Vietnam: Corruption, Illegal Logging in Laos Linked to Killing of Hmong
The Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA), and a coalition of Lao and Hmong organizations in Washington, D.C., have announced the troubling link between illegal logging by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) in Laos, in cooperation with Lao military officials, and intensified military attacks against the Laotian and Hmong people in closed military zones where much of the logging is taking place
(Media-Newswire.com) - The Center for Public Policy Analysis ( CPPA ), and a coalition of Lao and Hmong organizations in Washington, D.C., have announced the troubling link between illegal logging by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam ( SRV ) in Laos, in cooperation with Lao military officials, and intensified military attacks against the Laotian and Hmong people in closed military zones where much of the logging is taking place, especially Xieng Khouang Province and Saysamboune ( Xaisamboune ) Closed Military zone.
Illegal logging, often by Vietnamese military owned companies of the Peoples Army of Vietnam ( PAVN ), is taking place at the same time significant numbers of PAVN troops have been mobilized in Laos, in cooperation with the Lao Peoples Army ( LPA ) troops in Xieng Khouang Province, Saysamboune Closed Military Zone, Vang Veng, Vientiane Province and elsewhere in Laos in key areas to surround, attack, kill or capture some 15,000 Hmong unarmed civilians in Laos.
According to Philip Smith, Executive Director of the CPPA in Washington, D.C.: “Vietnam, including PAVN military owned logging companies are currently engaged in large-scale illicit logging in Laos. Much of the logging is taking place in Xieng Khouang Province and other areas where some 15,000 Hmong civilians are under brutal attack by the Lao and Vietnamese military. The logs and timber, from ancient forests in the highlands of Laos, are being largely shipped for export from the Vietnamese seaport of Vinh, in Vietnam which is connected to Laos and the traditional Hmong homelands where thousands of Hmong people are now being hunted, killed and starved to death.” http://www.presszoom.com/story_144108.html
The PAVN, and the military of Vietnam, are reported by international sources to own some 100 companies, including many that operate in Laos to exploit timber and mineral resources and illegal logging.
“Hundreds of troops of Vietnam’s PAVN and the Lao Peoples Army have mobilized in the last 72 hours and are in the process of hunting and killing innocent, unarmed Hmong civilians, including many women and children, in Phou Da Phao mountain area and in Xieng Khouang Province where much of the illegal logging is also taking place by Vietnamese military owned companies,” stated Vaughn Vang, Director of the Lao Human Rights Council. “Helicopter gunships are circling and attacking the Laotian and Hmong people hiding in the jungle and mountains; the Vietnamese troops are working to assist the brutal Lao military forces engaged in these war crimes and crimes against humanity, which includes surrounding and seeking to starve these people to death,” Vaughn Vang said. “Currently, some 15,000 Hmong and Laotians are trapped in key areas of Laos, where this illegal logging has taken place, and we are very concerned that many thousands of civilians will be killed in the coming days and weeks,” Vang concluded. http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA26/003/2007
“New battalions of combat troops from Vietnam are now mobilizing to kill and starve to death thousands of innocent Laotian and Hmong people who seek to live in peace and freedom in Laos in the jungles and mountains where they have traditionally lived since the Kingdom of Laos and the King of Laos granted them sanctuary there,” stated Bounthanh Rathigna, President of the United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc. “But the corrupt Lao communist regime and Vietnamese military are mobilizing and cooperating to exploit the natural resources and timber and valuable trees of Laos and destroy its beautiful rain forests and mountain homelands of the freedom loving Laotian and Hmong people, who they are starving to death and attacking with their military troops,” continued Mr. Rathigna. “After they displace or kill the Laotian people and Hmong in Xieng Khouang Province and Sayasamboun Closed Military Zone, these stolen logs, and truck-loads of timber by the ton, are moved down the highway to the city of Vinh were they are sold by the Vietnamese military,” Mr. Rathigna concluded.
“We want Vietnam’s troops out of Laos and this illegal logging and explotation of the Lao people stopped as well as an immediate halt to the military attacks against the Hmong people who they are killing in the mountains and jungles,” stated Boun Boulaphanh, of the Laotian Community of Minnesota. "These are terrible environmental crimes and crimes against humanity and the Lao people that Vietnamese communist generals are committing in Laos with their military troops; the rape of our land and people must stop and we also hold the corrupt Pathet Lao leadership in Vientiane largely responsible for these horrifying and brutal acts, including the destruction of our rain forests and jungles and the mass murder of the Hmong people," Mr. Boulaphanh stated.
A recent report from two ( 2 ) international environmental groups found that the Socialist Republic of Vietnam’s illegal logging is threatening some of the last intact forests in South-East Asia. The new report from UK-based Environmental Investigation Agency and Indonesia’s Telapak says that increasing raw timber prices has caused some countries to attempt to thwart illegal logging. http://www.news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7302732.stm
Three Hmong-Americans from St. Paul, Minnesota, traveling in Laos, including Hakit Yang, were arrested and imprisoned in Laos in 2007. The three Hmong-Americans were non-political, private citizens and were traveling as tourists and seeking potential investment opportunities in Laos when they were arrested by Lao military and security forces last year and imprisoned in Phong Thong prison in Vientiane, Laos. The Lao government has not released the three who are currently being detained without charge in Laos. http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1062582.html
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