March 1, 2008
U.N. refugee agency is concerned about
Below is an article published by The International Herald Tribune:
The U.N. refugee agency is concerned about
The 12 Hmong were taken Wednesday [27 February 2008] from a refugee camp in
According to the Thai military's Supreme Command's Border Affairs Office, which manages the camp, the 12 volunteered to go back to
However, one of the 12 was a woman who had five children left behind at the camp, according to the humanitarian aid group Doctors Without Borders, which works at the camp. Her separation from her children suggested that her return was not voluntary, the group said.
According to a California-based Hmong advocacy group, the Fact Finding Commission, and a Western diplomat who asked not to be named because she is not authorized to speak to the media, the woman was en route to Laos when she was sent back to the camp to be reunited with her children.
The Fact Finding Commission, which has been a reliable source of information in the past, said the 11 others who were sent back were jailed Friday [29 February 2008] at Paksan in
The report could not be independently confirmed, and Lao officials could not be reached for comment.
"We are concerned because we are receiving a number of reports which called into question whether everyone volunteered to go," she told The Associated Press.
UNHCR, she said, has no objection to repatriations if they are strictly voluntary and conducted in dignity and according to international standards.
The Hmong say they fear political persecution in
More than 300,000 Laotians, mostly Hmong, fled to