Thursday, November 19, 2009
"The Lao Movement for Human Rights denounces, once more, the non-respect of the basic rights of these 158 Lao-Hmongs, and the obvious violation of the political refugee status officially granted them by the UNHCR. The Lao Movement for Human Rights asks for the immediate release of these 158 refugees; It appeals to the Thai and Lao governments to stop the repatriations of the Lao-Hmong civilians and to respect international laws," said the Lao Movement for Human Rights and its President Vanida S. Thephsouvanh in a international appeal and statement.
(Media-Newswire.com) - Paris, France, Washington, D.C. , Vientiane, Laos, Bangkok, Thailand, November 19, 2009 - The Paris, France based Lao Movement for Human Rights ( LMHR or MLDH, Mouvement Lao pour les Droits de l’Homme ) has issued an international communiqué and press statement today urging the release and freedom for the Lao Hmong refugees being detained in squalid condition in Nong Khai, Thailand prior to the start of the SEA Games in Laos.
"A growing international appeal has been made to urge Thai Prime Minister Abhisit and General Anupong to immediately cease the forced repatriation of Lao Hmong political refugees at Ban Huay Nam Khao and Nong Khai, Thailand, back to the brutal communist regime in Laos where the Laotian refugees fled persecution and attack by the Lao army and LPDR regime," said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Washington,D.C.-based Center for Public Policy Analysis ( CPPA ).
The 158 Lao Hmong refugees fled political and religious persecution in the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic ( LPDR ) and were sent to Nong Khai in an effort to forcibly repatriate them to Laos. Royal Thai soldiers have repeatedly used tear gas and other violent and psychological measures to coerce the Lao Hmong political refugees to return to Laos where many also fled military attacks by the Lao army, ethnic cleansing and a campaign of mass starvation. Royal Thailand Army Chief-of-Staff General Anupong Paochinda as well as Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Minister of Interior ( MOI ) Chavarat Charnvirakulhave have mobilized over 320 heavily-armed troops in the Lao Hmong refugee camp at Ban Huay Nam Khao, Thailand, and are reportedly preparing for the potential mass forced repatriation of the refugees prior to the start of the Southeast Asia Games ( SEA Games ) in Laos. There is growing fear that the Lao Hmong refugees at Nong Khai could be forcibly repatriated thereafter.
The LMHR, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees ( UNHCR ), the Center for Public Policy Analysis ( CPPA ), the Lao Hmong Human Rights Council, Inc. ( LHHRC ), the Lao Veterans of America, Inc. ( LVA ), the Lao Veterans of America Institute ( LVAI ), Hmong Advance, Inc. ( HA ), Hmong Advancement, Inc. ( HAI ), the United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc. ( ULDL ), the Lao Institute for Democracy ( LIFD ), the Lao Students Movement for Democracy ( LSMD ) and a coalition of Lao and Hmong non-governmental organizations have urged the Royal Thai government to release the refugees and allow them to be resettled in third countries that have agreed to grant them political asylum. http://www.pr-inside.com/sea-games-crisis-in-laos-mldh-r1578605.htm
U.S. President Barack Obama has been asked to address the current Lao Hmong refugee crisis during his recent APEC summit meeting and trip to Asia. http://www.pr-inside.com/president-obama-urged-to-address-laos-r1583086.htm
U.S. Policymakers in Washington, D.C. and senior Members of the U.S. Congress have again appealed to His Majesty, the King of Thailand, to help save the Lao Hmong refugees from forced repatriation to Laos. http://www.pr-inside.com/his-majesty-bhumibol-adulayadej-the-r1586480.htm
As of November 18, the Lao Peoples Army ( LPA ) and LPDR regime have arrested nearly 1200 Laotians, including political and religious dissidents as well as ordinary Lao and Hmong citizens, seeking reform and change in the Laos in November.
The Socialist Republic of Vietnam ( SRV ) and senior Vietnam Peoples Army ( VPA ) generals in Hanoi have mobilized more combat troops and secret police to Laos to prop up the corrupt and staggering LPDR regime who faces increased internal opposition and dissent. http://www.pr-inside.com/sea-games-crisis-in-laos-mldh-r1578605.htm
The following is the text of the international communiqué and press statement ( in the English and French language ) by the LMHR and its President Vanida S. Thephsouvanh issued around the globe on November 18-19, 2009:
"Laos-Thailand : Freedom for the 158 Lao-Hmong refugees of Nong Khai
One hundred and fifty eight Lao-Hmong refugees, among whom are more than 85 children, having been detained for more than 1095 days in the Center of detention of Nong Khaï, a Thai city at the Lao border, will be sent back to the Lao People's Democratic Republic ( LPDR ).
These persons who had chosen to flee the LPDR for their life and safety, have been recognized as political refugees by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees ( UNHCR ). According to the UNHCR spokesman, they found a host country, but have been placed in detention for three years now, the Thai and the LPDR authorities having agreed to send some 8.000 civilian Lao-Hmongs in Thailand back to Laos before the end of 2009.
The Lao Movement for Human Rights denounces, once more, the non-respect of the basic rights of these 158 Lao-Hmongs, and the obvious violation of the political refugee status officially granted them by the UNHCR.
The Lao Movement for Human Rights asks for the immediate release of these 158 refugees. It appeals to the Thai and Lao governments to stop the repatriations of the Lao-Hmong civilians and to respect international laws.
The Lao Movement for Human Rights appeals to all the donors – especially the European Union and its 27 member States, the United Nations, the United States, Japan, Australia, ASEAN and the International financial institutions – to act firmly upon the Lao leaders so that deep reforms are trully engaged to bring human rights respect, freedom and democracy in Laos."
( End international communiqué and press statement in English by LMHR and its President Mrs. Vanida S. Thephsouvanh, November 18-19, 2009 )
( In the French language ):
Mouvement Lao pour les Droits de l'Homme ( MLDH )
Communiqué de presse Paris, le 18-19 novembre 2009
Laos-Thaïlande : Liberté pour les 158 réfugiés Lao-Hmongs de Nongkhai
Cent cinquante huit réfugiés Lao-Hmongs, parmi lesquels plus de 85 enfants, sont détenus depuis plus de 1095 jours au centre de détention de Nongkhai, ville thaïlandaise située à la frontière lao , vont être renvoyés en République Démocratique Populaire Lao ( RDPL ).
Ces personnes, qui avaient choisi de fuir la RDPL par crainte pour leur sécurité et leur vie, ont été reconnues comme réfugiés politiques par le Haut Commissariat de l'ONU ( UNHCR ).
Selon le porte-parole de l'UNHCR, ces 158 Lao-Hmongs ont trouvé des pays d'accueil, mais ont été placées en détention depuis trois ans, les autorités de Thailande et de la RDPL s'étant mis d'accord pour renvoyer les quelques 8.000 civils Lao-Hmongs en Thaïlande vers le Laos avant fin 2009.
Le Mouvement Lao pour les Droits de l'Homme ( MLDH ) dénonce, une fois de plus, le non-respect des droits fondamentaux de ces 158 Lao-Hmongs, et l'atteinte flagrante au statut de réfugié politique que leur a accordé officiellement l'UNHCR.
Le MLDH demande la remise en liberté immédiate de ces 158réfugiés. Il appelle les gouvernements laotien et thaïlandais à mettre fin aux extraditions des civils Lao-Hmongs et à respecter les traités internationaux.
Il appelle les donateurs --en particulier l'Union Européenne et ses 27 Etats membres, les Nations Unies, les Etats-Unis, le Japon, l'Australie, l'ASEAN et les Institutions financières internationales-- à agir avec fermeté auprès des dirigeants du régime laotien afin que réformes en profondeur soient entreprises en vue de restaurer le respect des droits humains, la liberté et la démocratie au Laos.
[( End International Communique, Press Statement Mouvement Lao pour les Droits de l'Homme ( MLDH ), and its President Mrs. Vanida S. Thephsouvanh November 18-19, 2009]
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