May 12, 2020

Hmong: New Deadly Attack Launched by Laotian Military

The Congress of World Hmong People has reported a new armed attack against the ChaoFa Hmong launched by the Laotian military, in the La Na area (Xaysombun Special Zone, Laos) on 9 May 2020. A Hmong man named Chor Xiong was fatally shot. Following the attack, the military took over the site and confiscated a satellite phone, portable solar charger panels and cooking devices. Once again, the UNPO alerts the international community of the systematic persecution of the Hmong people in Laos and calls upon the United Nations for an investigation of human rights violations in the region.  

The attack took place between 14h20 and 16h30 on Saturday, 9 May 2020. Survivors reported that the military opened intense gunfire - probably using semi-automatic weapons such as AK-47 - and launched 4 grenades. A Hmong man named Chor Xiong was shot and killed.

Following the attack, the military confiscated ChaoFa Hmong's satellite phone, 4 portable solar charger panels, cooking devices - such as cooking pots and plates - and food. As a consequence, the besieged community was left without any tools to prepare their meals. 

The attack is just the latest episode of a series of gross violations committed against the Hmong people. Such violations include uncompensated land confiscation, arbitrary arrests and killings, enforced disappearances, suppression of freedom of expression and severe restrictions on the Hmong’s economic, social and cultural rights. In light of overwhelming evidence that the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) has violated the most basic human rights of the ChaoFa Hmong, the UNPO calls on the UN to launch an immediate investigation of human rights violations in the region.

Who are the ChaoFa Hmong?

During the Vietnam War (1955-1975), US forces massively recruited the Hmong people – in particular the CIA – to counter the invasion of Northern Lao and attack North Vietnamese supply lines, while others remained loyal to the communist leaders. With the redraw of the US, the Hmong were left to fend for themselves, with devastating consequences for their community. The new Lao government – the Pathet Lao Communist party – turned against the Hmong and announced publicly that it intended to “wipe them out” , resulting in the continued stigmatisation of the Hmong community by the Lao PDR and the Lao People’s Armed Forces (LPAF).

Facing the risk of discrimination policy, persecutions and military violence, some Hmong fled to western countries such as France and the United States, while others attempted to seek refuge in neighbouring countries such as Vietnam and Laos. However, Vietnam and Thailand have collaboration agreements with the Lao government containing provisions on the forced repatriation of Hmong refugees as well as other agreements pertaining to joint military campaigns within the Lao territory to target Hmong community-seeking refuge in jungle areas. Reports show that Vietnamese forces provide military assistance for operations in Laos’ dense forest area of Ha Qhoua, South of Phong Savan, for the sole purpose of manhunting the Hmong inhabiting the areas. Moreover, neighbouring countries seem to support the discriminatory policy engaged by the Lao government against the Hmong people, refusing political exile to members of the Hmong ethnic group as a consequence, in violation of the principle of non-refoulement.

The remaining Hmong have been excluded from the Laotian society, and a majority of them were forced to hide in the Laotian jungle. Today, only small groups are left, such as the ChoaFa Hmong in the Phou Bia jungle Region.