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Joint Communiqué on Laos:

Joint Communiqué on Laos:

Washington, D.C.

Drafted & Adopted: February 7-8, 2005 (Washington, D.C.) ; February 8, 2005 (Laos) _______

Drafted and Resolved By the Laos National Federation, the Center for Public Policy Analysis, the Lao Veterans of America, Inc., the United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc., the Lao Association of Washington, D.C., Lao Huam Phao Association, Free Laos Campaign, Inc., Hmong International Human Rights Watch, the Laos Institute for Democracy, Samthong Village, Inc. and a coalition of Laotian and Hmong dissident and opposition organizations and leaders in cooperation with fraternal opposition groups and leaders inside Laos and the Laotian people. ______

In the name of compassion and Lao national identity and dignity, Laotians must speak for those who are voiceless and protect the Lao people from the oppressive, corrupt and foreign-backed military regime that is systematically starving, raping, brutalizing, killing and exploiting tens of thousands of its own citizens and political and religious minority groups.

The ancient, sacred nation of Laos has a long and proud history, and a rich culture, that predates the tragic emergence of the current Marxist revolutionary regime, the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic (LPDR).

An emergency crisis exists in Laos because the LPDR regime is based upon a failed ideological and political system and has bankrupt the nation morally, economically, culturally and politically. Thus, tens of thousands of Laotians are fleeing Laos to Thailand and other nations for a new and better life.

The massive foreign intervention of Vietnamese combat and security forces was, and is currently, in clear violation of key and historic international agreements (Geneva, Paris and Vientiane Accords and International Multilateral Agreements on Indochina) signed by Hanoi and members of the international community seeking to bring peace to Laos and Vietnam.

The LPDR Marxist regime is a recent, foreign and unnatural phenomena, a historical and cultural anomaly for the Lao people, imposed militarily and illegally by force upon the people of Laos by the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and armed forces of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) in cooperation with the former Soviet Union, Cuba, North Korea and internationalist communist revolutionary and solidarity movements.

The national sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, dignity, culture and basic human liberties of Laos and the Laotian people continues to be egregiously violated by the military and security forces of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV). SRV polit-bureau officials continue to dictate all aspects of the LPDR regime’s policies and have created a de facto and de jure vassal state and puppet regime in Vientiane, Laos, that is unable to act in opposition to the dictates of military and party officials in Hanoi.

Lao remains a one-party state that refuses to allow international human rights organizations into the country. The human rights and religious freedom crisis in the LPDR, including the persecution of ethnic and religious minorities, is an extension of the SRV’s official policy in Vietnam.

The SRV regime has reduced Laos to a de facto and de jure colonial possession and vassal state via the illicit and illegal conclusion and renewal of the Viet-Lao “Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation” which is the pretext for the ongoing SRV and Vietnamese military deployment and occupation in Laos.

State owned and military owned Vietnamese companies continue to exploit Laos’s economy and loot its natural resources and treasury in an environment of systemic corruption and lack of transparency.

Increased levels of official corruption exist in the LPDR regime and among LPDR and SRV officials and the military elite which have directly enriched senior party officials at the expense of the Laotian people.

SRV Vietnamese military generals, officials and “advisors” clandestinely, both directly and indirectly, control all government ministries in Laos through various state organs, committees, agents and agents of influence.

The illegally concluded 25 year “Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation” signed illicitly by the Hanoi-backed and installed Pathet Lao regime and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (which has been automatically renewed), including its apparently secret protocols, has helped to economically impoverish the Lao people and is utilized in violation of Laos’ national sovereignty and traditional neutrality as a pretext for the vast and greedy exploitation of Laotian natural resources including illicit Vietnamese logging, mining, opium production as well as the abuse of the labor force and the use of Laotian women as sex workers on a large and growing scale.

For 30 years the SRV-backed LPDR regime in Laos, and the “Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation” have failed to create a free, open and prosperous society and economy in Laos. Peace, prosperity and social and economic justice cannot prevail in Laos under the tyranny of the SRV backed LPDR and Cooperation” between the LPDR and SRV regimes. regime and the brutal military, political and economic terms dictated by the “Treaty of Friendship

As a result of the Lao regime’s horrific human rights abuses, Amnesty International, the U.N. Commission on Racial Discrimination in Geneva, independent human rights groups and news media sources have issued reports and statements regarding the LPDR regime’s horrific violations of the basic human rights of the Laotian people as well as minority groups such as the Hmong who have been subjected to brutal attacks by the LPDR and SRV military.

An emergency crisis exits in Laos, according to Amnesty International and other independent human rights organizations, regarding the mass starvation and war crimes directed against the Hmong and Laotian people by LPDR military and security forces. International peacekeepers, human rights monitors and humanitarian assistance should immediately be deployed in Laos by the United Nations and the international community to help resolve the crisis.

Significant numbers of senior level SRV military officials and party officials have died in military plane crashes on Laos’ soil over the past decade.

The non-violent Lao Student Movement for Democracy as well as the Ban Vang Tao asylum seekers and patriots who allegedly took up arms against the brutal LPDR regime remain jailed in Laos along with many other Laotian political and religious dissidents. They burn as eternal flames, never forgotten. The Laotian people will continue to struggle for freedom in memory of their heroic sacrifices and selfless devotion to restoring Laos national independence, fundamental liberties, human rights and dignity. The Lao Students Movement members and the Ban Vang Tao asylum seekers should released by the LPDR regime. They remain eternal national heroes and patriotic symbols.

As a result of the LPDR regime’s oppression and killing of its own people and its egregious human rights violations, the U.S. Congress has acted in bipartisan fashion to pass important legislation including S. 240, S. 309, S. 318 and H. Res. 169 as well as H.Res. 402.

H. Res. 402 is a historic and critically symbolic piece of legislation that the U.S. House has passed. It makes a series of major policy statements and details the aspirations of millions of Laotians in the Diaspora community and inside Laos. The U.S. Congress and the international community should move to seek to press the LPDR regime and SRV to move to implement specific elements of the legislation, in particular the provisions relating to the holding of free and fair multiparty elections, the need for religious freedom and the urgent emergency need for humanitarian assistance to Laos.

We urge the World Bank to reject the proposal to guarantee financing for the Nam Theun II project given the high level of corruption of the LPDR regime, its recent campaign against minority groups in Laos and its desire to maintain a monopoly on political power through military means and the procurement of additional advanced weapons systems to kill and oppress its own people.

We urge the U.S. Congress to seek to re-introduce legislation to revoke Normalized Trade Relations (NTR) status for Laos to help further continued attention to the plight Laos and the current political, economic and human rights crisis as well as to help hold the LPDR regime and SRV accountable for their actions.

Given the high level of corruption within the military and party elite in the LPDR and SRV, we urge the U.S. Congress to hold down, and seriously limit, U.S. foreign financial assistance to Laos and keep foreign aid to the LPDR to a minimum as Congress has in recent years.

The LPDR regime’s continued close relations with North Korea constitutes a serious challenge to the international community and is counterproductive to the international community’s efforts to prevent North Korea from building and deploying nuclear weapons, engaging in illicit narcotics trafficking and supporting international terrorist organizations and activities.

As embodied by H.Res. 402 and other legislation passed by the U.S. Congress regarding Laos, as well as historic statements by the United Nations’ Commission on Racial Discrimination and the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom on behalf of the suffering Laotian people, we urge the international community, and especially the United States, to seek to act upon the principles and concerns raised in this communiqué and use its leadership to seriously address and resolve the above cited concerns.

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