May 11, 2016
Unexploded Vietnamese artillery warhead used during the attack (Photo courtesy: CWHP)
On 4 May 2016, the Laotian military invaded a Hmong indigenous community in Laos’ Xaysomboun Province, killing at least two civilians. The Congress of World Hmong People (CWHP) strongly condemns the attack and expresses deep concern over the continuing perpetration of human rights abuses against ethnic Hmong. The CWHP urges the European Parliament to take decisive action and pressure the Laotian government to conform to international laws and put an end to its violent ethnic cleansing campaign against the Hmong people of north-central Laos.
In the early hours of 4 May 2016, government military forces launched an attack on a Hmong village in the Xaysomboun Province of Laos. The 200-people strong community attacked is part of a population of approximately 1,000 ethnic Hmong scattered throughout the area. At least two civilians were killed in this most recent incident, Ms Pa Moua and Mr True Xiong. The latter’s body could not be recovered. CWHP accuses the Vietnamese government of secretly supplying the Laotian military with the artillery ammunition needed to carry out such attacks. Laos and Vietnam are known to work hand in hand in their targeted persecution of the Hmong people.
Prior to the attack on 4 May 2016, a helicopter had been seen circling over the region, possibly spraying poison. According to a local, Mr Chong Lor Her, on 4 and 23 April 2016, a white helicopter circled “at a very low altitude, about 100 meters above the tree top. It had a device about the length of approximately ten meters hanging from its fuselage, about two feet in diameter and about four meters in length”. It did not have the appearance of an army helicopter. “I thought it was an international helicopter for tourists touring the area”, Mr Her said. Apparently, the Laotian government uses civilian helicopters to hide its military activities in the area. Locals suspect that the helicopter sprayed poison over the area as now the community is suffering from poisoning symptoms, such as dizziness, diarrhoea, shortness of breath and vomiting. Internal intelligence sources said that the Laotian military uses these tactics to weaken Hmong communities before invading the area with ground forces.
The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) and the CWHP strongly condemn the ongoing violence and human rights violations in the region. “The Hmong indigenous community in the region does not deserve to die. Everyone needs to give a high priority to this grave concern”, an official CWHP declaration on the recent attack says. The CWHP calls on the European Parliament to make the plight of the Hmong in Laos’ Xaysomboun Province one of its primary concerns, and pressure the Laotian government to conform to international laws. In addition to that, CWHP urges the European Parliament to consider sending humanitarian aid to the Hmong people as the indigenous community is severely threatened by food insecurity.