Friday, January 29, 2010
Washington, DC (News Release) – U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) recently sent a letter to the Government of Laos expressing concern for the safety of the Lao Hmong asylum seekers who were repatriated by the Royal Thai Government.
"Many district residents have family and friends who are affected by this action," said Rep Kind. "It is imperative that we remain actively engaged in the issue to protect these refugees and ensure that the Government of Laos allows international monitoring for safety and resettlement."
Nearly 4,700 Lao Hmong were repatriated by the Royal Thai Government to Laos earlier this month. The safety and wellbeing of these refugees is of great concern, considering the Hmong people's previous involvement in Laos during the Vietnam War on behalf of the United States. The letter asks the Government of Laos to treat all of the returnees humanely, guarantee access to the international community for independent monitoring, and allow those who are eligible for resettlement to be resettled without delay. The letter also asks the Government of Laos to uphold the promises made in July 2009 to not arrest the returnees as well as not punish them for wrong doings in the past, but instead, provide them protection, security and freedom.
"The safety of the recently repatriated Lao Hmong is very concerning. In the future, I'd like the opportunity to visit Laos to check out the resettlement camps, hear safety concerns of those who have been recently moved, and speak to government leaders to ensure the repatriated people are closely monitored and are treated fairly."