UNPO & CWHP Strongly Condemn Laotian Military’s Artillery Shelling of Hmong Refuges
During the last two months, the Laotian military has severely intensified its military campaign against Hmong indigenous communities hiding out in the country’s Xaysomboun Special Zone in north-central Laos. The Congress of World Hmong People (CWHP) and the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) strongly condemn recent attacks and express deep concern over the continuing perpetration of human rights abuses against ethnic Hmong. From their hideouts, leaders of local Hmong groups urge the European Union and the United States to take immediate action and pressure the Laotian government to conform to international laws, putting an end to its violent ethnic cleansing campaign against the Hmong people.
Photo Courtesy of CWHP, explosion crater from artillery shelling (left), members of Hmong groups in hideout (right)
According to reports by Mr Chonglor Her, leader of the Hmong groups who are forced to hide in north-central Laos’ jungle, the Laotian military has severely intensified its campaign of heavy artillery shelling in recent weeks. It targets those areas which serve as the last hideouts of several small Hmong communities, particularly aiming at disrupting the Hmong’s access lines to wild food sources. Mr Her reports that the Laotian military is systematically encroaching on Hmong territory, using large-scale bombardment with long and short-range weapons for their advances.
Contacting CWHP via satellite phone, Mr Her reports that the Laotian military increased its use of artillery shelling in early November 2017. On 2 December, it had launched heavy weapons (120-130 mm) on his groups’ hideouts for three days in a row. In the evening of 6 December, his groups saw a helicopter circling over the area. Mr Her suspects that the helicopter sprayed chemical weapons. A few days later, members of his community suffered from dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath and vomiting – all symptoms that typically occur after exposure to mustard gas.
UNPO and CWHP strongly condemn the ongoing violence and human rights violations in the region. Mr Her and CWHP urge the European Union and the United States 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 Union to consider sending humanitarian aid to the Hmong people as the indigenous community is severely threatened by food insecurity and a lack of access to health services.
UPDATE: Beginning on 5 January 2017, the Laotian military launches heavy artillery strikes into the territory of the Hmong ChaoFa. According to reports available to President Her, on 8 January 2018, the Laotian troops plan to launch another concerted attack with heavy artillery to complete wipe out the Hmong population in their refuge area. Reportedly, a battalion of Vietnamese troops normally stationed in Long Tieng is to join the Laotian military in this mission.