September 19, 2008

Hmong: Lao Military Attacks Phou Bia Mountain Area

Active ImageFollowing recent attacks in the Phou Bia Mountain area of Laos, the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic has arrested 31 Hmong civilians and activists.
Below is an article published by Media Newswire:

The Lao Human Rights Council, inc. the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA), non- governmental organizations and policymakers in Washington, D.C. are receiving increased reports of fresh new military and security force attacks against Laotian and Hmong civilians and political and religious activist groups in Laos. 
 
Following recent attacks last week, the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic (LPDR) has arrested a group of 31 Hmong civilians and religious and political activists , including women and children. The arrests follow a renewed effort by the LPDR regime to starve, attack and kill Hmong living independently from the one-party authoritarian regime in the Phou Bia mountain area and elsewhere in Laos.

“The Lao military continues to launch heavy military and security force attacks at Hmong in the Phou Bia mountain area of Laos; and their military and security forces have recently arrested  seven (7) Hmong families totaling 31 innocent Hmong people,” stated Vaughn Vang, Executive Director of the Hmong Lao Human Rights Council, Inc. (HLHRC).

Author and Southeast Asian scholar Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt, who testified in the U.S. Congress earlier this year about the current Laotian and Hmong refugee crisis, documents the plight of the Hmong people in her award winning book Tragic Mountains: The Hmong, the Americans and the Secret Wars for Laos (Indiana University Press).  The 15th anniversary of the publication of Tragic Mountains is being marked this year.  http://www.tragicmountains.org

“On September 9, 2008, Mr. Thong Xue’s group of Hmong civilians and religious and political members were brutally arrested, “stated Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis in Washington, D.C. “Most of the group of the 31 Lao-Hmong arrested by the Lao military and security forces last week [September 2008] at Phou Bia mountain area were women, children and the elderly.”

“Seven Lao-Hmong civilian families totaling 31 Hmong in hiding in the area of Haav Qhuav (Dry River) Phou Bia, Laos had managed to somehow survive for many years and courageously defended their families, holding out until just this month [September 2008] from continued and repeated heavy LPDR military and security force attacks and a campaign of calculated, mass starvation, but the poor Hmong families finally surrendered at gunpoint to the government soldiers,” continued Smith.

Smith stated further: “We believe that these Lao Hmong families, which includes 31 individuals, will likely face rape, torture, execution or death at the hands of the LPDR military and security forces that have done the very same thing in recent weeks and months to so many Laotian and Hmong people, including the massacre and mutilation of women and children; this group of 31 Hmong people represents the tragic tip of the iceberg in terms of the shear numbers, scale and scope of this Darfur and Bosnia-like crisis where so many innocent Laotian and Hmong people are being arrested, abducted and killed by the LPDR regime.”

“The Lao military and security forces have arrested Mr. Thong Xiong’s group which includes seven (7) families totaling 31 Hmong in hiding in the area of Haav Qhuav (Dry River) Phou Bia, Laos, continued Vaughn Vang of the HLHRC. “The head of these families are: Mrs. Vang Kou; Mrs. Lor Yeng; Mrs. Tong Khue; Mrs. Chong Ser; Mrs. Yang Lue; Mrs. Tong Xeng and Mrs. Nhia  Xyum Moua.”

Vaughn Vang stated further:  “Currently the LPDR soldiers are holding these innocent Hmong men, women and children in Haav Qhuav (Dry River) until the soldiers have arrested the rest of the innocent Hmong in hiding which at that time the soldier will likely kill these innocent women and children quickly in Haav Qhuav (Dry River) in the mountains of Phou Bia, Laos in the next few days or weeks.”

Vaughn Vang concluded: “These innocent Hmong men, women and children appeal to the United Nations, the United States and the world community to urge the LPDR government to spare the lives of these 31 Hmong people.  The LPDR should immediately and unconditionally release these 31 Hmong people that it has unfairly arrested and prove to the international community that the Lao government will abide by international law and the spirit and letter of H.Res. 1273 and H.Res. 402, as introduced in the U.S. Congress, and cease its human rights violations and attacks against the freedom-loving Laotian and Hmong people.”

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