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  1. #1
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    Hmong leaders among 152 in Nong Khai scare

    Jungle Hmong leaders among 152 in Nong Khai scare


    There were tense scenes at the immigration centre in Nong Khai yesterday when Lao officials were allowed in to interview and photograph 152 ethnic Hmong.




    Many of the Hmong have registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as "people of concern".

    They were the centre of a deportation scare last month after being trucked from Suan Phlu detention centre in Bangkok to the far Northeast town, which lies on the Mekong across from Vientiane.

    The UNHCR and Human Rights Watch warned Thailand at the time that the 152 Hmong were at "grave risk of persecution" if returned to Laos. Moves are underway to resettle the 152 overseas - which is why the arrival yesterday of Lao officials with three Hmong interpreters and three empty buses created panic at Nong Khai.

    Hmong support groups in the US voiced alarm, saying they fear Vientiane wants to take the 152 back because it contains leaders of several "jungle Hmong" groups who it regards as terrorists and may want to "silence permanently".

    Hmong International Human Rights Watch voiced fears that Vientiane may execute leaders such as Blia Shoua Her and Chong Lee Lor if the 152 are deported, because of their knowledge of alleged massacres, inhumane prison treatment and failure to assimilate with the communist regime.

    The Lao government has agreed to take back citizens proven to come from their country. However, they have rejected calls by Thailand for international refugee agencies such as UNHCR overseeing the return of people seeking asylum either in Nong Khai or Phetchabun - where more than 8000 Hmong have fled, alleging persecution.

    While many of the Hmong in Phetchabun are suspected to be "economic migrants" who have fled poverty rather than persecution, in the hope of being resettled abroad in Western nations, most of the 152 in Nong Khai are regarded as genuine "jungle Hmong" with serious claims to refugee status, US supporters say.

    Blia Shoua Her, the former leader of a group that lived near Vang Vieng, says he lost a son in the alleged massacre of 26 Hmong on April 6 last year. And Chong Lee Lor led a group in the Phu Pha Thi area before being jailed for more than a year, Hmong advocate Joe Davy said in a call from the US yesterday.

    UNHCR will send a team to Nong Khai today (Wed) to interview the asylum seekers, spokeswoman Kitty McKinsey said.
    "As far as we know there's no deportation planned immediately. And we're still discussing avoiding one. "We heard there were buses at Nong Khai but we can't confirm that. We've heard also that the Lao officials have left and the 152 [Hmong] are still there."


    Jim Pollard
    The Nation

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    Thailand prepares to deport 152 Hmong refugees to Laos

    Thailand prepares to deport 152 Hmong refugees to Laos


    HANOI - Thailand is to deport 152 people of the Hmong minority back to Laos even though most of them are recognized as refugees by the United Nations, Laos officials and Amnesty International said Saturday.




    The group of 152 were arrested in mid-November and detained at the Immigration Detention Center (IDC) in the border city of Nong Khai.

    Most of them have already been recognized as refugees by the UN High Commissionerfor Refugees (UNHCR).

    "Lao officials have been allowed to interview and photograph members of the group... in Nong Khai, to verify that they are Lao nationals, preparatory to returning them to Laos," Amnesty said in a statement.

    "Three buses are reportedly parked outside the IDC ... ready to transport them."

    Laos foreign ministry spokesman Yong Chantalangsy confirmed the planned repatriation but said he could not say when it would take place.

    "We are in the process of identification," he told AFP.

    "This is part of the process by the two countries to solve the Hmong issue. We will take back those who were caught entering Thailand illegally and proved to be Lao nationals."

    UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour last month condemned the repatriation plan, warning the 152 Hmong -- including 85 children -- were risking persecution.

    According to Amnesty, "in Laos the group would be at risk of severe human rights abuses, including torture ... No international human rights organization would have access to the group in Laos to monitor their well-being."

    Yong denied the accusations, saying the Hmong would eventually be taken back to their families. But he confirmed no third party would be allowed to monitor the process.

    He also said there were no grounds for their UNHCR refugee status.

    "There is no war, there is no conflict, there is no violence, there is no genocide," Yong said, adding the UNHCR "would have some problems justifying their decision".

    Bangkok announced last month week it intended to repatriate more than 6,500 members of the Hmong ethnic minority, including the 152 who were detained by police.

    Some Hmong, a hill tribe people, were allied with the United States during the "Secret War" in Laos that was part of the wider Vietnam conflict.

    Some have fled persecution in communist Laos while others, particularly in more recent times, have sought to escape rural poverty.

    Laos has said it would accept refugees who can prove their Lao nationality but refused the intervention of a third party in the transfer. Bangkok has so far asked for international supervision of the process.
    Agence France-Presse

  3. #3
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    Bangkok has so far asked for international supervision of the process.
    That's 'cause they have no fcuking idea...

  4. #4
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    They'd typically never be heard of or seen again, as happened to others who surrendered in the conflict which doesn't exist.
    Sad, very sad, but Thailand doesn't have a good record for considering or protecting human rights of others, or even dissenting Thai nationals...

  5. #5
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    Thailand and Laos delay deportation of Hmongs


    Thailand and Laos agreed on Tuesday to delay deportation of 153 Hmong detained in Nong Khai to Laos as they resisted and threatened to commit mass suicides, officials of both sides said.


    Thailand and Laos's joint committee on border security Tuesday morning has already signed a document of repatriation in preparation to deport the group, including a new born infant, across the Mekong River back to Laos.


    Women and children were seen dragged into buses and trucks at Nong Khai Immigration's Detention Center as they refused to be repatriated while men tied their wrists with ropes in the cells.

    "As some of them were willing to go while many others were not ready, officials on both sides agreed to delay the plan and work on the matter later," said Lao Foreign Ministry's spokesman Yong Chanthalansy in a phone interview.

    Yong together with senior Lao delegation led by Colonel Siphanh Boudthavong head of Lao Defense Ministry's Boundary Department crossed the Mekong River on Tuesday to receive the Hmongs in Nong Khai.

    The deportation process began at about 8am as the Thai authority informed the minorities they were going to be deported to Laos. About 20-30 Thai police were deployed at the immigration detention office during the deportation process. More police were reinforced into the venue.

    As Hmongs refused to comply and Thai authority started forcing their way into the cells, dragged the women and children out of the cells at about 10am and loaded them onto the truck.

    Two Hmong women who refused to get on the trucks were severely beaten by the Thai authority, according to Yong Lee, a Hmong detainee who spoke on the phone from his cell.

    "As we run away from suppression. Unless Thai people help us, it's better to die here rather than going back to cruel punishment in Laos," he said.

    Lao Foreign Ministry spokesman Yong said Vientiane would take them back to their original places without punishment for their illegal departure from the communist ruled state.

    The group is a part of some 7,000 Hmong migration being sheltered in Phetchabun's Ban Huay Nam Khao who snaked out of Lao to seek asylum in Thailand. They claimed they were associates of the United States Central Intelligence Agency's fighters since a secret war against communist in 1960s1970s and fled from suppression at home.

    Thai and Lao authorities considered the group as victims of human trafficking syndicates who lured them to seek better lives in Thailand and perhaps resettlement the US.


    Supalak Ganjanakhundee
    The Nation

  6. #6
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    They claimed they were associates of the United States Central Intelligence Agency's fighters since a secret war against communist in 1960s1970s and fled from suppression at home
    Well if that be the case then all would be between 60 and 90 years of age then.
    Younger than that they are just illegal aliens in Thailand and should be treated as such.

  7. #7
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    Update: Hmong deportation halted

    (dpa) - Thailand on Tuesday suspended its effort to deport 153 Hmong refugees from a border detention centre to Laos, after meeting stiff resistance from the men in the group who claim their lives are at risk if they are forced back to communist Laos.

    "The deportation has been suspended due to the fact that we have gotten some assurances that this group will be resettled abroad," said Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Kitti Wasingondh.

    An effort to deport the 153 Hmong from Nong Khai, a city on the Thai-Lao border, succeeded in getting the women and children on buses to be taken across the Mekong River on the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge but failed to get the men on board.

    Several of the Hmomg men, who claim to be former resistance fighters against Laos' communist government, threatened to commit suicide if they were forcibly repatriated.

    The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has classified the 153 Hmong as refugees who would face political persecution and personal risks if deported back to Laos. The UN agency has repeatedly appealed to Thailand not to repatriate the refugees, who were arrested in Bangkok two months ago.

    Thailand, fed up with the 9,000 Hmong living in the country who have failed to be resettled for more than a decade, has been seeking a long-term solution with Laos to the problem.

    Kitti claimed that the 153 Hmong were saved by a last-minute UNHCR committment to resettle them in third countries.

    "Before there was no real assurance from third countries," he told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

    The Hmong were arrested in Bangkok on November 17, and later trucked to Nong Khai, a city on the Thai-Lao border 500 kilometres north-east of Bangkok, where they have been awaiting deportation since.

    Although the number of Hmong refugees was originally 152, it rose to 153 ten days ago with the birth of a baby in detention.

    Laos has also refused to acknowledge the "refugee status" of the group because it denies there is ongoing persecution of the Hmong, an ethnic minority group that sided with the US military in the Indochina War.

    The fate of other Hmong who have previously been deported to Laos remains unknown, since the Lao government has thus far refused to allow the UNHCR a presence in the country to monitor the repatriation process.

    "They have agreed in principle that they might adopt some sort of third-party reassurance, although they clearly don't mean the UNHCR or any other international organization," said Kitti. "We need to settle this issue in the long run," he added, in reference to the 9,000 other Hmong still languishing at a Thai camp in Petchburi province.

    The Hmong are a sensitive issue for the Lao government. During the Vietnam War, the US military recruited tens of thousands of Hmong in Laos' mountainous areas, to serve as a guerrilla force against the Vietnamese and Lao communist troops.

    When the United States lost the war in 1975, the Hmong were left to fend for themselves. They were eventually defeated by the Lao and Vietnamese forces in 1975 to 1976, prompting hundreds of thousands of Hmong to flee Laos and seek resettlement abroad, primarily in the United States.

    Remnant Hmong resistance groups remained in Laos, financed primarily by the overseas Hmong.

    Although they do not pose a serious threat to Vientiane, periodic reports of atrocities and heavy-handed tactics in suppressing the Hmong are a frequent embarrassment for the regime.


    Bangkok Post

  8. #8
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    It's fascinating to see Thailand attempting to breach international law in this case. They want tourist money and are happy to parade hilltribe tours as a major cultural experience. But look how they are treated!!

    This country has shown its true racist colours. Thankfully the US, Canada, Australia and Holland are showing some common sense and have agreed to take the refugees.

    How exactly does Thailand justify not giving citizenship to 9000 Hmong who've lived here for donkeys years?
    The truth is out there, but then I'm stuck in here.

  9. #9
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    Thailand will not force refugees to Laos

    Thailand will not force refugees to Laos


    Thailand Wednesday backed down on a plan to deport 153 Hmong refugees to neighbouring Laos after dozens barricaded themselves inside a detention centre and threatened to commit suicide.

    The migrants, held at a detention centre near the Thai-Laos border since December for illegally entering the kingdom, were due to be sent back to the communist-ruled nation Tuesday despite risk of persecution there.

    But 54 men blocked themselves inside cells in the Nong Khai Immigration Detention Center and threatened to commit suicide, forcing the government late Tuesday to call off the move.

    "Thailand is not going to force them to go back to Laos," Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont told reporters on Wednesday, adding that he would visit the centre near the northeastern border on Thursday.

    Agence France-Presse

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    Laos demands Hmong deportation

    Laos demands Hmong deportation


    Thailand and Laos are split over the repatriation of 153 Hmong. Vientiane wants the group back but Bangkok is now seeking third countries to take them.



    This past weekend, Laos demanded Thailand honour a December 2006 bilateral repatriation agreement and deport the group.

    The repatriation of the group planned for January 30 had to be aborted.

    The Hmong - including one newborn infant - are housed in a Nong Khai detention centre. The group is resisting deportation and has threatened to commit mass suicide.

    On January 30, Hmong women and children were seen being dragged on to buses and lorries. The men tied themselves to detention-centre cell bars.

    Laos said Thailand was "ill prepared" to process the group and blamed the intervention of third parties for the aborted repatriation.

    "The Lao side requests Thailand continue to ready the group for repatriation and ensure the security of Lao officials who will accompany the group," Laos foreign ministry spokesman Yong Chanthalangsy said in a statement.

    Yong issued the statement after Bangkok said it would not force the Hmong home against their will. It will seek third party resettlement.

    The Foreign Ministry said earlier Western countries including the United States, Australia and Canada were prepared to accept the group.

    The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has granted the group protection and declared it "persons of concern". It has not provided food and shelter for them.
    Members of the group were arrested for illegal entry on November 17 after they escaped from a Ban Huay Nam Khao, Phetchabun shelter.


    Supalak Ganjanakhundee
    The Nation

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    Hmong refugees to move to Netherlands

    Hmong refugees to move to Netherlands

    (BangkokPost.com, Agencies)

    Some 22 Hmong refugees from the total of 153 are set to move to the Netherlands, after fleeing Laos to Thailand where they were at risk of deportion.

    "So far 22 people were approved by the Netherlands and they are ready to go to the Netherlands," said Giuseppe de Vincentis, UNHCR deputy regional representative in Bangkok.

    "They deserve international protection and should not be deported," he said, warning the Hmong refugees could face risks including "persecution and limitation of freedom" in Laos.

    The 153 Hmong refugees, including 86 children, were to be sent back to Laos in late January but the government called off the deportion after more than 50 men blocked themselves inside cells in the Nong Khai Immigration Detention Center and threatened to commit suicide.

    On Thursday, Laos had again urged Thailand to return the migrants.

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    'Missing' Hmong girls to be sent back to families

    'Missing' Hmong girls to be sent back to families


    Laos has told Thailand that 21 out of the 26 Hmong teenagers who went missing after being secretly deported in December 2005 have been found.


    Laos Foreign Minister Thongloun Sisoulith told his Thai counterpart Nitya Pibulsonggram during a meeting in the Lao capital yesterday that all of the Hmong were girls and all were in "good health".


    Nitya was in Laos yesterday for a two-day official visit and the Hmong migrants were one of major issues for discussion.

    Vientiane would coordinate with Thai agencies to reunite the children with their families, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Tharit Charungvat, who was at the meeting.

    The Lao minister did not say where they were, he said.

    Police in Phetchabun's Khao Kho district arrested the 26 teenagers on November 29, 2005 when they came of out a shelter in Ban Huay Nam Khao to attend a church service. The Thai authorities quietly deported them on December 5 from Nong Khai without the acknowledgement of Vientiane.

    They were part of some 7,000 Hmong being sheltered in Ban Huay Nam Khao who claim links with the CIA during the Vietnam War and say they fled Laos due to suppression.

    Laos has dismissed the claims, saying there had been no suppression. The Hmong were merely illegal migrants seeking a better life in Thailand and a chance to be resettled in a third country.

    Bangkok also deemed the group illegal migrants and not refugees who needed political protection.

    The deportation raised international concerns about ill treatment of minorities by both countries.

    Yesterday's meeting in Vientiane did not discuss the fate of another group of 153 Hmong being held at Nong Khai immigration detention centre. That group has put up fierce resistance to being deported.

    Thailand is likely to change its policy toward this group as Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont has said they may have the right to resettle in third countries, which have agreed to take them. Australia and the Netherlands have volunteered to take some of the Hmong and other countries are expected to take more.

    Laos was insisting they be sent back and demanded Thailand honour an agreement made by the General Border Committee (GBC) on December 19, 2006. Thailand previously deported 53 Hmong in November 2006 and 16 others in January.


    Supalak Ganjanakhundee

    The Nation
    Vientiane

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    Joint border committee to handle Hmong problem

    Joint border committee to handle Hmong problem


    Thailand and Laos agreed to assign a joint border committee to handle problems of more than 7,000 Hmong migrants being sheltered and detained in Thailand, Foreign Minister Nitya Pibulsonggram said Friday.

    The issue of Hmong illegal migrants become controversy for the two neighbors as deportation of 153 ethnic minorities at the end of January was interrupted due to their strong resistance.

    The General Border Committee (GBC) would deal with all remaining problems of the Hmongs on the basis of transparency and mutual understanding, Nitya said.

    The Nation

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