Virginia Laotians Appeal to Senator Jim Webb To Stop Abuses Against Families, Students
"The letter appeals to U.S. Senator Jim Webb, while visiting Laos and Thailand, to raise key issues regarding the plight of jailed Lao Student Leaders, of the peaceful October 1999 Students Movement for Democracy protests in Vientiane, Laos, and the terrible forced repatriation of thousands of Lao Hmong refugees from refugee camps in Thailand back to the Stalinist regime in Laos that they fled," said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis in Washington, D.C.
(Media-Newswire.com) - Arlington, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Vientiane, Laos, August 14, 2009 - Excerpts of an urgent action appeal letter and statement to U.S. Senator Jim Webb ( D-VA ), issued jointly by the Center for Public Policy Analysis ( CPPA ) and a coalition of Virginia, and national Laotian and Hmong organizations, was publicly released today. The letter and statement request Senator Webb’s assistance in helping to end the current human rights, refugee and humanitarian crisis in Laos and Thailand facing thousands of Lao and Hmong people current suffering attacks and political and religious persecution.
“The urgent appeal letter to U.S. Senator Jim Webb by many of the Laotian and Hmong organizations in Virginia, was sent just prior to his departure to Laos, Thailand, Burma and Southeast Asia on behalf of the CPPA and many in the Virginia Laotian and Hmong-American community,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Public Policy Analysis.
“The letter appeals to U.S. Senator Jim Webb, while visiting Laos and Thailand, to raise key issues regarding the plight of jailed Lao Student Leaders ( of the peaceful October 1999 Students Movement for Democracy protests in Vientiane, Laos ) and the terrible forced repatriation of thousands of Lao Hmong refugees from refugee camps in Thailand back to the Stalinist regime in Laos that they fled,” Smith stated further.
“The appeal letter and statement request that U.S. Senator Jim Webb raise key issues in Laos to seek to end the horrific religious persecution of Christians, Animists, independent Buddhists and other religious believers and political dissidents who continue to be persecuted and killed; It also asks for Senator Webb’s help in stopping the ongoing brutal military attacks and bloody atrocities against unarmed civilians in Laos, including the Hmong people,” Smith observed in conclusion. http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1094929.html
Elements of the Royal Thai Third Army and Ministry of Interior ( MOI ) used tear gas, electric cattle prods and tazer-like guns in recent days to forced back 24 Hmong political refugees from Thailand to Laos. The attacks on the refugees by Thai Army and MOI troops follow the visit of a Lao communist official to the camp at Ban Huay Nam Khao. http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1096186.html
Below, following, are excerpts of the urgent appeal letter and statement sent to U.S. Senator Jim Webb prior to his departure to Laos, Thailand, Burma and Southeast Asia, by Mr. Philip Smith, Executive Director of the CPPA and a coalition of Laotian and Hmong community organizations in Virginia, and nationally.
”On behalf of the United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc. ( ULDL ), the Lao Veterans of America, Inc. ( LVA ), the Lao Veterans of America Institute ( LVAI ), the Lao Veterans organization and association ( LVOA ), Hmong Advance, Inc.( HA ), Hmong Advancement, Inc., the Lao Students Movement for Democracy ( LSMD ); the Lao Students Association; the Lao Hmong Human Rights Council ( LHHRC ), the Center for Public Policy Analysis ( CPPA ), and a coalition of Laotian and Hmong non-profit organizations in Virginia, and nationally in Washington, D.C., we would like to request that you, Senator Webb:
I. While on your trip to Thailand, urge the Royal Thai Government, and officials you meet with in Thailand, to:
1. ) Allow international access to some 5,500 Lao Hmong political refugees being imprisoned in Ban Huay Nam Khao Camp ( Petchabun Province ) and Nong Khai Detention Center, Thailand and urge the Thai military and Royal Thai Government to cease repatriating them back to the communist regime in Laos they fled;
2. ) Urge the Royal Thai government and Thai military to allow the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees ( UNHCR ) to have unfettered access to the Lao Hmong refugees and asylum seekers at Ban Huay Nam Khao and Nong Khai Detention Center for the purpose of screening the refugees so that they can be resettled in third countries such as France, Australia, New Zealand and other countries that have agreed to take the refugees;
II. When you travel to Laos, we request that you urge the communist Lao Peoples Democratic Republic ( LPDR ) regime, and officials that you meet with, to:
1. ) Work to immediately seek the release, by the LPDR military junta, of the Lao Student Movement for Democracy pro-democracy dissidents ( of the October 1999 Movement for Democracy ) who the Lao Communist regime continues to imprison in Laos ( as reported by Amnesty International and other independent human rights organizations );
2. ) Urge the LPDR regime to provide unfettered access to the Hmong political refugees, and refugee camp leaders, forcibly repatriated from Thailand in June/July 2008 from Huay Nam Khao refugee camp in Petchabun Province, Thailand; many of the Lao Hmong camp leaders forcibly repatriated have disappeared or are imprisoned --or have disappeared in Laos;
3. ) Work to immediately urge the LPDR regime to release three ( 3 ) Hmong-American citizens from St. Paul, Minnesota, including Mr. Hakit Yang, who were arrested and imprisoned in Laos in August, 2007, while engage in tourism and a business investment trip to Laos; they have since been moved from Vientiane, Laos, to a secret prison in Sam Neua Province;
4. ) Urge the LPDR regime and Lao Peoples Army ( LPA ) to stop its horrific and bloody military attacks largely directed at unarmed Laotian and Hmong civilians, and political and religious dissidents, in hiding at Phou Da Phao mountain and Phou Bia Mountain areas as well as elsewhere in Luang Prabang Province, Vientiane Province, Khammoune Province, Xieng Khouang Province, Savanakhet Province and elsewhere in Laos; Urge the LPDR regime LPA to cease its campaign of starvation against Laotian and Hmong civilians and stop using food as a weapon of war like its ally in North Korea; Amnesty International and other human rights organizations and independent journalists, including reports by the New York Times, have documented this humanitarian and refugee crisis in Laos under the brutal LPDR regime that should warrant the attention of you, Senator Webb. and your colleagues in the U.S. Congress.
5. ) Urge the Lao LPDR regime to respect religious freedom and cease its campaign of religious persecution, imprisonment and killing of Lao and Hmong Christians; Urge the LPDR regime in Laos to cease its confiscation of the property of Laotian and Hmong Christians, Animist and Buddhist believers who wish to practice their faith independently from the LPDR regime's close monitoring and oversight.
Again, the Lao and Hmong community in Virginia and nationally, including many of the Laotian and Hmong veterans and their families who served with U.S. clandestine and military forces during the Vietnam war, would appreciate your leadership and your assistance in raising these issues at the highest levels with officials in Thailand and Laos that you meets with on your trip, including Royal Thai and LPDR officials in Thailand and Laos.”
( End excerpts of the August, 2009, urgent action appeal letter and statement sent to U.S. Senator Jim Webb prior to his departure to Laos, Thailand, Burma and Southeast Asia )
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