May 27, 2008
Hmong refugees in Thailand on the verge of being deported to a hostile Laos have burned their camp in a desperate plea to gain the attention of the UN.
Below is an article published by the Bangkok Post:
Hmong residents burned their temporary camp in Phetchabun province to back demands for the United Nations to step in and prevent their return to Laos, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Saturday [24 May 2008].
Thani Thongphakdi, deputy director-general of the information department of the foreign ministry, said between 200-300 Hmong burned their shelters at Ban Huay Nam Khao camp and demanded that the UN High Commissioner for Refugees step in to help them.
No injuries were reported in the tense protest.
The Hmong demanded the Thai government to stop sending them back to Laos and to allow UNHCR officials to supervise the camp, said Mr Thani.
About 850 of the 1,300 shelters at the camp were destroyed in the fire, he said. Again on Saturday morning, about 300 Hmong again protested peacefully at the camp in a bid to draw the attention of the UN and the world community.
Authorities had the fires out and situation under control by Saturday afternoon [24 May 2008], he added. There were no arrests. […]