December 7, 2009
Acoalition of Lao and Hmong-American organisations are discussing key policy issues as well as their boycott of the Southeast Asia Games (SEA Games or SEAG) in Vientiane, Laos. The events in Washington, D.C. were held in response to the current human rights and refugee crisis in Laos and Thailand facing Laotian and Hmong refugees and asylum seekers.
Below is an article published by pr-inside:
At Laos National Policy Conference events being held in Washington, D.C., from December 4-7, a coalition of Lao and Hmong-American organizations are discussing key policy issues as well as their boycott of the Southeast Asia Games (SEA Games or SEAG) in Vientiane, Laos. The conference and events are co-hosted by the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) in cooperation with Members of the U.S. Congress and non-governmental and non-profit organizations. The events in Washington, D.C. were held in response to the current human rights and refugee crisis in Laos and Thailand facing Laotian and Hmong refugees and asylum seekers. Some 5,100 Lao Hmong political refugees are now facing forced repatriation from Ban Huay Nam Khao, Petchabun Province, and Nong Khai, Thailand back to the communist regime in Laos they fled.
According to the Lao and Hmong non-profit organizations, thousands of Laotian and Hmong-Americans are reportedly boycotting the athletic SEA games in Laos because of increased human rights and religious freedom violations in the communist Lao Peoples Democratic Republic (LPDR) as well as the current policy of forced repatriation of Lao Hmong refugees from Thailand to Laos. The Laotian organizations are also calling for the immediate release of Lao student leaders as well as three Hmong-American citizens from St. Paul, Minnesota, imprisoned in Laos without charge since 2007.
On Thursday, November 26 the European Parliament adopted a major resolution condemning egregious and systemic human rights violations in Laos by the one-party, authoritarian LPDR military regime. The resolution appeals to Thailand to free Lao Hmong refugees facing forced repatriation back to the communist regime in Laos. Vietnam is also cited for human rights violations by the European Parliament.
On November 26, the Lao Peoples Army (LPA) attacked and killed twenty-three (23) Lao Hmong Christians at the Phou Bia Mountain Area of Xieng Khouang Province and Vientiane Province. media-newswire.com/release_1106723.html
Laotians and Hmong have suffered increased political and religious persecution in Laos, prior to the start of the SEA games in Laos, including the massive Lao army and secret police crackdown on recent protest organizers and ordinary citizens in Vientiane, Laos, that has led to the arrest or detention of over 1100 Laotians this month.
"The Thailand and Laos refugee crisis may stir more unwanted political violence and civil unrest during the SEA games, or in its aftermath, if a military solution continues to be pursued by Thai Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, General Anupong and Prime Minister Abhisit in Thailand as well as the Lao military," observed Philip Smith, of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) in Washington, D.C. "In Laos, the Lao army and LPDR regime, with the help of additional troops from Vietnam, are also pursuing a military solution to what is essentially a social, civil and human rights problem, namely the continued Stalinist tyranny of an elite and corrupt, one-party military dictatorship that continues to generate an outflux of refugees."http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1105230.html
“We have been organizing and calling for a boycott by Laotian-Americans of the SEA Games because of the LPDR regime’s serious violation of the human rights of the Lao and Hmong people,” said Bouthanh Rathigna, President of the United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc. (ULDL). “We are very concerned about the Lao protestors arrested last month and jailed in Vientiane, the Lao student pro-democracy demonstrators still suffering in jail for over 10 years, and the Hmong refugee and camp leaders forcibly repatriated to Laos from Ban Huay Nam Khao, Thailand to Laos where many have disappeared or have been executed by the Lao military and security forces.”
“We also want the Vietnamese troops and secret police from Hanoi to get out of Laos now, and to end their oppression of the Lao people and neo-colonial violation of Laos’ territory,” Mr. Rathigna continued. “The Lao Peoples Army is being supported by new troops, military advisers and secret police from Hanoi who are engaged in serious human rights violations and religious persecution of our people as well as promoting the corruption and exploitation of Laos’ public sector and LPDR officials.”
“We are urging every Lao and Hmong-American from the United States as well as overseas Laotians to boycott the SEA Games,” said Boon Boualaphanh a leader of the Laotian Community of Minnesota (LCMN) who was a keynote speaker at the events in Washington, D.C.. “Do not go and do not support these SEA Games because of the horrible corruption of the one-party military regime in Laos and the LPDR communist government’s terrible persecution of the Laotian people, including the Lao students, minority Lao and Hmong Christians who it is killing and imprisoning.”
“We want the release of the Hmong and Lao hiding in the jungle so that they can be given freedom and live a peaceful and free life,” said Yang Toua Xiong of the St. Paul, Minnesota-based Lao Hmong Community of Minnesota (LHCMN).
Thongchanh Boulum, Secretary of the ULDL, and a keynote speaker at the Laos National Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. explained: “The Laos LPDR government does not respect the spirit of the Southeast Asia Games because it is a corrupt dictatorship that persecutes and kills its own people who it continues to arrest and imprison for seeking peaceful change and reform in Laos, including Laotian student protestors and religious and political dissidents.”
The ULDL, LCMN, LHCMN, Laos Institute for Democracy, Lao Students Democracy Movement, Lao Veterans of America, Inc. (LVA), Lao Hmong Human Rights Council (LHHRC), Lao and Hmong students, Hmong Advance, Inc. (HA), Hmong Advancement, Inc. (HAI), other Laotian-American organizations have organized and called for a boycott of the SEA Games.
Lao and Hmong delegations and organizations from North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, Michigan and other states participated in Laos National Policy Conference.
Lao and Hmong human rights and community organizations are slated to hold demonstrations and rallies in front of the Lao Embassy in Washington, D.C. today in opposition to the LPDR's one-party rule.