EP: Thailand Urged to Liberate Hmong refugees, Laos Urged To Free Students

The European Parliament has adopted a major resolution condemning egregious and systemic human rights violations in Laos by the one-party, authoritarian Lao Peoples Democratic Republic (LPDR) military regime. The resolution also appeals to Thailand to immediately free Lao Hmong refugees facing forced repatriation back to the communist regime in Laos so they can be resettled in third countries such as France, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, The Netherlands and the United States.

Online PR News – 27-November-2009 – – Paris and Strasbourg, France, Washington, D.C. and New York City, November 27, 2009

On Thursday, November 26 the European Parliament adopted a major resolution condemning egregious and systemic human rights violations in Laos by the one-party, authoritarian Lao Peoples Democratic Republic (LPDR) military regime. The resolution 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.europarl.europa.eu/news/expert/infopress_page/015-65387-327-11-48-902-20091126IPR65386-23-11-2009-2009-false/default_es.htm
http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1106783.html

“The Lao Movement for Human Rights is delighted by the call from the European Parliament for the respect of freedoms of belief, association, assembly, expression and freedom of the press as required by the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights which the LPDR just ratified the RDPL. The resolution voted today also demands 'the right to peaceful expression of political opposition' aiming to an 'internationally-monitored multi-party elections ' in Laos,” said Mrs. Vanida S. Thephsouvanh, President of the Lao Movement for Human Rights.

The Lao Movement for Human Rights [ LMHR or Mouvement Lao pour les Droits de l'Homme (MLDH)], the United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc. (ULDL), the Lao Students Movement for Democracy (LSMD), the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) and a coalition of Lao and Hmong non-governmental organizations have lauded the passage of the resolution in the European Parliament today. The LMHR has made repeated international appeals on behalf of persecuted Laotian students, political and religious dissidents and Lao Hmong refugees. http://media-newswire.com/release_1106263.html

The Honorable Howard Eugene Douglas, Former U.S. Ambassador at Large and Coordinator for Refugee Affairs as well as human rights and refugee advocate Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt, Distinguished U.S. Foreign Service Officer Edmund McWilliams, Former Vice President of the U.S. Export-Import Bank B. Jenkins Middleton, Hmong human rights advocate Joe Davy and others have also appealed to the Thai government to halt the repatriation of Lao Hmong political refugees from Thailand to Laos. http://media-newswire.com/release_1106500.html
http://www.onlineprnews.com/news/12263-1258758068-abhisit-anupong-order-thailand-soldiers-to-block-religious-ceremonies-burial-of-laos-hmong-refugees.html

Members of the U.S. Congress, UNHCR, HRW, Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières — or MSF), LHHRC, LMHR, the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA), the Lao Veterans of America Institute (LVAI), Lao Veterans of America, Inc. (LVA), Hmong Advance, Inc. (HA), Hmong Advancement, Inc. (HAI), United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc. (ULDL) and other non-governmental and non-profit organizations have appealed to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and General Anupong in Thailand to immediately stop the forced repatriation of some 5,000 Lao Hmong refugees from Ban Huay Nam Khao and Nong Khai, Thailand to Laos.

“We laud the extraordinary leadership of the European Parliament and its historic resolution that was adopted on November 26 calling for the release of imprisoned Lao student movement leaders of the peaceful October 26, 1999, demonstrations and urging human rights reforms and basic human freedoms in Laos and Thailand for refugees,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) in Washington, D.C.

“We welcome the moral leadership of the European Parliament, Human Rights Watch (HRW), Amnesty International, the LMHR, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Lao Hmong Human Rights Council (LHHRC), the Lao Veterans of America Institute (LVAI), the CPPA and many others who have urged the government of Thailand and Thai military to immediately end the forced return of Lao Hmong refugees from Nong Khai and Ban Huay Nam Khao back to the brutal one-party, LPDR military regime in Laos where they fled military attacks as well as political and religious persecution,” continued Mr. Smith. http://media-newswire.com/release_1106722.html

“The fact that the European Parliament has specifically addressed the plight of the Lao students and Lao Hmong refugees in Thailand, and the refugees at Nong Khai, is significant and critical, as main-force elements of the Thai Third Army and Ministry of Interior mobilize more troops to seek to force these Lao Hmong refugees and those at Ban Huay Nam Khao back to the LPDR regime in Laos by the end of this year,” Smith said.

Mr. Smith stated further: “Thailand's Minister of Defense General Prawit Wongsuwan, Thai Army Chief General Anupong Paochinda as well as Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Minister of Interior (MOI) Chavarat Charnvirakulhave have now reportedly mobilized over a thousand new heavily-armed troops in the Lao Hmong refugee camp at Ban Huay Nam Khao, Thailand, and are reportedly preparing for the potential mass forced repatriation of the refugees prior to the start of the Southeast Asia Games ( SEA Games ) in Laos. There is growing fear that the Lao Hmong refugees at Nong Khai could be forcibly repatriated thereafter. Increased coercive measures have been used by the Thai military against over 5,200 Lao Hmong political refugees in Thailand to seek to force them to return to the communist regime in Laos that the refugees fled.” http://media-newswire.com/release_1104548.html

Backed by newly deployed Vietnam Peoples Army special units and secret police from Hanoi, the Lao Peoples Army (LPA) and LPDR regime have arrested some twelve hundred (1200) Laotians, including political and religious dissidents as well as ordinary Lao and Hmong citizens, seeking reform and change in the Laos in November. More Laotians are being arrested and detained on a daily basis. Many are being imprisoned in Laos' notorious Sam Khe prison where torture is common and brutal.
http://www.onlineprnews.com/news/11593-1258153263-laos-crackdown-on-38-more-dissidents-as-obama-sea-games-near.html
http://media-newswire.com/release_1105478.html

The following is the text of the international communiqué and statement issued by the Lao Movement for Human Rights [ LMHR or Mouvement Lao pour les Droits de l'Homme (MLDH)], and its President Vanida S. Thephsouvanh:

“ ‘The European Parliament asks Thailand to end the expulsion of the Lao-Hmong and demands a multi-party elections in Laos’
The European Parliament adopted, on Thursday 26 November in Strasbourg, a resolution condemning human rights violations in Lao People's Democratic Republic ( LPDR) and calling for the 'immediate’ end of the expulsions of the Lao-Hmongs in Thailand as well as the ''immediate release' of the leaders of the 'Movement of 26 October 1999 and all those ' people arrested during the attempted peaceful demonstration on 2 November 2009'' in Vientiane.

In this resolution – - presented by five political groups ( PPE, S&D, ALDE, VERT/ALE, ECR) and adopted in unanimity –, the European Parliament asked the Lao authorities to 'to devise and implement as soon as possible all the reforms needed to bring democracy to the country, to guarantee the right to peaceful expression of political opposition and to ensure that internationally monitored multi-party elections take place soon, with a view to national reconciliation'.

The Lao Movement for Human Rights welcomes the vote of this document which expresses the European Parliament concern on the economic, social and political situation in the LPDR, a country that has been ruled since 1975 by a single party. For the Lao Movement for Human Rights, the vote of this resolution by the Members of the European Parliament, just a few days before the 34th birthday of the seizure of power by the Communist Party on 2 December 1975 in Laos, is a severe blow for the LPDR leaders, a dictatorial régime corroded in every level by corruption, power abuses and injustice.
The Lao Movement for Human Rights salutes the call of the European Parliament to ' immediately end the detention' of the 158 Lao Hmong in Nongkhai , 'to guarantee that all Lao Hmong in Huay Nam Khao Camp have access to screening and status determination procedures if they wish to make an asylum claim' and to cease the violent repression against civilian Lao-Hmongs inside Laos.

The Lao Movement for Human Rights is grateful to the constant support of the Members of the European Parliament to the leaders of the Movement of 26 October 1999 -- Thongpaseuth KEUAKOUN, Seng-Aloun PHENGPHANH, Bouavanh CHANMANIVONG and KEOCHAY-- and to those of the ‘Movement of 2 November 2009” --Mrs. KINGKEO and SOMCHIT, Misters SOUBINH, SOUANE, SINPASONG, KHAMSONE, NOU, SOMKHIT and SOURIGNA--, whose names were noted in the resolution, in spite of the habitual attempt from the Lao authorities to deny these peaceful protests.

The Lao Movement for Human Rights is delighted by the call from the European Parliament for the respect of freedoms of belief, association, assembly, expression and freedom of the press as required by the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights which the LPDR just ratified the RDPL. The resolution voted today also demands 'the right to peaceful expression of political opposition' aiming to an 'internationally-monitored multi-party elections ' in Laos.

( - End International Communique Lao Movement for Human Rights and its President Vanida S. Thephsouvanh, November 26, 2009 --)

For the text of the Communique in the French Lanuage and for more details see: http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1106783.html
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