Hmong: A History of Relocation
An old video snippet shines a light into the difficult past of a people marked by forced relocation and subject to the whims of more powerful states. Siding with the United States in the Vietnam War, the Hmong in Laos were forced to flee or go into hiding after the Communist Pathet Lao gained power in Laos following the UN ceasefire agreement in 1973. 3,000 Hmong were immediately airlifted from the country and brought to the United States while the rest fled to refugee camps in Thailand or Vietnam. Those who remained in Laos mostly retreated to the mountainous jungles in the north of the country where they continue to be persecuted and killed by the government to this day. Currently only around 1,000 Hmong are left from the 20,000 that originally fled to the jungles of Laos, and the government has been waging an active military campaign against this population. Men, women, and children are subject to forced starvation, arbitrary killing, and suspected chemical warfare tactics by the military in an effort to ensure the final eradication of the Hmong in Laos. To read about the latest issues encountered by the Hmong, take a look at our Hmong Timeline.