August 31, 2007
A number of organisations, including Amnesty International and the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), have drawn attention to the dire conditions in which Hmong refugees in
Below are extracts from an article published by Marwaan Macan-Markar for the Inter Press Service:
By going on a hunger strike, some 150 ethnic Hmong refugees in
‘’They have been locked inside the prison cells since Jan. 30 without seeing the sun. They have been forced to drink dirty water from the bathroom for more than a month and the food is not fit for human consumption,’’ [a Hmong rights activist] added in describing the conditions under which the refugees, among them 80 children, have been kept in an immigration detention centre near the Thai-Laos border.
Similar concerns have been expressed over another group of nearly 8,000 Hmong refugees kept in a holding centre in
‘’This group should also be screened according to international standards to see if they have legitimate reasons to claim refugee status,’’ Kitty McKinsey, a spokeswoman of the U.N. refugee agency’s
‘’We are concerned about them,’’ she added. ‘’They should not be sent back till all of them have been screened.’’
The pressure on the military-appointed government that runs
And the beginning of August saw 13 members of the U.S. Congress write a letter to
The refugees would ‘’face horrific mass starvation and death by the Lao military regime if they return to their homeland,’’ the letter said, echoing sentiments that had been expressed in June by the U.S. State Department. On that occasion,
The Laotian government has […] displayed […] a hostile approach when Hmong refugees have been deported back, including denying access to the U.N. refugee agency to monitor resettlement efforts. In some cases, the Hmong who were forced back to
‘’The two countries will not allow the issue of Hmong illegal immigration to undermine our good relations since we have reached a conclusion that these people are not refugees and must be repatriated back to Laos,’’ Yong Chantalansy, Lao government spokesman, told the ‘Bangkok Post’ newspaper this week during a visit to Thailand.