Laos Crisis: SEA Games Preceded By Human Rights Concerns, Violations

The Lao Peoples Army (LPA) is launching renewed military attacks on Lao and Hmong civilians and political and religious dissident groups in-hiding in the Phou Bia and Phou Da Phao areas of, Xieng Khouang Province, Laos, prior to the start of the upcoming Southeast Asia games (SEA Games) in Vientiane, Laos.

Online PR News – 02-November-2009 – – Vientiane, Laos, Washington, D.C., Green Bay, Wisconsin, November 1, 2009

The Lao Peoples Army (LPA) is launching renewed military attacks on Lao and Hmong civilians and political and religious dissident groups in-hiding in the Phou Bia and Phou Da Phao areas of, Xieng Khouang Province, Laos, prior to the start of the upcoming Southeast Asia games (SEA Games) in Vientiane, Laos.

The Lao military is seen as unreliable in following increasing brutal and unreasonable orders from the LPDR regime to attack, starve to death and kill fellow Laotian civilians and community members. Some Lao and Hmong army and air force commanders are revolting, others are continuing to relentlessly attack their own people, including LPA communist commander Vang Yang, who has helped to attack and wound hundreds of his fellow Lao-Hmong people who are unarmed civilians in recent attacks in Xieng Khouang Province.

“Laotian and Hmong groups in-hiding are continuing to report that the Lao Army is launching military attacks, ambushing and surround these groups in-hiding using heavy artillery, infantry, and small unit attacks. More than 112 Hmong women and children in-hiding in Phou Bia mountain area alone are known casualties of the recent attacks that have occurred over the last three weeks,” said Vaughn Vang, Executive Director of the Lao Hmong Human Rights Council (LHHRC).

The one-party Lao Peoples Democratic Republic (LPDR) is rule by a Stalinist military junta that includes many senior LPA officers. The LPA, along with Peoples Army of Vietnam (PAV) is also deploying special units of hunter-killer teams lead in some cases by ethnic Hmong commanders who are used to track and kill their own people.

Vaughn Vang continued: “According to direct sources, Vang Yang, a communist army officer, is the Deputy Lieutenant Commander of one of the small communist LPA special hunter-killer units leading 20 ethnic lowland Lao soldiers that are ambushing and attacking Hmong civilians in-hiding in the Phou Bia mountain area. Vang Yang’s group is committing atrocities and war crimes against his own Hmong people on behalf of the LPDR regime in Laos. Mr. Vang Yang’s LPA unit is using artillery and other heavy weapons. His unit, along with others, are attacking these Lao Hmong civilians and people in-hiding daily, including many religious believers of the Animist and Christian faith, as well as ordinary people, who do not trust the government and wish to live independently of oppression by the Lao regime. ”

From the Lao Hmong Human Rights Council offices in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Vaughn Vang further said: “Another hunter-killer unit of the LPA has been ambushing and attacking Hmong groups in-hiding in Phoua Da Phao area daily. Lao Government troops are using ethnic cleansing and mass starvation strategies against Lao and Hmong civilian and dissident groups in-hiding and have destroyed much of the food storage and many of the mountain villages. Currently, there are few places to hide and little or no food available for these Lao Hmong groups in-hiding; and the LPDR regime in Laos and LPA are seeking to continue to starve to death many thousands of Lao and Hmong civilians and religious and political dissidents.”

“As the SEA games approach, Lao Hmong groups in-hiding are urgently appealing to the United Nations, European Union, ASEAN, the United States and international human rights organizations, to press the Laos government to immediately withdraw all LPA troops from all areas that Lao and Hmong in-hiding are located and immediately stop its military attack on Laotian and Hmong in-hiding, especially unarmed civilians. They are only women and children; they do not want to be persecuted, tortured and killed by the LPDR regime.”
The one-party Lao Peoples Democratic Republic (LPDR) is rule by a Stalinist military junta that includes many senior LPA officers. The SEA games, international sporting events, are slated to begin in December in Laos.

“Laos, with the apparent help of military units of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, appears to be seeking to wipe out and exterminate Lao and Hmong religious and political dissident groups, as well as civilians living outside the LPDR regime’s oppressive control, prior to the start of the SEA games in December,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis ( CPPA ) in Washington, D.C.

“LPA hunter-killer units continue to use food as a weapon of war against unarmed Lao and Hmong civilian and dissident groups to seek to starve them to death,” Smith continued. “The LPA is also deploying ethnic Hmong and Laotian commanders to seek to hunt and kill their own people and to engage in atrocities, including rape, torture and summary exectutions, in clear violation of international law," Smith said.

“Some Lao and Hmong army and air force commanders are revolting against the LPDR regime and Hanoi’s increasingly brutal and oppressive role in Laos, others are continuing to relentlessly attack their own people, including LPA communist commander Vang Yang, who has helped to murder and wound hundreds of his fellow Lao-Hmong people, including hundreds of women and children. Lieutenant Commander Vang Yang has killed and wounded many innocent and unarmed Laotian and Hmong civilians in recent attacks in Xieng Khouang Province as a grotesque and relentless servant of the LPA and Stalinist LPDR regime in butchering and slaughtering their own people,” Smith continued.

“As the political, economic and corruption has worsened in Laos under the LPDR regime, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) has deployed significantly more numbers of combat troops, secret police and security forces to Laos to seek to impose its political, military and economic hegemony over Laos and to exploit illegal logging and illegal mining operations in violation of international law,” Smith concluded.

Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders ( MSF ), Journalists Without Borders, Freedom House, the Lao Hmong Human Rights Council, the Lao Students Movement for Democracy, the United League for Democracy in Laos, the Lao Veterans of America Institute, the Lao Veterans of America, Hmong Human Rights (HHR), Lao Hmong students organizations, the CPPA and others have raised repeated concerns about horrific human rights violations in Laos under the LPDR regime as well as the forced repatriation of Lao and Hmong refugees from Thailand to Laos.
http://asiapacific.amnesty.org/aidoc/ai.nsf/Index/ENGASA260042004
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA26/003/2007

Thousands of Lao Hmong political refugees are facing forced repatriation from Ban Huay Nam Khao and Nong Khai refugee camps in Thailand back to the communist LPDR regime in Laos they fled. http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1104548.html

Vietnam has intervened with its military and security forces in Laos prior to the start of the SEA games. Thousands of additional Vietnam Peoples Army (VPA) troops have been deployed in Laos in recent months to support LPA attacks against Lao and Hmong civilians and political and religious dissident groups in Laos.

According to official LPDR and SRV radio and news reports in Hanoi and Vientiane, Laos, high-level meetings have been conducted by the VPA and LPA officials as well as between SRV and LPDR defense ministers on joint military and security force operations in Laos largely directed at an increasingly disillusioned civilian population weary of over three decades of failed and corrupt rule by the LPDR regime and the communist military leadership in Vientiane and Hanoi.

Dozens of LPA and VPA troops have died in Laos in recent months during attacks and atrocities directed against Lao and Hmong groups in-hiding. Some LPA unit commanders and troops have defected or have become insubordinate to orders from Hanoi and Vietiane to attack and starve to death Laotian and Hmong civilians, including women and children. Some ethnic Laotian and Hmong forces have engaged in open rebellion against LPA and VPA forces, in some cases LPA units and VPA units have begun to fight each other.

In Luang Prabang Province, in recent months and years, large scale insubordination in the ranks of LPA units disillusioned with the LPDR and its policies has resulted in some LPA soldiers abandoning their units, shooting their communist LPA commanders or officers and killing a number of VPA advisers and troops from Vietnam. Hundreds of ethnic Hmong soldiers in the LPA are defecting, abandoning the LPA or their posts in opposition to committing atrocities against their own people; some LPA units are defecting with their weapons or are simply refusing to fight. Some Hmong spotters, used in helicopter gunship attacks against Hmong civilians by the LPA, have abandoned their posts including many members of the Yang clan, who have fled Laos in recent months.

Vietnam has increasing moved to fill these positions in Laos as the LPA and LPDR leadership becomes unreliable in suppressing the population and maintaining its monopoly on power in Laos.

Senior level VPA officials from Vietnam have reportedly died in military plane and helicopter crashes in Laos in recent years, including one crash which wiped out dozens of senior VPA and SRV Communist party politburo leaders from Hanoi in Xieng Khuang Province a decade ago after crashing into a mountain following a major LPA and VPA joint military offensive in Laos directed against Laotian and Hmong civilians and dissidents.

In recent years, the U.S. Congress has introduced or passed H. Res. 402 and H. Res. 1273 urging the LPDR regime in Laos to cease its campaign of military attacks and ethnic cleansing against Laotian and Hmong dissident groups in Laos as well as to release jailed Lao student leaders of the October 1999 Students Movement for Democracy. The legislation also cites the LPDR regimes increased religious and political persecution against the Lao and Hmong people, including increased religious persecution of Laotian and Hmong Christians and other believers.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) declared Laos a nation of particular concern (CPC) in 2003-2004 as a result of religious freedom violations. The USCIRF has repeatedly placed Laos, under the LPDR regime. on the USCIRF watch list for its violations of religious freedom and persecution of believers.

The LPDR regime is among the worst violators of human rights and religious freedom in the world according to a recent report by Freedom House issued in 2009 in Geneva and Washington, D.C. entitled "Worst of the Worst."
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Contact: Maria Gomez
Tele. (202) 543-1444
info@centerforpublicpolicyanalysis.org

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