Laos SEA Games: Lao, Hmong Demonstrators Beaten, Dragged Screaming to Prisons

Friday, November 6, 2009

"With the approach of the SEA Games in Laos, more arrests and military attacks have occurred in recent days, led by the Lao military and secret police. The Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) has also deployed new battalions and special units of the Vietnam Peoples Army (VPA) to assist the LPDR in crushing the Laotian peoples opposition and demonstrations directed at political reform and regime change in Laos," said Philip Smith of the CPPA in Washington, D.C.

( - Washington, D.C., Paris, France, Luang Prabang, Laos, Nong Khai, Thailand, November 6, 2009 - With the start of SEA Games just weeks away, the Communist military junta in Laos has imprisoned peaceful Lao activists seeking to organize demonstrations in Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Savannakhet and elsewhere in Laos. Laos will host the SEA games in December in Vientiane.

“The 2 November 2009 protest aimed to claim for ‘a real democracy, human rights respect, the cancellation of the Laos-Vietnam Cooperation Treaty of 1977, the release of all political prisoners and a multipartite system,’ as reported by information sent from inside the LPDR,” said Vanida S. Thephsouvanh, President of the Lao Movement for Human Rights ( MLDH ) in a recent international communiqué issued by the MLDH from Paris, France.

“If the majority of the persons arrested yesterday have been released, many of them are still detained at this moment, among whom "Mrs Kingkeo ( 39 ), Misters Soubin ( 35 ), Souane ( 50 ), Sinpasong ( 43 ) and Khamsone ( 36 ) arrested in Phon Hong; Mr Nou ( 54 ) arrested in Pakkading; Ms Somchit ( 29 ), Misters Somkhit ( 28 ) and Sourigna ( 26 ) arrested in Vientiane," according to this same information,” the MLDH and Ms. Thephsouvanh continued.

”The Lao Movement for Human Rights is highly concerned by these disturbing news and asks the LPDR authorities to account clear explanations of these arrests and to immediately release these persons whose only action seem to wish for a peaceful protest in favor of democracy and human rights,” Ms. Thephsouvanh and the MLDH stated.

Laos, ruled as the one-party the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic, or LPDR, is a one-party regime closely allied with Burma and North Korea. In various provinces of Laos, the LPDR regime has mobilized the Lao Peoples Army ( LPA ) to arrest and attack peaceful Laotian citizens, including political and religious dissidents, and members of the Hmong ethnic minority.

“With the approach of the SEA Games in Laos, more arrests and military attacks have occurred in recent days, led by the Lao military and secret police. The Socialist Republic of Vietnam ( SRV ) has also deployed new battalions and special units of the Vietnam Peoples Army ( VPA ) to assist the LPDR in crushing the Laotian peoples opposition and demonstrations directed at political reform and regime change in Laos,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis ( CPPA ) in Washington, D.C.

“A coalition of Lao and Hmong non-governmental organizations are condemning the recent arrests of over 346 Laotian students and pro-democracy activists seeking to organize demonstrations against the LPDR regime prior to the SEA Games,” said Smith.

“Unfortunately, this is somewhat of disaster for the opening of the SEA Games, since many ordinary Lao, Hmong citizens have been brutally beaten and dragged screaming to jail cells by the LPA, Lao Peoples Army, and secret police for seeking to peacefully protest widespread government corruption in Laos and the oppressive Stalinist military rule that they continue to suffer egregious human rights violations under,” Smith concluded.

Smith said further: “President Obama has told the Communist military junta in Laos that they are not a Marxist-Leninist regime, but unfortunately the LPDR military junta and its generals will not listen to President Obama or the United States, and are continuing to deploy their secret police and military to arrest, imprison and kill their own people in support of the one-party Communist leadership and Stalinist regime.”

In Laos, 346 people have been arrested on Monday, November 2, and in recent days, according to sources in Laos and Laotian student, human rights and non-governmental organizations abroad. Sources inside the Lao government and army have also confirmed the arrests. The arrests come in the wake of the 10th anniversary commemoration of the bloody crackdown in Vientiane on October 26, 1999, of peaceful Lao Student demonstrations.

Laos also continues to imprison leaders of the peaceful 1999 Lao Students Movement for Democracy as well as three American citizens, including Hakit Yang of St. Paul, Minnesota.

Hundreds of Lao Hmong political refugees from Ban Huay Nam Khao that were forced from Thailand to Laos in recent months have been jailed, imprisoned, summarily executed or have simply disappeared according to sources in Laos and the Center for Public Policy Analysis in Washington, D.C.

”On behalf of The Laos Institute for Democracy, I condemn the Lao PDR ( LPDR ) regime and urge it to stop its violence and released all peaceful Laotian demonstrations as soon as posible,” said Khampoua Naovarangsy of the Laos Institute for Democracy.

Mr. Naovarangsy concluded: “Laos should have freedom of speech and freedom for religion for its own Laotian people, if not Laos should go back to be labeled a country of particular concern ( CPC ) and returned to the black list for its violations of human rights and freedom.

Khampoua Naovarangsy pointed out that to the surprise and opposition of many Laotians, earlier this year, President Obama and the White House removed the LPDR regime in Laos from the Black List of Communist countries allowing access for U.S. Import-Export Bank loans: Mr. Naovarangsy explained: “Here is what President Obama said in reading from the Memorandum to the U.S. Secretary of State by the U.S. President: ‘MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE, subject: US President has removed Laos from black list: Pursuant to the authority vested in me by section 2( b )( C ) of the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945, as amended ( 12 U.S.C. 635( b )( 2 )( C ) ), I hereby determine that The Lao People's Democratic Republic has ceased to be a Marxist-Leninist country within the definition of such term in section 2( b )( 2 )( B )( i ) of that Act.You are authorized and directed to publish this determination in the Federal Register.’”

Mr. Naovarangsy explained further: “ President Obama has told the Communist leaders of Laos that they are not Marxist Lennists, but they Communist LPDR leaders refuse to listen. President Obama even removed the LPDR Communist regime from the U.S. black list for Export – Import Bank loans. But the LPDR communist leaders keep acting like Communists and Marxist – Leninists by persecuting and imprisoning their own people for opposing the corrupt one-party regime.”

“The LPDR government in Laos must immediately release these peaceful protesters from the November 2 to November 5 protests or face even more protests in the future by the freedom loving Lao people,” said Bounthanh Rathigna, President of the United League for
Democracy in Laos, Inc.

“We are demanding the release of all of the political and religious dissidents by the start of the SEA Games,” Rathigna said.

Bounthanh Rathigna continued: “The Lao people oppose the rampant corruption and human rights violations of the LPDR military dictatorship against their own Laotian and Hmong people; they want an immediate withdrawal of all LPA army units from Vientiane, Luang Prabang and elsewhere in the Laotian cities and the release from prison of all the peaceful protesters as well as the Lao Students of the October 1999 Movement for Democracy,”

“Vietnam and corrupt communist generals in Hanoi, must be removed from Laos, the LPDR regime in Laos is supported as a puppet regime by the Vietnam Peoples Army and they are continuing to exploit Laos for its timber, minerals and natural resources, as an illegal occupying power in clear violation of international law,” concluded Mr. Rathigna. “The Lao people want the Peoples Army of Vietnam, the VPA, and its corrupt communist generals from Hanoi out of Laos and to end their support for the LPDR regime’s persecution of its own people. The VPA and Lao Peoples Army continue to oppress, persecute and kill the Lao and Hmong people who only want to live in peace and freedom. This is one of the main reasons why the protesters were arrested in Vientiane and Luang Prabang, they want true freedom and human rights for Laos.”

“Why will the LPDR regime in Laos not demand the withdrawal of all Vietnam troops and security forces from Laos who are now deployed by Hanoi to persecute and kill the freedom-loving Lao political and religious leaders and dissidents opposed to the corrupt authoritarian rule of the Lao military junta and the LPDR regime.”

“With the right hand the LPDR government in Laos welcomes the world to the SEA Games in Vientiane,” said Vaughn Vang, Director of the Lao Hmong Human Rights Council, Inc. ( LHHRC ) in Wisconsin.

Vaughn Vang concluded: “But with the other hand the Lao Peoples Army and LPDR regime are engaged in a massive campaign in Laos to arrest, starve, kill and persecute the Lao and Hmong people who only want peace and freedom. Now the Lao military has again launched new attacks against innocent civilians in the provinces of Xieng Khouang, Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Khammoune and elsewhere resulting in many innocent Lao and Hmong civilians and religious believers, including Christians, to be injured or killed.”

"Lao and Hmong groups in-hiding are continuing to report that the Lao Army is launching military attacks, ambushing and surround these groups in-hiding using heavy artillery, infantry, and small unit attacks. More than 112 Hmong women and children in-hiding in Phou Bia mountain area alone are known casualties of the recent attacks that have occurred over the last three weeks," said Mr. Vang from LHHRC offices in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

In October, over 112 Lao Hmong civilian casualties in Laos’ Xieng Khouang Province have been the result of military attacks by the LPA and VPA units against unarmed civilians and political and religious dissident groups at Phou Bia Mountain and Phou Da Phao Mountain areas. Most of the Lao and Hmong victims of the LPDR military attacks are women and children.

CPPA - Center for Public Policy Analysis
2020 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Suite No. #212
Washington, D.C. 20006

Telephone contact: 202-543-1444
Mr. Juan Lopez or Ms. Maria Gomez


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