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Hmong Civilians Suffer Attacks, Atrocities in Laos

Hmong Civilians Suffer Attacks, Atrocities in Laos

January 15, 2009, Washington, D.C. and Bangkok, Thailand, For Immediate Release

Laos and Hmong human rights groups, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as well as Lao government sources and refugees are reporting that Lao Peoples Army (LPA) units are launching renewed offensive operations against Hmong civilians in Xieng Khouang Province, Laos.

Dozens of Hmong and Laotian civilians have been killed and wounded in recent days as the Lao government deploys more army troops, including several notorious Lao-Hmong army officers accused of atrocities and war crimes, against the Hmong civilian population in Laos.

The Hmong Lao Human Rights Council, the United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc., the Center for Public Policy Analysis and a coalition of organizations have raised renewed concerns in Washington, D.C. and Southeast Asia about intensified military attacks and atrocities directed against civilians and unarmed dissident groups in closed military zones in Laos.

"Lao military attacks against Laotian and Hmong civilians in Xieng Khouang Province have reportedly intensified in recent days, especially at Phou Bia Mountain and Phou Da Phao," stated Vaughn Vang, Director of the Hmong Lao Human Rights Council. "Human rights violations, especially against the Hmong people, are now very serious in Laos."

Vaughn Vang stated further: "Special LPA military units of the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic (LPDR) are in the process of launching multi-pronged assaults against Hmong civilian and religious and political dissident groups in hiding in Phou Bia and Phoua Da Pao, in Xieng Khouang Province, Laos."

"Special Lao military units, in some cases led by ethnic Hmong commanders of the LPA, are now ruthlessly hunting down Hmong civilian groups in hiding using brutal and relentless artillery attacks; the Lao military is now moving forward with a new and intensified offensive at Phou Bia and Phou Da Phao surrounding Hmong civilian groups in hiding and forcing them out of the jungle and mountains where many have been killed or are dying without food or water," Vaughn Vang said.

"Hmong groups in-hiding are appealing to the world community, United Nations, United States, European Union, Amnesty International and other international human rights organizations, to immediately press the LPDR regime in Laos, and the Lao military, to cease its attacks on the Laotian and Hmong people and to withdraw all its military forces out of the jungles of Laos where these terrible human rights violations are now occurring against many innocent Hmong and Lao civilians," Vaughn Vang concluded.

Lao military attacks against Laotian and Hmong civilians in Xieng Khouang Province have intensified in recent days especially at Phou Bia Mountain and Phou Da Phao.

"The Lao Army should immediately cease its attacks on unarmed Laotian and Hmong civilians in Laos who are seeking to live in peace and who oppose the corrupt, one-party LPDR regime in Vientiane, Laos which continues to unjustly persecute and imprison Lao student leaders and other peaceful dissidents who only seek to bring human rights, democracy and an open society to Laos," stated Bounthanh Rathigna, President of the United Leage for Democracy in Laos, Inc. "The Lao Army is engaged in illegal logging in Laos, with the help of the Vietnamese military and corrupt generals in Hanoi, who are stealing our nation's natural resources... these corrupt LPDR officials are raping the forests and cutting down trees that destroys the natural environment of Laos, including where the Hmong people live."

"According to reliable sources from within the LPDR regime and inside Laos, the LPA is reportedly using notorious ethnic Hmong commanders, with previous war crimes backgrounds, to seek to hunt and kill Hmong civilians and dissidents opposed to the LPDR's oppressive one party communist regime," stated Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis in Washington, D.C. "Many of these LPA criminal commanders who are being paid with bonuses by the Lao military and LPDR regime to attack and kill their own Hmong people in Laos, including unarmed women and children, are clearly engaged in atrocities, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity; Amnesty International and other international human rights organizations have rightly deemed this pattern of atrocities against the Hmong people by the LPDR regime and LPA military units as war crimes."

According to Smith: "Reliable sources inside Laos report that Commander Soua Yang Xiong, an ethnic Hmong communist commander for the LPA is now leading a battalion of troops to attack and destroy Hmong civilians and dissident groups in-hiding in Phou Bia mountain to complete what the LPDR regime apparently hopes will be a final solution to ethnically cleanse Laos of Hmong in this area who oppose the LPDR regime."

According to Smith: "Another LPDR communist Hmong commander in the LPA reportedly engaged in ethnic cleansing operations at the Phou Bia mountain area against his own Hmong people is Commander Neng Yang; LPA Commander Ai Chai is also reportedly leading an additional battalion from Nam Thein to conduct final deadly operations against Hmong civilians at Phou Bia Mountain."

"There are also reportedly at least four different military groups of the LPA surrounding and attacking Hmong groups in hiding in Phoua Da Pao, Xieng Khouang Province, Laos.," said Smith.

"Currently, the LPDR regime, and LPA military forces are reportedly forcing captured Hmong civilian and village leaders, incluidng Yong Seng, Lee Xue Seng, Youa Pao, Your Lor, and Lee Song Pao to guide LPA military units into the jungle of Laos to hunt and kill Hmong civilian groups in-hiding," concluded Smith.

LPA military commanders reportedly engaged in current military operations, atrocities and war crimes against Hmong civilians in Laos on behalf of the LPDR regime include: Commander Tong Ntxawg Xiong, Commander Soua Yang Xiong (Nam Houb), Commander Neng Yang ( Xieng Khouang), Commander Ai Chai (Nam Them).

ENDS

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