Washington, D.C., (RUSHPRNEWS) March 31, 2008 – The Lao Peoples Democractic Republic ( LPDR ) regime, in cooperation with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam ( SRV ), has issued a new order and drafted a comprehensive strategy to mount a major military offensive to exterminate thousands of Hmong in hiding in the jungles and mountains of Laos. The offensive will involve special battalions of troops and special operations commandos from Vietnam who are now being deployed to the closed military zones of operation. The reported object is to eliminate and exterminate some 15,000 Lao Hmong in hiding in key areas of Laos by the end of April 2008. Hmong in Laos are bracing for these new anticipated attacks by Laos and Vietnam which are expected to be massive and ruthless.
â€œReliable sources from inside Laos have stated that on March 23, 2008, the LPDR regime under the direction of President Choummaly Sayasone and Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh as well as Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Douangchay Phichit, who is also a Member of the Politburo and Major General Asang Laoly ordered the implementation of a comprehensive and deadly plan to intensify and expand military operations to attack and kill thousands of dissident unarmed Hmong civilians and opposition members in-hiding by the end of April 2008,â€ stated Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis in Washington, D.C. â€œThese new and ominous military actions, in cooperation with senior generals in Vietnamâ€™s Ministry of Defense, against unarmed civilians and the continued use of food as a weapon to kill thousands of unarmed Lao-Hmong people constitutes a clear violations of international law and rises to the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity to which these individual military leaders in Laos and Vietnam will need to be held accountable and brought to trial, especially General Douangchay Phichit,â€ Smith concluded. http://www.asiapacific.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGASA260042004?open&of=ENG-LAO
Amnesty International has issued numerous reports about war crimes in Laos, including a March 2007 report about the Lao militaryâ€™s attacks and mass starvation Hmong civilians and dissident and opposition groups. Independent humanitarian and human rights organizations as well as journalists including Doctors Without Borders ( MSF ), the New York Times, Time magazine ( Asia-Edition ), Le Monde, Al Jazeera and others have documented the attacks by the Lao military on Laotian and Hmong civilians, dissident and opposition groups in Laos.
â€œThe Lao Peoples Army ( LPA ) is reportedly mobilizing significant battalions of fresh combat troops in key areas of Laos, at the direction and command of PAVN units from Vietnam, and with the support of vintage, Soviet built MI-8 helicopter gunships equipped with rocket launchers and machine guns to launch ethnic cleansing operations and military attacks against thousands of unarmed Lao Hmong civilians at Phou Da Phao, Phou Bia Mountain area and elsewhere,â€ Smith stated. â€œTwo MI-8 helicopter gunships were reportedly deployed again by the Lao military for several weeks to attack and kill the Lao and Hmong people seeking refuge and sanctuary in the Phou Da Phao area,â€ Smith continued.
Vietnam, including PAVN military owned logging companies are reported to currently engaged in large-scale illicit logging in Laos. Much of the logging is taking place in Xieng Khouang Province and other areas where Hmong are under attack by the Lao and Vietnamese military. The logs, from anciet forests in the highlands of Laos, are being largely shipped for export from the Vietnamese sea port of Vinh which is connected to Laos and the traditional Hmong homelands where thousands of Hmong they are now being hunted, killed and starved to death.
â€œWe condemn this new military campaign, and these cruel attacks, atrocities and war crimes by the Lao military and Vietnam on unarmed Hmong in Laos; we urge the international community to provide emergency intervention to seek to draw attention to this crisis and to stop this new round of upcoming military attacks which we understand will me massive in terms of the troop levels and the intervention of Vietnam to assist the Lao regimeâ€™s efforts to wipe out and exterminate some 15,000 Hmong civilians in Laos,â€ stated Vaughn Vang, Executive Director of the Lao Human Rights Council.
Mr. Tong Pao Yang and Mr. Nou Mang Chang issued the following statement and joint appeal from inside Laos to the international community:
â€œIt is important to note, that the LPDR regime has reportedly suspended Colonel Kham Xeng Yang, a communist officer in the Lao Peoples Army ( LPA ) because he failed to complete the brutal order issued by the Lao Minister of Defense Lao Deputy Prime Minister & Defense Minister Douangchay Phichit, who is also Member of the Politburo, to kill or capture all Lao-Hmong civilians and dissident Hmong groups in-hiding in key areas inside Laos. The Lao regime is using Hmong soldiers to kill and commit war crimes against their fellow Hmong people, which they are sometimes not capable of doing. These are terrible crimes against humanity being committed by the military of Laos and Vietnam now against thousands of unarmed Hmong civilians that are surrounded and under attack. â€
â€œMost importantly, however, on behalf of many thousands of Hmong groups now hiding from ongoing LPDR military attacks in Laos, we are appealing to the United States, U.S., U.S. Congress, United Nation, European Unions, ASEAN and the international community, to demand the Lao PDR regime to stop its current military offensive and ongoing attack helicopter and air force bombing. Major military units, and fresh battalions of troops, of the Lao military and Socialist Vietnam are now mobilizing for a new, upcoming planned ground offensive which seeks to massacre all Hmong in hiding groups which our information indicates will likely begin in early April of this year. We are innocent civilians, women and children and we do not want to be killed or captured by the Lao PDR government troops. All unarmed Hmong civilians, especially women and children have the right to life, liberty and the rights for a life free from persecution, torture and brutal human rights abuses currently be directed against our Lao and Hmong people by the communist regime of Laos and Vietnam.â€
Tong Pao Yang and Nou Mang Chang continued their statement from inside Laos and joint appeal to the international community:
â€œOur information and field intelligence sources indicate that they have appointed Colonel Boa SaVan as one of the key commanders of the Lao PDR government to carry out this deadly operation which includes plans to continue to encircle, trap, kill and starve to death thousands of Laotian and Hmong civilians. The Lao PDR government has given the order to Colonel Boa SaVanâ€™s troops to slaughter or capture all remaining Hmong groups in hiding by the end of April 2008. Civilians will not be spared. A food is being used as a weapon to kill and starve our people who only seek to live in peace and freedom.â€
Mr. Tong Pao Yang and Mr. Nou Mang Chang concluded:
â€œThe LPDRâ€™s Colonel Boa SaVan has already worked to order new air attacks and the deployment of ground troops in Xieng Khouang Province to prepare for new attacks on Lao-Hmong groups in Phou Da Phao, Phou Bia and in Vang Vieng province. His military trucks have begun carrying his troops at night to the locations where Hmong groups in hiding are located and are standing by to launch fresh military attacks against these innocent Hmong groups in hiding in Vang Vieng Province. Large numbers of troops from Vietnam are also being deployed now to attack and kill our people.â€
In response to these developments, Vaughn Vang, Director, of the Lao Human Rights Council made the following four point statement:
â€œWe the Lao Human Rights Council propose the following four points to end the genocide, ethnic cleansing war, human rights violation, and mass starvation directed against some 15,000 Lao-Hmong civilians now hiding from attack and persecution in key jungle and mountain areas in Laos:
â€¢ We urgently appeal to the United States, United Nations, the world community, European Union, ASEAN and international human rights and humanitarian organizations, to investigate and stop the communist Laos governmentâ€™s ethnic cleansing war, genocide, oppression and human rights violations, and campaign of mass starvation directed against dissident Lao and Hmong civilians and religious and minority opposition groups; and to press the LPDR regime to immediately end all military attacks from ground and air troops against the innocent, unarmed Hmong civilians, women, and children in-hiding in the jungle of Laos.
â€¢ We urgently appeal to the United States, United Nations High Commission for Human Rights and the international community, International Human Rights Commission ( independent commission ) and other international human rights organizations to investigate and stop the ethnic cleansing war, human rights violation, and genocide, against the Lao-Hmong in-hiding in the jungle of Laos;
â€¢ We urgently appeal to the United States, United Nations, the International Red Cross and international relief agencies to send food, and medical supplies, and to provide other basic human needs to the 15,000 Hmong who are being attacked daily and facing mass starvation, ethnic cleansing war and human rights violations against them in the jungle of Laos;
â€¢ Finally, we urgently appeal to the United States, United Nation, and ASEAN Nations to bring true peace, democracy, human rights, stability and national reconciliation to Laos and the Lao-Hmong dissident and opposition groups who seek an open and free society.â€
Vaughn Vang continued : â€œSome 15,000 Hmong civilians, women and children, trapped and surrounded by Lao and Vietnamese military units that seek to kill them are now urgently appealing to the United States, U.S. Congress, United Nations, and the international community to intervene in an emergency manner to save their lives. Without emergency intervention, the Hmong in-hiding in the jungle of Laos will continue to be starved to death, killed and subjected to atrocities, torture and war crimes by the Lao PDR government regimes by the end of April 2008.â€
â€œThis cry for help continues to come from the mountains and jungles of Laos due to the LPDR regime and Vietnamâ€™s continued brutal persecution and killing of freedom-loving Laotian and Hmong people. Your immediately attention to the desperate lives of these innocent, unarmed Hmong civilians, women, and children in-hiding is demanded and necessary to give them the life, liberty and human rights they all, as human beings, deserve,â€ Vaughn Vang, said in conclusion.
Contact: Ms. Anna Jones
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