March 4, 2008
U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokeswoman Kitty McKinsey said her agency questioned why these Hmong were returned to
Below is an article published by Radio Free
Armed Thai soldiers dragged a group of Lao Hmong asylum-seekers from a crowded holding camp here onto trucks to deport them and sent dogs after two who jumped from a moving truck to avoid repatriation, witnesses said.
The military dogs mauled the two men, both in their 20s, and they remain in a Thai hospital, according to witnesses. The witnesses’ accounts contradict Thai and Lao government assertions that the group had volunteered to go back to
Thai soldiers entered the Huay Nam Khao camp in Phetchabun at 1 p.m. Feb. 27 , rounded up 13 Hmong, and dragged them onto trucks, one of the witnesses said. “Some of them hung on to bushes or small trees and had to be pulled free and thrown onto the trucks—bushes were uprooted,” he said.
Three to four soldiers appeared to have been assigned to each Hmong, whose belongings the soldiers collected before leaving the camp around 3 p.m., another witness said. The soldiers said little but indicated they would return over the coming days, witnesses said.
“Two young men in their 20s jumped off the trucks after they started to move. The soldiers sent dogs out to find them and they were badly mauled, and those men are now in Khao Kao hospital” in Phetchabun, one witness said.
Officials say they volunteered
Two young men in their 20s jumped off the trucks after they started to move. The soldiers sent dogs out to find them and they were badly mauled, and those men are now in Khao Kao hospital.
Lao witness Eleven Lao Hmong were then handed over on Feb. 28  to Lao authorities in
Eleven Lao Hmong were then handed over on Feb. 28  to Lao authorities in
“The Hmong you saw being returned to
“Therefore the news carried by some media isn’t completely accurate. From what we got from the military task force in Huay Nam Khao, it seems that there are a lot more who want to go back,” Voravit added.
U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokeswoman Kitty McKinsey said her agency never obtained access to the Huay Nam Khao camp, but she questioned why these Hmong were returning and whether they had volunteered to go.
In an interview, one of the returnees, Walao Saiyang, said the repatriation was voluntary. “We all wanted to go back and we will feel happy to be back in
“Now we realize it was a mistake to leave
The deportation came ahead of an official visit to
Some 149 Hmong held at a separate camp in Nong Khai meanwhile threatened a hunger strike if they too are deported. That group has been housed at an immigration center in Nong Khai, about 500 kms (310 miles) northeast of
These Hmong, who claim to have fled persecution in neighboring
The Hmong say they fear political persecution in
More than 300,000 Lao, mostly Hmong, fled to