Dec 15, 2015


According to our sources in the Xaysomboun region in Laos, the Hmong community is currently facing a new threat: the Laotian and Vietnamese armies. Sources on the ground reported on 13 December 2015 that the ongoing military siege aimed at "wiping out the Hmong in the region" has left the surrounded community without access to food or water. Acts of aggression have included a wave of arbitrary arrests and detention of villagers, forcing many to flee into the nearby forests.

Who are the Hmong?

The Hmong people are an indigenous group situated in Northern Laos. They distinguish themselves from the Laotian population because of their ethnicity, written and spoken language, culture, and religion. The Hmong territory borders Vietnam in the East, China in the North, Burma in the Northwest, and Thailand in the West. 

Due to their collaboration with the US forces during the Vietnam War in countering the invasion of Northern Laos by Vietnamese troops, the Hmong continue to be stereotyped as a dangerous anti-government group, and have thus been systematically targeted and discriminated by the Laotian Government ever since. The consequences of backing the losing side in the Vietnam War are still apparent, as persecution is a daily reality and many Hmong live in fear of arbitrary arrest and torture while experiencing abject poverty. The Hmong are subjected to discrimination, uncompensated land confiscation, arbitrary arrests and violations of their cultural and religious rights in LPDR.

Moreover, seeking refuge in other countries has become dangerous; Vietnam and Thailand have standing collaboration efforts with the Laotian government to detain and aid the forceful repatriation of Hmong refugees. Such collaborations have also extended to military campaigns within Laos’ borders to violently target Hmong communities hiding in the jungle. 

Because the government of Laos does not recognize the Hmong as an indigenous group, they remain unprotected and cannot benefit from mechanisms aimed at addressing uncompensated land confiscation, natural resource exploitation, and abuses of their cultural and religious rights.


UNPO strongly condemns the military violence against the Hmong indigenous civilians in the Xaysombune Special Zone, as well as the intimidation, harassment and persecution of human rights defenders and members of minority communities.

UNPO calls upon the Laotian Government to end military operations, arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances and land grabbing against Hmong indigenous peoples; to seek peaceful solutions to the situation, and extend special rights and protections to the indigenous Hmong community.

UNPO urges the European Parliament to take all necessary actions to help end ethnic violence perpetrated against the Hmong people; to address violations of international agreements and human rights standards by the Government of Laos in their dialogues.