Urgent Appeal During SEA Games For Laos Prisoners of Conscience, Hmong Refugees

"Prior to the SEA Games in Laos, the Laotian groups from Vientiane as well as other parts of Laos were seeking change and reforms in Laos, including expressing solidarity and concerns about imprisoned Lao students, religious persecution, the military intervention of Vietnam's security forces and troops from Hanoi, and very high-levels of corruption within the one-party military regime in the LPDR,” said Philip Smith of the Center for Public Policy Analysis in Washington, D.C.

Online PR News – 09-December-2009 – – Nong Khai, Thailand, Luang Prabang, Laos and Washington, D.C., December 9, 2009, For Immediate Release

Amnesty International and the Center for Public Policy Analysis ( CPPA ), along with other non-governmental organizations (NGOs), have issued urgent appeals for Laotian prisoners of conscience who have been imprisoned in Laos. Amnesty International is calling for the immediate release of nine Laotians arrested in November in Laos by the government. Laos is currently hosting the Southeast Asia Games (SEA Games) in Vientiane and conducted a major crackdown prior to the start of the athletic games.

“Amnesty International, and other international organizations and institutions, including the European Parliament, are calling for the immediate release of the Laotian political dissidents and protesters as well as Hmong refugees facing forced repatriation in Thailand,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the CPPA in Washington, D.C. http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA26/004/2009/en

Tens of thousands of Laotian and Hmong Americans, as well as overseas Laotians, are boycotting the SEA Games in protest to the recent crackdown and arrests in Laos.
http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1107410.html
http://www.onlineprnews.com/news/13786-1260203762-vietnam-laos-crackdown-sea-games-avoided-by-overseas-lao-hmong-in-protest.html

Smith stated further: “Clearly, these Laotians arrested and imprisoned by the LPDR military regime prior to the SEA Games are clearly prisoner of conscience as Amnesty International and others have rightly pointed out.” 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

Mr. Smith further explained: “Out of the various political and religious dissident, activist and protest groups of Laotians, some numbering as large as 300, who were seeking reform and change in the communist nation in November of 2009, Amnesty International has express concern that at least nine Laotians (9) continue to be imprisoned for seeking to peacefully protest in the LPDR.

"Prior to the SEA Games in Laos, the Laotian groups from Vientiane as well as other parts of Laos were seeking change and reforms in Laos, including expressing solidarity and concerns about imprisoned Lao students, religious persecution, the military intervention of Vietnam's security forces and troops from Hanoi, and very high-levels of corruption within the one-party military regime in the LPDR,” Smith concluded.
http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1105230.html
http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1105478.html

Over five thousands (5,000) Lao Hmong political refugees are facing now facing abusive and violent forced repatriation from Ban Huay Nam Khao, in Petchabun Province, and Nong Khai, Thailand back to the LPDR communist regime in Laos they fled.
http://www.media-newswire.com/release_1106722.html
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA26/001/2007/en

Amnesty International has issued a public statement and appeal on the crisis facing Laotians jailed by Lao military and security officials on November 2, 2009, and its aftermath. Over one-thousand Laotian and Hmong political and religious dissidents, protesters and activists, as well as ordinary Laotians, were arrested in the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic (LPDR) prior to the start of the Southeast Asia Games in Laos (SEA Games). The Center for Public Policy Analysis has also issued recent statements and appeals about the crisis facing Lao and Hmong political and religious dissidents and protesters in the LPDR as well as thousands of Lao Hmong refugees facing forced repatriation from Thailand to Laos.

“This year Laos is host for the Southeast Asian Games, a regional bi-annual sports event. The authorities have carried out meticulous preparations, but the recent arrests and enforced disappearances of peaceful petitioners risks tarnishing the occasion,” Amnesty International said in a December 7 public statement.

“Amnesty International calls on the Lao authorities to release, immediately and unconditionally nine peaceful protesters who have gone missing since their arrest on 2 November 2009. Amnesty International considers them prisoners of conscience, arrested solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression…” Amnesty said in its recent public announcement.

“The nine should never have been arrested in the first place, let alone subjected to enforced disappearance. They are at high risk of torture or other ill-treatment. The Lao authorities must make their whereabouts known immediately and guarantee their safety…” Amnesty stated.

“These recent arrests and disappearances have taken place within days of the 10-year anniversary of the last known attempt to stage a public peaceful protest in Vientiane in October 1999. At least three former students arrested at that time remain imprisoned today, while one died in detention following torture by prison guards. Since then, the Lao authorities have continued to deny its citizens the rights to peaceful protest and assembly guaranteed under international human rights law,” the Amnesty statement explained.

Amnesty International explained further: “Since the first arrests in early November, Amnesty International has received unconfirmed reports about more petitioners taken into custody in Vientiane and other provinces.”

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For More Information Please Contact:
Mr. John Smith
http://cppa-dc.org

info@centerforpublicpolicyanalysis.org

Telephone Contact: (202)543-1444

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