Monday, January 25, 2010
A special task force of over 70 Lao Peoples Army (LPA) soldiers along with over 18 Vietnamese People Army (VPA) troops and advisers attacked a group of Lao Hmong civilians, including independent Christians and Animist believers, wounding some 24 women and children, and 7 men, in Laos.
(Media-Newswire.com) - Washington, D.C., Bangkok, Thailand and Vientiane, Laos, January 25, 2010 - The Socialist Republic of Vietnam ( SRV ) has stepped up joint military operations in Laos with the Lao Armed Forces to hunt Laotian and Hmong groups seeking sanctuary in the jungles and mountains of Laos.
The head of the Lao effort to forcibly repatriate Lao Hmong refugees from Thailand to Laos is a senior Lao Peoples Army ( LPA ) general who has a track record of denying findings of war crimes and atrocities by Amnesty International, the United Nations and others. Brigadier General Bouasieng Champaphanh ( AKA Bouaxieng Champaphanh or Bouxieng Champaphanh ), chairman of the Lao-Thai general border sub-committee, is also the Deputy Chief of Staff for the Lao Armed Forces which has targeted the Hmong in Laos for military attacks and political and religious persecution. General Bouasieng Champaphanh has been placed in charge of the Hmong repatriated from Thailand to Laos.
Vietnamese troops deployed by Hanoi have also been deployed in the Vientiane area of Laos in larger numbers in recent months to help the Lao Army intimidate and evict Laotian citizens from their land and homes for new golf course and land development projects supported by the Lao government.
A special task force of over 70 Lao Peoples Army ( LPA ) soldiers along with over 18 Vietnamese People Army ( VPA ) troops and advisers attacked a group of Lao Hmong civilians, including independent Christian and Animist believers, wounding some 24 women and children, and 7 men, in Laos.
The joint LPA and VPA task force used small arms, grenades and mortars to attack a Lao Hmong village of over 120 unarmed Lao Hmong civilians in the Phoua Bia Mountain area of Laos on January 18, 2010. The villagers included dozens of independent Lao and Hmong Animist and Christian believers who were seeking sanctuary from previous government persecution and security force attacks in the rugged mountains and jungles of Laos.
"Our people just want to live in peace and freedom apart from the corrupt military regime in Vientiane,' said Chu Yang, one of the jungle Hmong civilians who survived the LPA military attack in Laos.
"Some of our people are Christian believers or traditional Animists who have been persecuted and hunted by the Lao military because of their religious faith; they have had to flee to the jungle and live in hardship and danger in order to have religious freedom," said Mr. Yang.
"The Lao government and military especially have no mercy our Hmong Christians who they often abused, killed or disappear, some are exiled to labor and reeducation camps or jails in Sam Neua Province or elsewhere," Yang explained.
“We are concerned about this most recent attack by the Lao government and Lao and Vietnamese troops against these innocent and unarmed civilians, who were seeking to live in peace and freedom,” said Vaughn Vang of the Lao Hmong Human Rights Council of Green Bay, Wisconsin and St. Paul, Minnesota. “Many of the Lao Hmong people were seriously wounded by the Lao military and have no medical treatment or food.”
“They have had to scatter into the jungle in order to survive the Lao military attacks and many families have been separated from each other,” Vang concluded.
“It is troubling that the LPA and Vietnam’s VPA continue military and security force operations in key provinces in Laos against unarmed Lao and Hmong civilians and political and religious dissidents,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis ( CPPA ) in Washington, D.C. http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1063105.html
“Political and religious persecution, illegal logging by Vietnamese military-owned companies and systemic corruption in the Lao government have generated thousands of internally displaced Lao and Hmong refugees who are hiding in the jungles and mountains of Laos and who continue to suffer attacks by LPA and VPA forces,” Smith stated. "Hanoi has deployed increasing more troops and security forces in Laos in recent months and years."
In January, the Vietnam Peoples Army and Socialist Republic of Vietnam’s Defense Ministry have recently dedicated a new training center building in Laos in honor of the Viet-Lao Stalinist leader Kaysone Phomivanh.
Laos, under the Hanoi-backed communist Lao Peoples Democratic Republic ( LPDR ), also remains a staunch ally of North Korea and Burma.
Thailand forcibly repatriated to the LPDR regime in Laos over 8,000 Lao Hmong refugees from 2007-2009. A mass repatriation of over 4,700 Lao Hmong refugees occured on December 28th from camps at Ban Huay Nam Khao and Nong Khai, Thailand to the LPDR. http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?lang=e&id=ENGASA390022009
After over 2 years, the LPDR refuses to allow the United Nations into Laos to monitor and assist Lao Hmong refugees despite repeated international appeals.
Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders ( MSF ),the Lao Hmong Human Rights Council, the Foreign Prisoners Support Service, Freedom House, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom ( USCIRF ) and others have documented human rights and religious persecution of Laotian and Hmong citizens in Laos as well as refugees and asylum seekers.
The USCIRF has placed Laos on its watch list because of concerns about a lack of religious freedom and reports of religious persecution. Vietnamese military and security forces have stepped up their intervention in Laos in support of the Lao governments crackdown on religious freedom and political pluralism and dissent.
On May 1, 2009, following up on the USCIRF’s report, the Lao Movement of Human Rights ( LMHR ) in Paris, France issued a major statement that was jointly recognized and cited by a coalition of non-governmental organizations ( NGO ) and human rights groups, including Laotian and Hmong non-profit and civic organizations. http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1090417.html
Ms. Maria Gomez or Mr. Juan Lopez
CPPA - Center for Public Policy Analysis
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