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Laos: Military Attacks Lao Hmong Civilians

Laos: Hundreds Trapped As Military Attacks Lao Hmong Civilians

Nong Khai, Thailand and Washington, D.C., August 1, 2009, For Immediate Release

In Laos, the Lao Peoples Army (LPA) has launched a series of attacks against Laotian and Hmong civilians in hiding in the Phou Da Phao area of Laos.

"On July 26-27, the green jungle foliage in the Phou Da Phao mountain area where many Lao Hmong women, children and other civilians were hiding was ripped apart by bursts of machine gun fire, exploding mortar shells and handgrenades of the attacking Lao Peoples Army; four Lao Hmong women were very seriously wounded and we have an unconfirmed report that one of the Hmong ladies may since died from her wounds since there is no medical assistance," said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) in Washington, D.C.

Smith continued: "Significant numbers of LPA troops of the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic (LPA) were engaged in the military operation and attacks against hundreds of Laotian and Hmong civilians on July 26-27, with the reported assistance of Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) military advisors; the operation, which is ongoing, has resulted in an estimated two hundred and sixty-five (265) Laotian and Hmong civilians being surrounded and cut off from food sources, where they are now being starved to death by the Lao military that continues to attack them."

Smith concluded: "Tragically, the recent Lao military attacks have provided for the LPA's encirclement of over 265 Laotian and Hmong civilians who are now trapped and being starved to death and hunted by special LPA "hunter-killer" teams with the help of the military advisors from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam ( SRV )."

"These Lao Hmong civilians at Phoua Da Phao are innocent civilians, mostly women and children, and the Lao Peoples Army has again, on July 26th and July 27thcommitted serious violations of international law by its merciless military attacks against unarmed civilians in Laos," said Vaughn Vang, of the Lao Hmong Human Rights Council in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

"Now, hundreds of Lao Hmong civilians, who are now surrounded by the Lao Peoples Army in Laos, including many women and children face a death by starvation at Phou Da Phao, or being hunter and killed by LPDR military forces; additionally, we are concerned that these four Lao Hmong women, and other people, may die of their wounds in the short term, because the Lao government has cut the people off from medical care, food and in some cases water," Vang continued.

Vaughn Vang stated further: "The Lao government in its communist propaganda claims it want the Lao and Hmong people in Laos and abroad to help build and develop Laos, but in reality it continues to oppress and attack innocent Laotian and Hmong people, like those at Phou Da Phao, who wish to live independent of the LPDR regime's corruption, oppression and serious violations of political and religious freedom."

Freedom House has issued a report listing Laos as one of the most repressive, authoritarian regimes in the world. Laos under the LPDR regime continues to oppress the political, religious and human rights of its own citizens according to the Freedom House study entitled: "Worst of the Worst 2009." http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1095599.html

"The Lao military's attack, and horrible starvation campaign, against many unarmed Lao Hmong civilians at Phou Da Phao and elsewhere in Laos must stop," concluded Vang. "These innocent Laotian and Hmong people are being killed by the LPA and LPDR regime in Laos while the world largely ignores their terrible suffering and deaths; this is not right, and is a sad injustice and serious violation of international law by the LPDR regime against its own people."

The LPA and North Korea military maintain a close working relationship. Laos is a staunch ally of Burma, North Korea and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Laos, like North Korea also starves to death its own citizens and uses food as a weapon against its own people, according to T. Kumar of Amnesty International.

Laos troops and security forces of the LPA are continuing to commit atrocities and war crimes in Laos against Lao and Hmong civilians. These include the LPA's rape and starvation of civilians, including children, and non-combats. http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1094929.html

ENDS

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