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Thailand to Force 500 Hmong Refugees to Laos

Thailand to Force 500 Hmong Refugees to Laos

September 15, 2009, Bangkok, Thailand and Washington, D.C.
Center for Public Policy Analysis
info@centerforpublicpolicyanalysis.org
Contact: Maria Gomez or Philip Smith
Washington, D.C.

Thai military and security forces are actively preparing for the mass forced repatriation of some 500 Lao Hmong refugees in the coming days and weeks according to sources in Thailand and Laos. This despite repeated appeals by international human rights and humanitarian organizations and advocates, including prominent Members of the U.S. Congress and diplomats, who have appealed to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the King of Thailand, to stop the brutal forced repatriation and instead resettle the Lao Hmong refugees in third countries that have already agreed to sponsor and take them.

"Multiple sources from inside the Lao Hmong refugee camp at Ban Huay Nam Khao, Petchabun Province, Thailand, have reported that between September 15th and 25th, or sometime soon, thereafter, the Thai government and Thai military will likely force at least 500 Hmong Refugees in Huaj Nam Khao back to Laos," said Vaughn Vang, Director of the Lao Hmong Human Rights Council, Inc. "Reportedly, the Red District is the district in Ban Huay Nam Khao refugee camp, that the Thai authorities and military are now focusing on, or will be the first district to be forced by the Thai authorities back to Laos on, or about, September 15-25, 2009."

The Paris, France-based humanitarian organization Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), Doctors Without Borders, has issued repeated reports and statements detailing the forced repatriation of Lao Hmong refugees from the refugee camp in Petchabun Province, Thailand back to Laos. MSF departed the camp in protest in May of 2009 because of the forced repatriation of Lao Hmong refugees and issued a major report about the crisis in Thailand and Laos.
http://doctorswithoutborders.org/press/release.cfm?id=3627&cat=press-release

"Despite repeated U.S. Congressional and international appeals to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the King of Thailand, by U.S. Congressman Patrick Kennedy, Congressman Frank Wolf, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and many others, under the apparent direct orders of Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva as well as Army Commander-in-Chief Anupong Paojinda and Defense Minister Prawit Wonguwon, elements of the Thai Third Army and Ministry of Interior troops are aggressively threatening and secretly preparing to engage in the mass forced repatriation of hundreds of Laotian and Hmong refugees from Huay Nam Khao in the coming days and weeks back to the horrific communist regime in Laos that the these political refugees fled," said Philip Smith, Executive Director, of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) in Washington, D.C. "Royal Thai Ministry of Interior Minister Chaovarat Chanweerakul is also a part of this serious misguided and unfortunate policy disaster."

"His Majesty, the King of Thailand, has often voiced his extraordinary compassion for the suffering Lao Hmong highland peoples and opposition, on many occasions, to the repatriation of Lao Hmong refugees from Thailand back to the brutal and Stalinist communist regime in Laos where they have fled political and religious persecution and repeated attacks by the Lao military in recent years," Smith continued. "General Anupong, and Prime Minster Abhisit Vejjajiva's brutal moves to seek to force these Lao Hmong political refugees back to the communist regime in Laos is deplorable and has the stench of betrayal that is uncharacteristic of Thailand and His Majesty's important legacy. His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej's kind and merciful tradition of repeatedly intervening in seeking to allow Lao Hmong refugees political asylum and protection in Thailand, and resettlement in third countries that have agreed to take them, including France, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and others, is a tradition of compassion and honor that should be immediately applied once again, consistent with the international appeal, to the Lao Hmong refugees at Ban Huay Nam Khao and Nong Khai by Prime Minister Abhisit, General Anupong, Defense Minister General Prawit Wongsuwon and MOI Minister Chaovarat Chanweerakul. "

A Lao Hmong refugee camp leader in Ban Huay Nam Khao who wishes to remain anonymous stated: "We also appeal to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to stop his force repatriation policy of sending us, the Hmong refugees, back to Laos. We will be faced with persecution, torture and slow killing by our enemy, the Laos Communist government that we have fled from religious and political persecution. We will not go back to Laos. If the Thai Government does not allow the international community, the United Nations, or the United States to help us, the Hmong Refugees, Thai government should just kill us all here at Huaj Nam Khao, rather than going back to be tortured and slowly killed by our former enemies the Laos Communist Government, the continues to attack and kill our people in Laos."

Vaughn Vang of the Lao Hmong Human Rights Council of Green Bay, Wisconsin, concluded: "Lao Hmong refugees are also appealing to the United Nations, the United States and the world and international community, to stop the Thai government's forced repatriation policy, which is forcing the Hmong refugees back to the Communist Laos Government. They came to Thailand because Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia that is a democratic country that they can trust to save their lives. Over the years, the world community, including the United States and the United Nations, as well as many international journalists have been eye witnesses to the fact that the Lao Communist government has hunted, killed, tortured and persecuted the Hmong people as well as many Laotians, including the beloved King and Queen of Laos..."

Independent human rights organizations, advocates, scholars, diplomats, authors and journalists have documented the persecution of Lao Hmong political and religious dissidents and refugees in the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic (LPDR) in recent years and their forced repatriation from Thailand to Laos. http://www.tragicmountains.org

Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Foreign Prisoners Support Service, U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom, International Christian Concern, the New York Times, Time Magazine, the BBC, Al Jazeera, Ambassador H. Eugene Douglas (US-Ret.), Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt, Edmund McWilliams (US Department of State, Ret.), B. Jenkins Middleton, Joe Davy, Kay Danes and others have spoke out about the crisis facing Lao and Hmong refugees in Thailand and Laos.
http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?lang=e&id=ENGASA390022009

ENDS

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