August 13, 2009

Hmong: Appeal to Stop Forced Repatriation

Active ImageThe Lao Hmong refugees at Ban Huay Nam Khao Camp are appealing to the United States, United Nations, international human rights and humanitarian organizations, and world community to stop the Thai government's forced repatriation policy against the 4,700 remaining Lao Hmong refugees.

 

Below is an article published by Media-Newswire:

In recent days [August 2009], following the visit to a Hmong refugee camp in Thailand of a senior level Lao communist official, elements of the Royal Thai Third Army and Thai Ministry of the Interior are reportedly using electric tazer-like guns, electric cattle prods and severe beatings to seek to “volunteer” and force Lao Hmong refugees and asylum seeker at Ban Huay Nam Khao refugee camp in Thailand back to the communist regime in Laos that they fled. Twenty four Hmong were forced back to Laos in recent days. Thai and Lao officials are also reportedly seeking to bribe, and buy off key, Hmong clan and group leaders in the camp with promises of large amounts of cash, millions in Thai Baht and Lao Kip currency, to return to Laos if they will also agree to “volunteer” significant numbers of their fellow Hmong refugees at Huay Nam Khao to return to Laos against their will.

U.S. Senator Jim Webb(D-VA) is visiting South East Asia, including Laos and Thailand, this week following a recent trip by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the Association of South East Asian Nations' (ASEAN) meeting in Phuket where she discussed the Hmong refugee issue with Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

“With adapted and cruel tactics and strategies, elements of the Royal Thai Third Army and Ministry of Interior troops have launched a new bloody and brutal campaign to force Hmong refugees from Thailand to Laos,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) in Washington, D.C. 

“Twenty-four Lao Hmong political refugees at Ban Huay Nam Khao were brutally attacked in recent days, and forcibly repatriated back to Laos, by Thai Third Army and Ministry of Interior troops who used electric tazer-like guns, electric cattle prods and tear gas against the refugees who spoke out in opposition to their repatriation to Laos after the visit of  Lao Communist official Buaxieng Champaphan to the refugee camp,” Smith said.

Smith continued:  “Following MSF’s, Doctors Without Borders,’ protest withdrawal from the Hmong camp in May, 2009,  because of forced repatriation, there clearly appears to be a renewed and gruesome bloody carrot, and bloody stick, policy that has emerged in Thailand this month, in August, against the Lao Hmong refugees, especially following the visit to the camp of Lao communist officials, including Buaxieng Champaphan.  Tear gas, electric cattle prods, electric taser-like guns and millions in blood money bribes are now reportedly being used in the Lao Hmong camp as well as other stepped-up coercive measures by elements of the Thai Third Army and Ministry of Interior in order to force the refugees to return to Laos against their will as bogus volunteers.”

“At the same time,  with the visit of the Lao Communist officials, large amounts of blood money, millions in Baht and Kip, are allegedly being promised, and in some cases allegedly given, to Hmong leaders in the camp if they agree to return to Laos and ‘volunteer’ other Hmong against their will to return with them; but, unfortunately, once back in Laos it is unclear if the money will even be paid, or if the Hmong leaders who have allegedly been corrupted and bribed will millions in bloody Baht and bloody Kip will live long enough to spend this dirty money, or if they will be summarily executed or imprisoned like many of their fellow Hmong who volunteered to return to Laos and the money taken from them.”

“Doctors Without Borders, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), denounces the growing pressure applied by Thailand’s army to force the 5,000 Hmong refugees living in Huai Nam Khao camp, in northern Thailand, to return to Laos. Increasingly restrictive measures have forced MSF to put a stop to its assistance activities after some four years of presence in the camp,” MSF stated in a press release and report issued on May 20, 2009. 

”During the last four months, the Thai army, present in the camp, has introduced increasingly restrictive measures with the aim of pressuring the Hmong into dropping their demands for refugee status and returning ‘voluntarily’ to Laos. The refugees talk of arbitrary arrests and cases of forced repatriation,” MSF continued in their statement.

“On August 10, 2009, direct sources have reported that the Thai and Lao governments have allegedly bribed Chong Cher Lor, a Hmong leader at Ban Huay Nam Khao camp in Petchabun Province, Thailand,” said Vaughn Vang, Executive Director of the Lao Hmong Human Rights Council of Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Vaughn Vang continued:  “The Thai government has allegedly promised Chong Cher Lor two (2) million Baht in cash while the Lao government has promised him 10 million Kip if Chong Cher is successful at returning the remaining 4,700 Hmong refugees at the Ban Huay Nam Khao Camp in Petchabun province, Thailand back to Laos.”  Just this week, Chong has reportedly submitted to the Thai government the names of forty (40) families which he claims to have ‘volunteered’ to be repatriated back to Laos; However, direct sources report that these are lies and the families refuse to return to the country in which they had escaped from persecution, torture, and killings.”

Vaughn Vang of the Lao Hmong Human Rights Council, Inc. made the following statement today in Washington, D.C., Thailand and Green Bay, Wisconsin:
“Direct sources report that seven (7) Hmong refugee families at Ban Huay Nam Khao camp have courageously and openly opposed Lao Peoples Democratic Republic (LPDR) Communist official Buaxieng Champaphan's attempt to persuade these refugees to return to Laos during a recent visit on August 7, 2009, and refuse to be repatriated. 

The Lao communist official Buaxieng declared that all Hmong in-hiding and asylum seekers from the jungle of Laos are uncivilized and do not know the laws; therefore, he plans to place these people in a "re-education camp" located in Laos and named Borikhamxai Military Camp.

Sadly, following the LPDR official’s remarks and visit to the Hmong camp, over thirty (30) Thai soldiers sprayed tear gas and other toxic chemical gases onto these seven families, totaling 24 Lao Hmong individuals, and used electric tazer-like guns and cattle prods to shock and electrocute them.  All seven men were brutally beaten, severely bleeding, and carried, almost lifeless, onto military trucks driven by the Thai soldiers. 

Women and children were also captured and carried like animals onto these military trucks.  All seven men and their families, with their eyes blindfolded and their mouths covered, were forced repatriated directly to Laos.

The seven families that were attacked and forcibly repatriated to the military regime in Laos totaled 24 individuals with these men as head of each household include:  Mr. Nao Vang Yang;  Mr. Soua Lor; Mr. Ka Choa Lee; Mr. Hlee Yang; Mr.Lee Pao Vang; Mr. Nhia Xiong Yang; Mr.  Toua Vang.

Shockingly, some Royal Thai soldiers stated openly to the refugees  that it is necessary for them to use poisonous chemical gases (including tear gas), electric tazer guns, and brutal beatings on the 4,700 remaining Hmong refugees in order for them to shove the refugees onto military trucks and forcibly repatriated them back to Laos.  They want to force innocent Lao Hmong people back to Laos, the country that they fled from political and religious persecution.

The Lao Hmong refugees at Ban Huay Nam Khao Camp are appealing to the United States, United Nations, international  human rights and humanitarian organizations, and world community to stop the Thai government's forced repatriation policy against the 4,700 remaining Lao Hmong refugees.  They do not want to return to the Stalinist regime in Laos.

We are horrified that the Lao government is continuing to hunt and kill many innocent Laotian and Hmong civilians and political and religious dissidents in Laos; therefore, many of these Lao Hmong refugees will likely  face political and religious persecution, torture, and death once they arrive in Laos. 

On August 7, 2009, Buaxieng Champaphan, Co-chairman of the Thai-Lao border subcommittee, claimed that the 4,700 will be sent directly to the re-education camp to learn the government's laws.  However, these Hmong refugees have strongly stated, ‘we, the Hmong in Huay Nam Khao, will not go back to Laos; since we and our families will be persecuted, tortured, and killed by the LPDR regime in Laos, who has done this to our loved-ones which it continues to attack with the Lao military and secret police.’

All of the remaining 4,700 Hmong refugee asylum seekers in the Ban Huay Nam Khao camp are unwilling to return to Laos, the country in which they had escaped to Thailand because of persecution and killing by the Lao PDR government regime.  Thailand has signed the Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons which includes asylum seekers as these Hmong refugees in Petchabun Province.

Most of these Lao Hmong refugees in Thailand are direct descendants of Hmong who served with the U.S. military and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) during the Vietnam War.  They deserve a life of liberty, justice, and freedom as do all allies of the United States. 

Again, these Lao Hmong refugees in Thailand are making a  plea for the immediate intervention from the United States, United Nations, Amnesty International, all human rights and humanitarian organizations, and the world community, to cease the forced repatriation to Laos by the Thai government.”

(End Statement of Vaughn Vang, Director, Lao Hmong Human Rights Council, Inc., Green Bay, Wisconsin, August 11, 2009)