19, 2009 - With the announcement by Medecins Sans Frontieres ( MSF ), Doctors Without Borders, that it will stop food and medical assistance to over 5,000 Lao Hmong political refugees at Ban Huay Nam Khao detention camp in Thailand, because of Thailand’s forced repatriation policy and abuse of the refugees, the Center for Public Policy Analysis ( CPPA ), the Lao Veterans of America ( LVA ) and a coalition of Lao and Hmong veterans, human rights and non-profit organizations have mobilized today in Washington, D.C.
The CPPA, LVA, LVAI and a coalition of non-governmental and Lao and Hmong American non-profit organizations are urging President Obama and the U.S. Congress to provide emergency assistance to feed the refugees and stop their forced repatriation back to Laos.
“We the Lao Hmong-Americans and the family members of the refugees in Thailand are here in Washington, D.C. today and this week to appeal directly to the United States Congress and President Obama and his new Administration to seriously consider, and help solve, the critical problem of the Lao Hmong political refugees at Ban Huay Nam Khao camp in Petchabun Province and Nong Khai, Thailand,” said Colonel Wangyee Vang, National President and founder of the Lao Veterans of America Institute ( LVAI ).
“We want to give national and international voice to the suffering and voiceless Laotian and Hmong refugees being abused in Thailand and Laos and soon to be without food or medicine at Ban Huay Nam Khao refugee camp.”
Colonel Wangyee Vang continued: “According to credible reports from the Lao Hmong refugees and other sources, MSF is leaving the Hmong refugee camp without food and medicine because of Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and the Thai Army’s abuse, threats and forced repatriation of the Hmong refugees, as well as recent food delivery cut-offs to MSF and the Hmong in the camp.”
“In the wake of the Thai Army’s abuse of MSF aid workers and brutal forced repatriation of Lao Hmong political refugees, Laotian and Hmong-American groups, spearheaded by the Lao Veterans of America and other non-profit organizations, are mobilizing in Washington, D.C., to appeal directly to the U.S. Congress and President Obama and his new Administration to intervene with emergency legislation and humanitarian aid to help feed and provide medical assistance to the Hmong refugees in Ban Huay Nam Khao and stop their forced repatriation back to Laos,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director for the Center for Public Policy Analysis ( CPPA ) in Washington, D.C.
Smith continued: “Key Lao officials have been repeatedly deemed as press predators for their failure to provide an open society and freedom of the press, according to the Paris-based, Journalists Without Borders, so it is impossible to properly monitor Lao Hmong political refugees sent back to Laos from the camps in Thailand, moreover, the Thai Third Army and Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva continue to block journalists from the refugee camp at Ban Huay Nam Khao where there is a press blackout and outside human rights and humanitarian organizations, including the UNHCR, are strictly forbidden access to the Lao Hmong refugees. “
“Members of the U.S. Congress and a coalition of Lao and Hmong-American non-governmental and non-profit organizations, including the Lao Veterans of America, are in Washington, D.C. and Capitol Hill calling on Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to provide open access and transparency at the Hmong refugee camp and allow immediate emergency humanitarian assistance and food deliveries as a result of MSF being driven out of the camp at Ban Huay Nam Khao,” Smith said.
“Clearly, many in Washington, D.C. and the United States Congress believe that the Lao Hmong refugees in Thailand should be granted political asylum in Thailand by Prime Minister Abhisit until they can be resettled in third countries such as Australia, Canada, France and the United States they are shocked and outraged by Abhisit’s abuse of Doctors Without Borders staff and Hmong refugees in this camp and his ongoing policy of forced repatriation,” Smith observed further.
“MSF’s humanitarian aid to the Lao Hmong refugees in Thailand was, for many critical years, a miraculous and generous act of extraordinary courage, charity and compassion; in its absence only the most horrific scenarios can be imagined as this tragedy continues to unfold in Thailand and Laos,” Smith concluded.
Contact: Maria Gomez
Tele. ( 202 ) 543-1444 Center for Public Policy Analysis 2020 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Suite No.#212 Washington, D.C. 20006
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