Jul 17, 2018

CWHP and UNPO Welcome US Resolution on Situation of Hmong Communities in Northern Laos

On 12 July 2018, the office of Rep. Tom Garrett (R-VA) introduced a resolution on the situation of Hmong people in Northern Laos condemning the LPDR’s repeated and ongoing assaults on Hmong communities living in the jungle. Prepared in cooperation between the office of Congressman Garrett, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) and the Congress of World Hmong People (CWHP), the resolution also highlights the fact that the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (LPDR) continuously rejects requests of state parties and international institutions to conduct a proper and impartial investigation into the matter. UNPO and CWHP applaud the efforts of Congressman Garrett in bringing this situation into the public light. The resolution complements initiatives taken by UNPO in Europe, where, most recently, an open letter addressed to key EU policymakers urges the European Union to take immediate action on this matter.

The Hmong people of Northern Laos have been subject to constant persecution by the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) since the end of the Vietnam War.  In what was dubbed the “Secret War” the United States recruited Hmong fighters to counter communism in the region, but, after the end of the Vietnam War, communist forces gained control of the Laotian government and subsequently began to target the Hmong people for their role in the war. Much of the Hmong population in the country fled to the highlands of northern Laos.  Currently this population faces various issues at the hands of the government including land-grabbing, arbitrary arrest, and discrimination. Most Hmong that have attempted to flee to neighboring countries endure forced repatriation with the risk of retaliation by the Laotian government upon their return. Among the policies that accelerate the plight of the Hmong are the lack of recognition of the Hmong as an indigenous minority group under national law and the government’s restriction on expression including total control over all media and the internet. 

Today, the office of Congressman Tom Garrett (R-VA) introduced a resolution condemning the persecution of Hmong communities in Northern Laos. UNPO and CWHP welcome the introduction of the resolution on the systematic violation of the rights of the Hmong ChaoFa and express their appreciation for Congressman Garrett’s reference to numerous cases of extrajudicial killings and disappearances of Hmong civilians. In particular, we value the mention of the fact that by engaging in acts of violence and persecution targeting the Hmong, the LPDR not only violates international laws and the human rights treaties it is a signatory to but also deliberately defies requests by state parties, international institutions and relevant United Nations mandate holders to properly and impartially investigate the matter.

Following introduction of this resolution, Rep. Garrett introduced the following statement

America has a duty to stand alongside our allies across the globe both during and following any military engagement. The Hmong people demonstrated bravery and loyalty to the United States and we cannot simply allow them to fall victim to retribution for their unwavering support to our great nation. It is my hope that H.Res.992 sheds light on a tragic situation and Congress can work towards this resolution of support for the Hmong people.

President Chong Lor Her, head of the ChaoFa Party since 2009, welcomed the resolution, stating that:

In my capacity as President [of the Hmong ChaoFa] in the Xaisombun Special Zone, the Phou Bia Hmong Chaofa territory, I deeply appreciate the Office of Rep. Tom Garrett who has taken initiative making this resolution a reality for the Hmong people.  After our friends the Americans left, the Lao government started killing us because of our brotherhood with the US during the Vietnam War. I remember we fought together, we died together, and we lived together. After more than three decades I am still standing strong, fighting for the rights of the people and for the future of my people. Our friendship will always continue - no matter what. Please take care of my people in your country and one day, I hope, I will be able to welcome them back. Thank you!

UNPO and CWHP strongly condemn the ongoing military campaign against the Hmong people by government forces in Laos and applaud the efforts of Congressman Garrett and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in bringing this situation into the public light and standing in solidarity with the Hmong community against the LPDR. In line with the recommendations made in the resolution, we strongly encourage LPDR to immediately cease its repeated and ongoing assaults on the Hmong community in Northern Laos and call upon the United Nations to equally condemn the actions of the LDPR and invoke the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) mechanisms as soon as possible.

Find the full text of the resolution here.

Download a press release on the resolution here.