Hmong: UNPO at Laos UPR Pre-session
On 12 December 2019 UNPO's General Secretary, Ralph Bunche, spoke at the pre-session for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) for Laos.
The UNPO was selected as one of three NGOs to present their UPR report to UN Member States in advance of the review of Laos commencing in January 2020, and concluding in June. The UNPO's presentation was on the difficult situation of ethnic minorities and indigenous communities in Laos, who are not recognized as such by the Laos government and are subject to systemic discrmination and persecution on religious groups. In addition, the presentation narrowed in on the situation of the Hmong living in isolated parts of the Phou Bia region, in areas that the government is attempting to forcefully clear to grant land concessions. Members of these communities have been attacked and killed by the military, they have been disappeared, unlawfully arrested, raped and tortured.
While the UNPO's UPR report, submitted jointly with the Congress of World Hmong People, contained a large number of recommendations, UNPO's General Secretatry urged UN Member States to focus, in particular, on three recommendations to make to the government of Laos:
Enshrine in law the clear and unambiguous recognition and protection of indigenous people, ethnic and religious minorities in Laos.
Grant the international community confidential access to Hmong people in Laos, including returned refugees and those living in the Phou Bia region.
Cease all military activities and land clearances of the Hmong people in the Phou Bia region, allowing humanitarian and development aid to be delivered.