Human Rights Watch Laos called on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit 50 Hmong refugees who were forcibly repatriated by Thailand to Laos on Dec. 28 have been imprisoned in Paksan jail

Human Rights Watch Laos welcome the decision of Lao Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Phongsavath Boupha asserted that his government will be happy to take foreign diplomats and representatives of international organizations to visit and check on the living conditions of the Hmong as soon as arrangements for their shelters, allocation of lands for their farming activities, and construction of needed infrastructures have been completed.

Human Rights Watch Laos called on the International Amnesty to set up team to visit 50 Hmong refugees who have been imprisoned in Paksan jail according to the Fact Finding Commission (FFC) and make a public statement about the Hmong returnees to Laos as soon as possible.

Online PR News – 01-February-2010 – – Human Rights Watch Laos called on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit around 50 Hmong refugees who were forcibly repatriated by Thailand to Laos on Dec. 28 have been imprisoned in Paksan jail, according to the Fact Finding Commission (FFC), an American based NGO.

Expelled Hmong Imprisoned in Laos - The Irrawaddy on Friday, January 22, 2010
It is suggested that the group may have been isolated because of their role as leaders in the camps and during the “secret war,” when the CIA hired the Hmong as foot soldiers to prevent the spread of communism during the Vietnam War.
Using a secret network of undercover researchers called “blackbirds,” the FFC were able to get confirmation on Tuesday morning about the group’s imprisonment.

“We received confirmation from our contact that around 50 leaders have been imprisoned,” said Bhou Than of the FFC.

“We are very concerned about what is happening to them and expect that more will face similar detention in the coming months.”
Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Thursday, Amnesty International confirmed that one group has been separated from other returnees and expressed concern about their treatment by the Laos government.
“We are aware that some of the leaders have been separated from the group, taken out of Vientiane and remain unaccounted for,” said Benjamin Zawacki, a Bangkok-based researcher for Amnesty.

“Our primary concern for them is torture, which we know is often employed in Laos’ prisons and could be used as a punitive measure for them bringing shame to Laos or for information gathering.”

He went on to add that Thailand has not only broken refugee law by expelling the Hmong but has also gone against the UN treaty against torture, which Thailand has signed and ratified.
“Under that treaty they are obliged not to send anyone back to a country where they are at risk of torture,” he said.
In an opinion piece published in the Bangkok Post on Jan. 13, the US Ambassador to Thailand, Eric John, said the Thai authorities said they had conducted their own screening process and 800 of the Hmong refugees were identified as having protection concerns and “should not be returned involuntarily.”

Human Rights Watch Laos welcome the decision of Lao Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Phongsavath Boupha asserted that his government will be happy to take foreign diplomats and representatives of international organizations to visit and check on the living conditions of the Hmong as soon as arrangements for their shelters, allocation of lands for their farming activities, and construction of needed infrastructures have been completed.

Laos Will Welcome Foreign Diplomats To Visit Hmong Returnees on 25/01/2010.
Songrit PonNgern reported in Lao from Bangkok on 19/01/2010 -
Lao authorities re-affirm that they will allow foreign embassy and organization representatives to visit the Hmong returnees from Thailand and check on their living conditions upon completion of the arrangements for their resettlement and allocation of lands for their living.
Lao Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Phongsavath Boupha added that officials will then respond to any request from foreign diplomats and international organizations with transparency and will take them to visit the Hmong in any province they would like to, in line with the humanitarian policy that the government has consistently practiced regarding the Hmong.

Human Rights Watch Laos called on the International Amnesty to set up team to visit 50 Hmong refugees who have been imprisoned in Paksan jail according to the Fact Finding Commission (FFC) and make a public statement about the Hmong returnees to Laos as soon as possible.

Canberra 31 January 2010

President of Human Rights Watch Laos, Inc.
Bounkhong Arounsavat

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