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Laos, Vietnam Troops Execute 4 Hmong Christians

Laos, Vietnam Troops Execute 4 Hmong Christians

Center for Public Policy Analysis

April 15, 2011, Washington, D.C. and Vientiane, Laos

Christian persecution and religious freedom violations have continued to expand and spread to key provinces in Laos, according to the Center for Public Policy Analysis and other rights organizations tracking the issue. Yesterday, four Lao Hmong Christian women were executed for their Christian faith in Xieng Khouang Province, after their Bible was confiscated, by government soldiers and police from Laos and Vietnam.

Vietnam People's Army troops and secret police from Hanoi have been deployed in increasing numbers in key provinces in Laos to boost the Lao People's Army, and communist party efforts, to hunt, persecute and eliminate independent Christian, Animist and Buddhist congregations and religious believers who seek to worship outside of strict state monitoring and control. Laotian and Hmong minority Christian and Animist believers continue to be hunted , brutally tortured, and killed by the Lao military in significant numbers in key provinces in Laos.

“There has been a tragic and major upswing in religious persecution in Laos by Lao and Vietnamese military and communist party officials in the latter part of last year, 2010 as well as within recent months, this year,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) in Washington, D.C.

Smith continued: “An unarmed group of four Lao Hmong Christian women were summarily executed yesterday, on April 14, 2011, in Xieng Khouang Province, Laos, by government troops for their Christian faith.”

A special unit totally some 150 Lao Peoples Army soldiers, led by Vietnam secret police and military advisors from Hanoi and Vinh, confiscated the group's only Bible and brutally and repeatedly raped at least two of the younger Lao-Hmong women prior to shooting them at point blank range in the head and torso with automatic weapons; their husbands and 26 children, who were forced to witness the atrocity, were beaten, tied up, later blindfolded, and have now disappeared.”

“The upswing in religious persecution in Laos is in part the result of the increased intervention by Vietnam military-civilian authorities in Laos, and Lao Peoples Army (LPA) communist leaders, who are aggressively cracking down on independent Christian, Buddhist and Animist believers with secret police, army and militia units,” Smith said.

“Clearly, there has been a very dramatic increase in the persecution, imprisonment, torture and killing of Lao and Hmong Christians and independent Buddhist and Animist believers in the provinces of Vientiane, Khammoune, Saravan, Xieng Khouang, Luang Prabang and elsewhere in Laos in 2010 and 2011 by the secret police and Lao Peoples Army backed by supporting armed forces and special task units from Hanoi,” Smith observed.

“In a coordinated and expanded fashion, the Vietnam Peoples Army and LPA troops, and security forces, are especially determined to hunt down and kill independent Christian and Animist believers in the highlands of Vietnam and Laos,” Smith stated.

Last Christmas (2010), and in recent years, Lao Christians have often been repeatedly persecuted, jailed or killed for celebrating Christmas or worshiping independently, as documented by the CPPA and other rights and humanitarian organizations.

“We are deeply concerned about the increased persecution, starvation and killing of Laotian and Hmong Christians, and independent Buddhist and Animist believers, by Lao and Vietnam People's Army troops in the provinces of Xieng Khouang, Khammoune, Saravan, Luang Prabang and Vientiane Provinces,” said Boon Boualaphanh , of United Lao for Human Rights and Democracy (ULHRD).

“We want the Socialist Republic of Vietnam ( SRV ), and the Vietnam Peoples Army, to remove all of its security forces and troops from Laos, and we want the Lao military and communist regime to respect the human rights and religious freedom of the Laotian and Lao Hmong people,” said Bounthanh Rathigna of the United League for Democracy in Laos (ULDL).

In February of this year, in Saravan Province, Lao officials reportedly destroyed crops to prevent food from reaching a some 60 impoverished Laotian Christians in rural Saravan province. One man from the group has already died during this time, according to the United Kingdom-based advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) and other reliable sources.

Food and water was also cut off the the Laotians in an effort to have them renounce their Christian faith which follows the pattern of the LPA's efforts to starve and kill other Laotian and Hmong Christian groups hiding in the jungles and mountains of Laos.

"The wells are drying up as they are going into the dry season, and their food supplies are exhausted after villagers thwarted their attempts to plant new crops," stated Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF), a non-governmental organization monitoring the plight of Laotian Christians. “The authorities have successfully gotten them into a situation where they feel defeated.”

Laotian Christians were marched by gunpoint in February of this year from villages in Saravan Province according to reliable and redundant reports, and sources, from both inside and outside Laos. Many terrified Laotian villagers faced starvation in the jungles of Laos on Sunday, February 27, 2011, after they were driven from their village at gunpoint by Lao officials for refusing to give up their Christian faith according to reliable reports from International Christian Concern (ICC) and other sources with contacts inside Saravan Province, Laos. 2011/ 02/ 28/ news-alert-laos-christians-facing-starvation-officials-cutting-off-fo od-water/

Compass Direct News, Cross Walk, and others have reported on similar incidents of egregious religious persecution in Laos in recent months and years.

Last year, in February of 2010, the Christian Post documented similar reports regarding the pattern of religious persecution, and religious freedom violations, in communist Laos.


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