Hmong: Thousands of Civilians Face Imminent Threat
Below is an article published by Media Newswire:
"Over 6,500 Lao Hmong civilians may be killed in the coming weeks and months in Laos as a result of this joint military offensive by Laos and Vietnam," stated Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis in Washington, D.C.
Lao Hmong civilian and dissident groups in hiding in the Phou Bia mountain area of Laos are under attack by ground forces and artillery units of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) and Lao Peoples Democratic Republic (LPDR) resulting in hundreds of dead and wounded civilians.
Over 6,500 Lao Hmong civilians may die in the coming weeks and months as a result of this joint military offensive by Laos and Vietnam that parallels recent high-level LPDR-SRV military and communist party meetings and the announcement of strengthened military cooperation between the two Communist nations.
Lao Peoples Army forces (LPA) and Vietnam Peoples Army (VPA; also sometimes known as the PAVN) ground forces, with significant artillery, mechanized infantry and special forces “hunter-killer” teams, are being deployed to Xieng Khouang Province, Saysambone Closed Military Zone (also known as Xiasambone Military Zone), Luangbrabang Province, Vientiane Province and Khammoune Province in the latest joint SRV-LPDR military offensive in March-April, 2009.
The rape and disembowelment of Lao Hmong women and children, and other atrocities, are increasingly commonplace among rampaging Lao military and LPDR security forces.
“These recent March-April  ethnic cleansing operations and bloody attacks by Lao and Vietnamese troops targeting largely unarmed villagers and those hiding in the jungle, have resulted in hundreds of new Hmong and Laotian civilian deaths and casualties,” stated Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) in Washington, D.C.
“Clearly, these ethnic cleansing operations and atrocities against Hmong and Lao civilians and political and religious dissidents rise to the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity; The recent joint military offense by Laos and Vietnamese government troops was very carefully planned and timed to preceded and follow recent senior level meetings in Vientiane between LPDR military and Party officials and their counterparts in Hanoi,” Smith continued.
In recent years, Amnesty International, the Hmong Lao Human Rights Council, the New York Times, the BBC, Time Magazine, Al Jazerra and other independent human rights and news media organizations have documented attacks against Laotian and Hmong civilian and dissident groups encircled and trapped in Laos where they are subjected to mass starvation and military attacks by the LPDR regime.
Laos-Hmong scholar Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt has also chronicled many of these attacks and atrocities against the Hmong and Laotian people.
On March 30 , a senior delegation of the General Political Department of the Vietnam People’s Army arrived in Vientiane beginning a reported five-day visit to Laos and the LPDR regime according to official SRV state news agencies in Hanoi. LPDR Party General Secretary and State President of Laos Choummaly Sayasone reportedly received visiting Vietnamese General Le Van Dung and an significant entourage of Vietnamese military officers, including senior VPA officials. Vietnamese General Le Vang Dung, is also the Chairman of Vietnam’s Communist Party Central Committee.
In recent days, enhanced military cooperation between Vietnam and Laos has been officially announced by Vietnam’s state controlled media, including Nhan Dan and VOV News. Vietnam and Laos announced strengthened military cooperation as a result of these meetings in Laos, which followed heavy attacks against Laotian and Hmong civilian and political and dissident groups.
The SRV and LPDR military in Laos are also increasing utilizing ethnic Hmong commanders of the LPA and VPA army to hunt and kill fellow ethnic Hmong who oppose the LPDR regime or who seek to live independently of the Lao regime.
“The military troops involved in some of the most bloody attacks and atrocities against unarmed Lao Hmong civilians and political and religious dissident groups in hiding in the jungle and mountains of Laos are often led by several infamous Hmong commanders working for the Lao government including Colonel Xai Blong Lor, Kao Moua, Kham Xavoie, Thong Xue, Kham Phan and Ia Cai, “ stated Philip Smith, of the CPPA in Washington, D.C. “Vietnam and the Lao military are using Hmong military units and commanders to kill their fellow Hmong people, including many hundreds of innocent, defenseless civilians.”
The Lao PDR Government has reportedly ceded control of the much of the Phou Bia area and other closed military zones in Laos to SRV and VPA military forces of Vietnam and is seeking to kill the Hmong groups in-hiding in the Phou Bi area by mid September of 2009,” stated Vaughn Vang, Director of the Hmong Lao Human Rights Council, Inc.
Smith continued: “According to reliable reports from Laos and Lao Hmong family members in the United States, a group of Lao Hmong in hiding in Laos, the Young Chue Vang group, was reportedly attacked for by the Vietnamese soldiers in mid March . Heavy artillery attacks reportedly started on March 12 lasting into the early hours of March 13 . The joint Lao-Vietnamese military groups also surrounded the Young Chue Vang group of Lao Hmong, cutting off food supplies, water. The attack left many Lao Hmong civilians of the group wounded without medical aid, many died.”
Nhia Lue Vue, a Lao Hmong representative of one of the groups under attack in Laos, has appealed to the United States, United Nations and the world community to immediately demand that Vietnam and Lao PDR Government withdraw its military troops from all areas in Phou Bia and Phou Da Phao and to immediately stop all military attacks against Lao and Hmong civilians and dissident groups in hiding.
Smith further stated: “Mr. Vue also stated that there are approximately 6697 Hmong in-hiding in the Phou Bia area that will be massacred and slaughtered by the Vietnamese and Lao military troops in next few weeks or months. The majority of this group consists of Lao Hmong women and children whom are starving and dying due to the lack of food, supplies and water which were cut off. This Lao Hmong group also has many people whom are ill and need serious medical attention.”
Chud Nou Vue, another representative of the Lao Hmong group under attack by the Lao and Vietnamese troops said: “We are civilians, men, women and children who do not wish anything else but to live in peace from persecution, torture and death by the Lao PDR government. Our ancestors were living in the Laos for centuries and so we do not wish to live in another country. This is our country where we love and we respect, why are we being killed and torture for actions we have not done.”
“The United States, the United Nations and the world community must immediately urge the Vietnamese and Lao PDR government to stop all of its military attacks on the Hmong in-hiding; The 6697 Hmong in-hiding in the mountains of Phou Bia will all be slaughtered or captured and tortured in the coming weeks and months if action is not taken to stop these atrocities and ethnic cleansing,” said Vaughn Vang, Director of the Hmong Lao Human Rights Council.
Vaughn Vang concluded: “The Thai Government must also immediately stop the force repatriation policy of the 5,000-6,000 Hmong refugees at Huay Nam Khao, Thailand, who are also in danger of being persecuted or killed by the Lao PDR government.”
Kay Danes, a prominent human rights and humanitarian activist from Australia, has been invited to the United States to speak about conditions in Laos and to discuss her new book, "Standing Ground", which details human rights and harsh prison conditions facing political prisoners in the LPDR.