Vietnam, Laos Crackdown: SEA Games Avoided By Overseas Lao, Hmong in Protest

Laotians from the United States, Canada, France, Australia, Thailand and other countries have joined the protest boycott refusing to attend the SEA Game events that are being held in the coming days in Vientiane, Laos.

Online PR News – 07-December-2009 –Washington, D.C. and Nong Khai, Thailand, December 7, 2009

More overseas Laotians from North America, Europe and Southeast Asia have joined the boycott of the Southeast Asia Games (SEAG or SEA Games) in Vientiane, Laos this week.

Human Rights Watch, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), Amnesty International, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Lao Hmong Human Rights Council, the Center for Public Policy Analysis and others have raised recent concerns about the forced repatriation crisis facing Laotian and Hmong refugees who have fled persecution in Laos to Thailand.

“We have been organizing and calling for a boycott by Laotian-Americans of the SEA Games because of the LPDR regime’s serious violation of the human rights of the Lao and Hmong people,” said Bouthanh Rathigna, President of the United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc. (ULDL). http://www.onlineprnews.com/news/11593-1258153263-laos-crackdown-on-38-more-dissidents-as-obama-sea-games-near.html

“Clearly, the Laos LPDR government does not respect the spirit of the Southeast Asia Games because it is a corrupt dictatorship that persecutes and kills its own people who it continues to arrest and imprison for seeking peaceful change and reform in Laos, including Laotian student protesters and religious and political dissidents,” said Mr. Thongchanh Boulum, Secretary General of the ULDL. http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1105478.html

The American and international boycott by Laotians of the SEA Games has widened as thousands of Laotian and Hmong-Americans ostracize and call for the boycott of the communist regime in Laos because of human rights violations, forced repatriation of Lao Hmong refugees and a recent military crackdown in Vientiane. Over 5,100 Lao Hmong political refugees are now facing forced repatriation from Ban Huay Nam Khao, Petchabun Province, and Nong Khai, Thailand back to the military regime in Laos where they fled political and religious persecution.http://www.onlineprnews.com/news/12762-1259190416-abhisit-anupongs-thanksgiving-day-final-solution-to-the-laos-hmong-problem-thailand-moves-more-troops-against-unarmed-hmong-refugees.html
http://www.pr-inside.com/laos-hmong-refugees-appeal-for-burial-r1596079.htm

The United League for Democracy in Laos (ULDL), Laos National Federation, Laotian Community of Minnesota, Laos Institute for Democracy, Lao Hmong Community of Minnesota, Lao students Democracy Movement, Lao Veterans of America, Inc. (LVA), Lao Hmong Human Rights Council, Hmong Advance, Inc. (HA), Hmong Advancement, Inc. (HAI), Lao and Hmong students organizations and other Laotian-Americans have organized and called for a boycott of the SEA Games. http://www.pr-inside.com/laos-thailand-sea-games-crisis-lao-r1617599.htm

On November 26 the European Parliament adopted a major resolution condemning egregious and systemic human rights violations in Laos by the one-party, authoritarian LPDR regime. The resolution also appeals to Thailand to free Lao Hmong refugees facing forced repatriation back to the communist regime in Laos. Vietnam is also cited for human rights violations by the European Parliament. http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1106783.html
http://www.onlineprnews.com/news/12936-1259340801-ep-thailand-urged-to-free-hmong-refugees-laos-urged-to-free-students.html

Laotians from the United States, Canada, France, Australia, Thailand and other countries have joined the protest boycott refusing to attend the SEA Game events that are being held in the coming days in Vientiane, Laos. Tens of thousands of Laotian and Hmong-Americans and overseas Laotians are expected to boycott the SEA Games according to Laotian and Hmong-American leaders as well as national non-profit and community-based organizations and leaders who were involved with organizing the boycott.

At Laos National Policy Conference events being held in Washington, D.C., from December 4-7, a coalition of Lao and Hmong-American organizations are discussing key policy issues as well as their boycott of the Southeast Asia Games (SEA Games or SEAG) in Vientiane, Laos. The conference and events are co-hosted by the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) in cooperation with Members of the U.S. Congress and non-governmental (NGOs) and non-profit organizations.

The events in Washington, D.C. were also held in response to the current human rights and refugee crisis in Laos and Thailand facing Laotian and Hmong political refugees and asylum seekers. Some 5,100 Lao Hmong political refugees are now facing forced repatriation from Ban Huay Nam Khao, Petchabun Province, and Nong Khai, Thailand back to the communist regime in Laos they fled. In Laos the LPA forces, with support from VPA main-force and special units, continue to attack Laotian and Hmong groups in hiding.http://www.onlineprnews.com/news/12263-1258758068-abhisit-anupong-order-thailand-soldiers-to-block-religious-ceremonies-burial-of-laos-hmong-refugees.html
http://www.pr-inside.com/sea-games-crisis-in-laos-mldh-r1578605.htm

“We are urging every Lao and Hmong-American from the United States as well as overseas Laotians to boycott the SEA Games,” said Boon Boualaphanh a leader of the Laotian Community of Minnesota (LCMN) who served as one of keynote speakers at the events in Washington, D.C.. “Do not go and do not support these SEA Games because of the horrible corruption of the one-party military regime in Laos and the LPDR communist government’s terrible persecution of the Laotian people, including the Lao students, minority Lao and Hmong Christians who it is killing and imprisoning.”
http://www.pr-inside.com/concerns-haunt-sea-games-in-laos-r1570881.htm

Boon Boualaphanh continued: “We also want the Lao government to immediately release Hakit Yang and his two Hmong-Americans from St. Paul, Minnesota, the LPDR regime has imprisoned as well as all of the Lao student leaders from the October 1999 peaceful student protests.” http://www.onlineprnews.com/news/12476-1258997851-st-paul-americans-imprisoned-in-laos-hmong-urged-to-be-released-before-sea-games.html

“Now, we want the release of the Hmong and Lao hiding in the jungle so that they can be given freedom and live a peaceful and free life,” said Yang Toua Xiong of the St. Paul, Minnesota-based Lao Hmong Community of Minnesota (LHCMN).

Mr. Xiong continued: “I want the Lao government to listen to the population, to the Lao and Hmong people, and treat them like human beings; When the population is on strike and is demonstrating, do not kill them. Go talk to them and ask them what they want. The Lao government should not persecute and kill its own people who are seeking positive change or reforms, or who oppose government corruption. The Lao government should let the Lao and Hmong people have their own freedom of religion and should not persecute them, or violate their religious freedom, as they are doing now to many independent Lao Hmong Christians and Animist believers.”

“Last month, Laos’ LPA forces launched deadly attacks on unarmed Lao Hmong civilians as well as political and religious dissidents groups in hiding in the jungles and mountains of Laos in Vientiane Province, Xieng Khouang Province, Luang Prabang Province, Khammoune Province, Saravane Province and elsewhere in Laos,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) in Washington, D.C.

Smith continued: “Twenty-three ethnic Hmong Christian believers were singled out for attack and killed on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, in one horrific incident where they were tracked and hunted by Hmong LPA officers who the Lao government is now using to hunt and kill their own Lao Hmong people. In this case, the 23 Hmong were killed because of their dissident Christian religious beliefs and desire to live independently of the Lao regime’s persecution, monitoring and strict control of their churches and communities.”

Transparency International has recently listed public sector corruption in Laos among the worst in the world. The LPDR regime has become increasingly more unpopular because of this and in continued monopoly on political power in Laos.
http://www.onlineprnews.com/news/11963-1258560873-corruption-high-in-laos-as-sea-games-approach-in-vientiane.html

Smith concluded: "In Laos, the Lao army and LPDR regime, with the help of additional VPA troops from Vietnam, are also pursuing a military solution to what is essentially a very serious and deteriorating social, civil and human rights problem, namely the continued Stalinist tyranny of an elite and corrupt, one-party military dictatorship that continues to generate an outflux of refugees." http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1105230.html

Mr. Bounthanh Rathigna of the ULDL further stated: “One of the biggest problem in Laos now, as the SEA Games begin in Vientiane, is the secret paramilitary troops and security forces from Hanoi occupying and taking over many areas in Laos as well as controlling the Laos LPDR government and Lao military which are puppets of Hanoi and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam."

Mr. Rathigna concluded: “We are very concerned about the Lao protestors arrested last month and jailed in Vientiane, the Lao student pro-democracy demonstrators still suffering in jail for over 10 years, and the Hmong refugee and camp leaders forcibly repatriated to Laos from Ban Huay Nam Khao, Thailand to Laos where many have disappeared or have been executed by the Lao military and security forces. We also want the Vietnamese troops and secret police from Hanoi to get out of Laos now, and to end their oppression of the Lao people and neo-colonial violation of Laos’ territory. The Lao Peoples Army is being supported by new VPA troops, military advisers and secret police from Hanoi who are engaged in serious human rights violations and religious persecution of our people as well as promoting the corruption and exploitation of Laos’ public sector by LPDR officials.”

Lao and Hmong-American delegations and organizations from Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Virginia, Texas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, Michigan and other states are participating in the 4 day Laos National Policy Conference events in Washington, D.C today.

Last month, during a military crackdown in Laos by the Lao Peoples Army (LPA), with support from Vietnam Peoples Army (VPA) and secret police units from Hanoi, hundreds of Laotians were arrested in the capital of Vientiane. Over one thousand Laotian anti-government protest marchers as well as political and religious dissidents, along with ordinary Laotians seeking government reform and change, were arrested or jailed throughout Laos.
http://media-newswire.com/release_1106723.html
http://www.onlineprnews.com/news/10907-1257617640-mortars-slam-jungle-enclaves-in-laos-killing-wounding-6-hmong.html
http://www.onlineprnews.com/news/10907-1257617640-mortars-slam-jungle-enclaves-in-laos-killing-wounding-6-hmong.html

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