Laos Students, Persecuted Religious Believers, Christians Memorialized on Anniversary of Crack Down
"Unfortunately, ten years after the Laos student demonstrations in 1999, egregious and systemic religious freedom violations, and political persecution, have dramatically increased in Laos this year, in 2009, including the massacre and summary execution of dissident Lao and Hmong Christians and Animist believers. Religious persecution of Laotian and Hmong asylum seekers and refugees in Thailand and Laos has also increased," said Philip Smith of the CPPA in Washington, D.C.
(Media-Newswire.com) - Washington, D.C., Vientiane, Laos, Paris, Paris, France, October 26, 2009 - A coalition of Lao and Hmong non-profit and non-governmental organizations are commemorating and memorializing the tenth anniversary of the Lao Students Movement for Democracy pro-democracy demonstrations in Vientiane, Laos, on October 26, 1999, and the increased persecution of Lao and Hmong religious and political dissidents.
The peaceful protests in October 1999 by Lao students urged political and economic reform in the LPDR and demanded moves toward an open society, including increase religious, economic and political freedoms. The Lao student demonstrations were held in opposition to the authoritarian Communist Lao Peoples Democratic Republic ( LPDR ) regime's monopoly of political power and oppressive methods against Laotian society, including religious persecution and attacks against ethnic and religious minority dissidents. http://asiapacific.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGASA260042000?open&of=ENG-LAO
“On the tenth anniversary of the Lao Students Movement for Democracy demonstrations in Vientiane on October 26, 1999, we are again urging the Lao Communist regime to immediately release all of the Lao student leaders that it continues to imprison as well as other religious and political dissidents,” said Bounthanh Rathigna, President of the United League for Democracy in Laos ( ULDL ). “During the October 1999 demonstrations in Vientiane, the Lao students were seeking political change in Laos, which is what is needed to restore human rights, democracy and economic prosperity to the suffering people of Laos who continue to be oppressed by the LPDR regime’s failed policies and its corrupt military dictatorship that is closely allied with the regime in Burma."
"Many of our Lao Buddhist believers, who oppose the Lao regimes oppression and manipulation of the Buddhist faith and Buddhist temples seeking to operate outside of the government’s strict control, and who support the Lao Student’s peaceful demonstrations, are also being persecuted by the Lao military regime,” continued Mr. Rathigna.
“We are urging the LPDR regime to release all of the Lao students, and other political and religious dissidents, prior to the upcoming South East Asia games ( SEA games ) in Vientiane, and give these brave and patriotic Laotian reform-minded people amnesty,” Mr. Rathigna concluded.
The Center for Public Policy Analysis ( CPPA ), United League for Democracy in Laos, the Lao Movement for Human Rights ( Mouvement laotien pour les droits de l’Homme - MLDH ), Lao Veterans of America Institute ( LVAI ), Lao Veterans of America, Inc. ( LVA ), Lao Hmong Human Rights Council ( LHHRC ), the Laos Institute for Democracy ( LIFD ), Laotian Community of Minnestoa ( LCMN ), Hmong Advancement, Inc. ( HAI ), Hmong Advance, Inc. ( HA ), the Lao Students Movement for Democracy and a coalition of Lao and Hmong non-profit organizations as well as political and religious dissidents and scholars are marking the 10th anniversary of the demonstrations against the Stalinist LPDR regime in Vientiane, Laos.
The United League For Democracy in Laos, the Lao Movement for Human Rights ( Mouvement laotien pour les droits de l’Homme – MLDH ), and other organizations have made repeated appeals for the release of the Lao student leaders. Laos is slated to host the SEA games in December of this year.
“The Lao Communist regime in the LPDR continues to persecute and kill its own people and imprison innocent Lao student demonstrators seeking political and economic reform in Laos to assist the suffering Laotian people,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of Washington, D.C.-based CPPA.
“Unfortunately, ten years after the Laos student demonstrations in 1999, egregious and systemic religious freedom violations, and political persecution, have dramatically increased in Laos this year, in 2009, including the massacre and summary execution of dissident Lao and Hmong Christians and Animist believers. Religious persecution of Laotian and Hmong asylum seekers and refugees in Thailand and Laos has also increased,” continued Philip Smith. http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1090786.html
Smith continued: “On the tenth anniversary of the protests in Laos, many in the U.S. Congress and Washington, D.C., are urging the LPDR regime in Laos to immediately and unconditionally release the imprisoned Lao student leaders and to abide by H. Res. 402, H. Res. 1273 and other legislation recently introduced, or passed in the U.S. Congress, that urges the Lao government to release the jailed students, implement democratic reform, cease military attacks against Laotian and Hmong dissident groups and civilians, respect human rights and religious freedom, and hold free and fair internationally monitored elections.”
Amnesty International as well as author and humanitarian activist Kay Danes have documented the horrific plight of prisoners held in Laos, including those of imprisoned foreigners, political and religious dissidents and American citizens, including St. Paul, Minnesota Hmong-American Hakit Yang, and his colleagues. Many of the prisoners have disappeared into the Lao gulag system. Kay Danes’ new book “Standing Ground” details the torture and abuse of prisoners under the LPDR regime in Laos. http://presszoom.com/story_148273.html http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1089564.html
Members of the U.S. Congress, Amnesty International, the CPPA, the United League For Democracy in Laos, the Lao Movement for Human Rights ( Mouvement laotien pour les droits de l’Homme – MLDH ), the Laos Student Movement for Democracy, and other organizations have made repeated appeals for the release of the Lao student leaders. http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1079363.html
“We support the U.S. Congress and all those U.S. Congressmen and Congresswomen in Washington, D.C. who are pressing the Laos government, the oppressive LPDR regime, to release former students who were put in jail for public demonstrating on October 26, 1999,” stated Mr. Boon Boualaphanh of the Laotian Community of Minnesota ( LCMN ).
“The freedom flag of Laos, the Royal Lao flag, flies forever for the freedom-loving Lao people and the courageous Lao students who have protested against the LPDR Communist regime in Laos in October of 1999; we will never forget their sacrifices and their bravery,” said Khamphoua Naovarangsy of the Laos Institute for Democracy ( LIFD ).
“On the historic tenth anniversary of the Laos students demonstrations in Laos, we are urging the Lao military and security forces to release all of the Lao student leaders as well as the many hundreds of Lao and Hmong refugee and clan leaders that were forced back to Laos from refugee camps in Thailand and that are jailed or have disappeared into the Lao prison camp system,” stated Vaughn Vang of the Lao Hmong Human Rights Council ( LHHRC ). “The Lao government increasingly continues to aggressively violate the political and religious freedom of the Lao and Hmong people and to persecute those who are calling for basic freedom, religious liberty and human rights in Laos.”
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