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  1. #26
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    Laos confirms safety of Hmong on return
    Souksakhone Vaenkeo
    December 28, 2009

    The Lao government has confirmed that all Lao Hmong held in a Thai detention camp and to be repatriated this week will be safe in Laos .

    Brig Gen Bouasieng Champaphanh speaks at a press conference.

    Chairman of the Lao-Thai General Border Sub-committee, Brigadier General Bouasieng Champaphanh, represented the Lao government in assuring the world of the returnees' safety through local media yesterday.

    He said all of the returning migrants were people who had entered Thailand illegally and were not political asylum seekers as some western countries have claimed.

    “Their concern makes no sense. They know what we have done because in the past we have arranged for journalists and diplomats to visit the resettlement village,” Brigadier General Bouasieng told a press conference yesterday in Vientiane at the Ministry of National Defence.

    The illegal migrants were tricked into entering Thailand in hopes of onward travel to the United States .

    “We have cooperated with the Thai government to repatriate 20 groups of 649 families comprising 3,173 people. Until now, no one has been jailed, killed or penalised in any way,” Brig Gen Bouasieng said.

    Instead, the Lao government has provided all-round assistance packages to enable the returnees to live normally and improve their standard of living.

    “Previous returnees have told me their lives here are 10 times better than when they were detained without freedom in the camp in Thailand ,” Brig Gen Bouasieng said.

    Once the returnees have been resettled, he assured the international community visits would be possible so foreigners can see for themselves the circumstances of their new lives. Then they would be able to see that the returnees were safe.

    The exact date of repatriation of the remaining more than 4,000 illegal migrants currently held in Thailand 's Phetchabun province is not yet known.

    But the detainees will be brought back to Laos sometime this week, along with 158 people being held in Thailand 's Nong Khai province migration detention camp.

    Brig Gen Bouasieng said the Lao government has resettled previous homeless returnees, while those who have a home can decide if they want to return there or live with relatives.

    “They can also choose to live in the government's resettlement village,” he told media.

    The government has built houses for the returnees and provided them with rice until they are able to earn a living. They have also been allocated farmland and provided with basic facilities and a means of transport. The government has also given them some funding to assist their transition to life in Laos .

    Also, all school-aged children have been enrolled in local schools.

    To prove that all of the previous returnees have been well received and are safe, Laos has invited delegations from other countries to visit the resettlement village in Vientiane province's Kasy district to witness the situation first hand.

    Brig Gen Bouasieng said delegations from Thailand and the European Union, the United States ambassador to Laos and members of the diplomatic corps from western countries such as France , the UK , Germany and Australia had visited the village.

    “They praised the Lao government for its good job in accommodating the returnees,” he said.

    “The concerns raised are only those created by subversive elements who seek to tarnish the Lao government's policy and guidance.”

    Brig Gen Bouasieng said the Lao government is ready to welcome back all the remaining illegal migrants and everything is in place for their return.

    He strongly believes that all of the migrants will be repatriated this week in accordance with the commitment given by the royal Thai government.

    “Everything has been perfectly prepared. We have prepared food, accommodation and all of their basic needs. There is nothing to worry about,” he said.

    Brig Gen Bouasieng said all those who would be repatriated this week would receive similar assistance package to previous returnees.

    vientianetimes.org.la

  2. #27
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    PPT has has this to say about Abhisit shameful lies from a government that is far more cruel and corrupt than Thaksin ever dreamed of being.

    Forced deportation


    The Abhisit Vejjajiva government, claiming to follow international principles and the rule of law, sent 5,000 troops on a pre-dawn mission to forcibly deport some 4,000 Hmong from a camp at Huay Nam Khao in Phetchabun province (Bangkok Post, 28 December 2009: Thailand starts deporting Hmong to Laos” and New York Times, 28 December 2009, “Thailand Begins Repatriation of Hmong to Laos”).

    According to reports, “Security forces were seen heading towards the camp by truck armed with batons and shields…”. Independent observers and the media were kept away. Sunai Phasuk of Human Rights Watch stated that “[s]pecial forces members were among the troops entering the camp and 50 mobile prison trucks also arrived…” He said that the military was to “first target group leaders and potential trouble makers. Those people would be snatched and sent out first…“.

    The deportations came despite international pleading for the Thai government to halt its plans to send all of these people back to Laos even when Thai officials agreed that some had legitimate political concerns about such a repatriation.

    Just a few hours ago PPT asked why anyone should believe Prime Minister Abhisit’s assurances regarding a forced repatriation. We have raised this question several times in other instances where Abhisit’s actions do not match his words.

    One other aspect of this action that deserves some attention is the failure of the Thai media to deal with this human rights issue in any meaningful way. The forcible deportation barely rated a mention in television news reports early Monday. When it was mentioned it was reported in an entirely uncritical manner and supportive of the government.

    It has to be said that the management of news under the Abhisit government now mirrors that under Thaksin Shinawatra. Indeed, it may be even more complete because the mainstream media is entirely pro-government. Free-to-air television news now appears as an advertorial for the government. As PPT has warned previously, this is a dangerous trend supportive of authoritarianism in government.


    Source: Political Prisoners in Thailand

  3. #28
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    Hmong arrive in Laos after forced repatriation
    Rachel Harvey
    Tuesday, 29 December 2009



    Thai officials said no violence was used to move the Hmong from the camp

    More than 4,000 ethnic Hmong have arrived in Laos after being forcibly repatriated from Thailand, despite international protests.

    The BBC has learned that among those deported is a group of 158 Hmong officially recognised as refugees by the UN, which has expressed its dismay.
    The Hmong say they face persecution in Laos because they backed US forces during the Vietnam war.

    But the Thai government regards the Hmong as illegal economic migrants.

    Two groups


    The Thai authorities said the operation to deport the Hmong had been completed on Monday night.

    The UNHCR, although it has no formal presence in Laos, hopes to get access to the returned Hmong
    Ariane Rannery
    UNHCR spokeswoman

    Within 24 hours, more than 4,000 people were removed from the camp in northern Phetchabun province, where they had been living for the past five years. The UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, had not been allowed to visit them beforehand.

    A second group of 158 Hmong, who had been held in a detention centre in the town of Nong Khai for three years and were officially recognised as refugees by the UNHCR, were also forcibly repatriated.

    The UNHCR expressed dismay, saying Thailand's actions had set a grave example.

    A spokeswoman for the organisation in Bangkok told the BBC offers had been made by third countries to resettle those granted refugee status, but that Thailand had consistently rejected the idea.

    "Discussions were ongoing and had not reached a conclusion," Ariane Rannery said. "But now they've been deported and have now been forced to return to a place they had fled from."

    She added: "The UNHCR, although it has no formal presence in Laos, hopes to get access to the returned Hmong."

    Thailand says it has been given assurances by the government in Laos that returnees will not be mistreated.

    news.bbc.co.uk

    A second group of 158 Hmong, who had been held in a detention centre in the town of Nong Khai for three years and were officially recognised as refugees by the UNHCR, were also forcibly repatriated.
    I don't know when BUT this will come back to bite you Khun Thai .

  4. #29
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    This Apeshirt has really turned out to be a nasty piece of lowlife, hasn't he?

  5. #30
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    according to her indoors , he's told the UN if they want access then go to Laos .................

  6. #31
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    Bloody and Wounded Hmong Refugees Hauled to Laos
    Tuesday, 29 December 2009

    Press Release: Centre for Public Policy Analysis

    Thailand's Army Trucks Haul Bloody and Wounded Hmong Refugees to Laos


    The Thai military has brutally beaten and seriously wounded hundreds of Hmong refugees in Thailand as it seeks to force them back to the communist regime in Laos they fled. According to reports received from sources inside the main Hmong refugee camp at Huay Nam Khao in Thailand's Petchabun Province the effort to force Hmong back to Laos has been exceedingly violent and bloody

    "Sadly, Hmong-American families in the United States as well as sources inside the Hmong camp at Huay Nam Khao are reporting to us that the Thai military effort to force the refugees back to Laos has been very violent and bloody with hundreds wounded," said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis in Washington, D.C. "Some of the Hmong men wounded today are reported to be in critical condition with severe blood loss from repeated blows to the head, face and torso by Thai soldiers armed with a number of lethal and non-lethal weapons, including electric cattle prods and M-16 machine guns."

    "Direct sources from within the Huay Nam Khao refugee camp in Thailand report that more Thai army soldiers have arrived and entered the camp to force the Hmong political refugees and asylum seekers back to Laos," said Vaughn Vang of the Lao Hmong Human Rights Council.

    "Huay Nam Khao Hmong refugees are under strict Thai military confinement as they are being forced back to Laos.

    "Today, many of the Hmong refugees were seriously wounded by the Thai Army soldiers who have by beating them with shovel handles, heavy clubs and their guns. Many of the refugees are seriously bleeding and many of the men have been beaten so seriously that they cannot walk or stand, and cannot defend their families from the attacking Thai soldiers forcing them onto the trucks and buses.

    "The international responses to the reports on December 22, 2009 have resulted in the Thai government setting up a tower in the refugee camp seeking to stop cellular activity within the camp in an effort to prevent communication and any information about the forced repatriation to escape the camp. After setting up the towers, the Thai soldiers within the camp threatened the Hmong refugees that the world will not be able to have access to the events that will be occurring in the next few days to deport these Hmong refugees back to Laos. Thai soldiers further state that the world community will not be able to hear the cries, and see the bloody abuse and brutal torture of the Hmong refugees and will not come to their aid and rescue.

    "The reports further state that the number of Thai soldiers has increased to over the number of Hmong refugees within the camp. Also, the Thai government has gathered majority of local nurses to be ready and standing by outside of Huaj Nam Khao Refugees Camp because the Thai government foresees the forced repatriation to be bloody with serious injuries and possible deaths in the next coming days. The reports further state that the Thai soldiers have been ordered to force repatriated all Hmong refugees from the camp completely within the next seven days.

    "These innocent Hmong children, women, elders, and civilians are appealing to the United States, United Nation, and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, European Union, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and all international human rights organizations, all countries, and the world community to not give up on them.

    "They are requesting for the world to urge the Thai government to cease the forced repatriation of the 4,532 innocent Hmong refugees and to send aid and representatives to monitor the situation in the Huaj Nam Khao Refugee Camp."

    scoop.co.nz

  7. #32
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    In photos: The Hmong expulsion
    29/12/2009

    The army removed some 4,000 ethnic Hmong from their Thai camps on Monday and trucked them to Laos. Here are some photos of the drama.

    Photos by the Bangkok Post and Royal Thai Army


    Hmong children leave Huay Nam Khao camp in Phetchabun on a military truck bound for Laos.
    Photo by Surapol Promsaka na Sakonnakorn



    Soldiers form a line as they begin repatriating the Hmong from Huay Nam Khao camp in Phetchabun.
    (Photo courtesy of the Royal Thai Army)



    Hmong pray before being sent out of Thailand.

    (Photo by Bangkok Post)



    Hmong women, some in tears, are seen on board a military truck.

    (Photo by Surapol Promsaka na Sakonnakorn)



    Authorities lead a group of Hmong with their belongings to the trucks and buses that took them to Nong Khai and across the border to Laos.



    Hmong children were led and carried to the trucks by soldiers.

    bangkokpost.com

  8. #33
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    Laos to educate Hmong returnees not to flee country again
    Dec 30, 2009

    Vientiane - Communist Laos plans to educate some 4,508 Lao-Hmong returnees who were deported from Thailand earlier this week to make sure they do not flee the country again, state media reported Wednesday.

    'Lao officials will educate the returnees to make sure they are not tricked into leaving the country again and to prevent them falling victim to human trafficking,' the state-run Vientiane Times reported.

    Thailand on Monday deported more than 4,000 Hmong asylum-seekers from detention centres in Phetchabun and Nong Khai provinces, despite protests from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the US government and European Union.

    The Hmong are an ethnic minority group that sided with the US military in its 'secret war' against communism in Laos in the 1960s and 1970s.

    The 4,508 Hmong were taken to Borikhamsay province, just east of the capital Vientiane, where they are to be kept at a 'temporary centre' in Paksan town, on the Mekong River, the Vientiane Times reported.

    'Here government officials and local authorities would check the personal background of each returnee before, if possible, sending them to their hometown,' said the government mouthpiece.

    'Those with homes would be sent back there, or otherwise to go to live with their relatives, while those who no longer had a home or had previously engaged in shifting cultivation would be relocated by the government,' it added.

    More than 3,200 Hmong from Huay Ban Khao camp in Phetchabun returned to Laos voluntarily between 2008 and 2009, and where sent back to their homes or provided with land to cultivate by the government. The UNHCR as well as foreign diplomats and journalists were invited on several occasions to visit the Hmong returnees, albeit with government minders in tow.

    Lao authorities have given assurances that the latest batch of Hmong are to receive similar treatment, but made no mention in state media reports of whether the UNHCR will be invited to the new camp to assess whether some were eligible for resettlement abroad.

    The UNHCR has expressed concerns about the fate of several of the returnees who have been classified as in need of international protection.

    In a letter from Geneva the UNHCR called on Thailand to provide details of the assurances the Lao government provided to Bangkok concerning the treatment of the returned Lao Hmong.

    The Thai government never recognized the Hmong in Phetchabun and Nong Khai as political refugees, but classified them as economic migrants, who could be deported under the country's immigration laws.

    UNHCR was never invited to screen the Hmong to determine their status as possible political refugees eligible for resettlement abroad, although it has classified the 158 kept in Nong Khai as 'persons of concern.'

    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday criticized Thailand's decision to deport the Hmong, noting that among them were 'individuals the Thai government had reportedly assessed to be in need of protection.'

    'The secretary-general regrets that these deportations have taken place in the face of appeals from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and despite the availability of third country resettlement solutions for those recognized as refugees,' the statement said.

    monstersandcritics.com

  9. #34
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    The US 'condemnation of forced repatriation' is of course bullshit. Thailand and the US are buddies. The US made that crystal clear by ignoring the coup against a democratically elected Thai government, then sending Hillary out to stain her dress with the installed puppet.

    This will be all forgotten within a few weeks and the US State Dept will most certainly never raise it publicly.

    But if the Reds were to try to force 'democracy' back into Thailand, I wonder what the US State Dept would be? Let me guess.. 'anarchy and rioting are not the way to settle differences' whereas Iran 'must stop the brutal supression of its people who only want real democracy and elections to be respected.'

    How amusing - (not) - wait a minute that's 'ironic' - where's Stronium "M-J" Dog? I want him/her to see 'irony'..
    Last edited by Tom Sawyer; 30-12-2009 at 10:09 PM.
    My mind is not for rent to any God or Government, There's no hope for your discontent - the changes are permanent!

  10. #35
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    NEWS ANALYSIS
    The Irrawaddy
    Thailand Deports Hmong Asylum Seekers to Laos


    In a move that places greater weight on growing regional solidarity over historical ties with a western superpower, Thailand ordered its military to forcibly return over 4,000 men, women and children from the Hmong ethnic community to Laos, the country they had fled in search of political asylum.

    By Monday, the first batch of 440 Hmong—an ethnic tribe living in the mountains of northern and central Laos—from an isolated camp in the Petchabun province in north-eastern Thailand was removed under the watchful eye of over 4,500 soldiers and police, says the Thai government’s spokesperson, Panitan Wattanayagorn, adding that the operation involving military trucks began at dawn.

    "We have given instructions to the military officers that this move has to be conducted ensuring the safety of the Hmong and with no violations of their rights," says Panitan. "Our agreement with the Laotian government is that all the Hmong should be sent back by the end of the year."

    It means that the "time for negotiations is over" and the Thai government will "not turn back on its decision," Panitan confirms in an interview with IPS. "That would undermine the relationship we have developed with our neighbour Laos in recent years. It is a relationship built on good faith."

    Bangkok’s decision to send the Hmong back to communist-ruled Laos has prompted protests from a range of international actors, notably the United States. Washington has been equally troubled by Thai authorities justifying the deportation after characterizing the majority of Hmong as "economic migrants," not refugees.

    "This is a deeply disappointing decision by the government of Thailand," Eric Schwartz, US assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration, tells IPS in a telephone interview from Washington. "You cannot make categorical statements that all people are economic migrants unless the (Thai) government has knowledge of each individual case."

    The US government, the United Nations and concerned human rights groups state that at least 158 of the Hmong asylum seekers had been recognized as refugees by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). And a further 80 had "bullet wounds," suggesting that they had fled violence in Laos.

    What is more, Thai officials have denied the UNHCR access to screen the largest group of the Hmong, who had been living in makeshift shacks at the Huay Nam Khao village in Petchabun. Journalists and other independent observers have also been denied contact to the same group.

    According to Human Rights Watch, the New York-based global rights lobby, Thai authorities have violated international refugee laws by using "intimidation" to silence the Hmong. The coercive tactics included "light deprivation," separating parents from children and cutting off "access to clean water and proper sanitation."

    "Thai authorities know very well that the United States and other countries would have been prepared and are still prepared to ensure the possibility of third-country resettlement for each person deemed to need protection," says Schwartz, who ended a mission to Bangkok last week, where he made a bid to secure a policy shift from senior Thai officials.

    But for the Thai administration of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, that would have meant a further delay in ending a problem that traces its roots back to the mid-1970s. At that time, Thailand opened its borders to refugees who poured in from Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam following the end of the U.S. government’s war in Indo-China. At its height, Thailand hosted over 1.5 million refugees.

    "We have been trying to persuade the US to take these people back but the US has not said they will receive all of them," says Panitan, the Thai government spokesman.

    Thailand cannot shoulder this burden alone."


    Thailand’s stance suggests how far regional politics has changed since the end of the Cold War era, when Bangkok was Washington’s strongest ally on mainland South-east Asia during the wars the U.S. government waged in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

    The Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) "secret war" in Laos was among them, beginning in 1961 and ending in 1975, when US troops left Vietnam in defeat. This clandestine war staged by Washington’s spy agency depended on tens of thousands of Hmong for manpower.

    The covert military operation to fight the advancing communist guerrillas in Laos resulted in the landlocked South-east Asian country coming under relentless aerial attacks—where over two million tonnes of explosives were dropped by US bombers, more than the explosives dropped on Europe during the Second World War.

    Both the US public and the Congress were kept in the dark while this conflict raged. The CIA’s air base in Long Chen, in central Laos, became one of the busiest airports in the region at that time. Flights from Thailand were frequent.
    But the triumph of the communist forces in Laos saw the Hmong flee their homeland in the thousands, first to Thailand as refugees and later to the United States for resettlement. Some 250,000 to 300,000 Hmong – nearly a third of this ethnic group’s population in Laos – joined this exodus decades ago.

    In 2005, when the United States took in 15,000 Hmong who had been languishing in Thai refugee camps since the 1970s, Washington declared that it would the last group of refugees it was aiding.

    But soon after that, the current group of Hmong asylum seekers surfaced in Petchabun, hoping for a similar journey to the US for supporting the CIA during its "secret war" and being persecuted by the Laotian military since the conflict ended.

    Among them is Blia Pao Yang, a leader of the refugees in Petchabun, says Joe Davy, a Hmong rights advocate in an e-mailed statement. "Many in his group have war wounds and have been documented by the Thai military as having legitimate asylum claims."



    By MARWAAN MACAN-MARKAR / IPS WRITER




    Political Prisoners in Thailand has an interesting analysis here that is well worth a read


    ....according to Human Rights Watch, “Thai authorities have violated international refugee laws by using ‘intimidation’ to silence the Hmong. The coercive tactics included ‘light deprivation,’ separating parents from children and cutting off ‘access to clean water and proper sanitation’.”

  11. #36
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    U.N. Questions Thailand Over Repatriation
    December 31, 2009
    by EU News Network

    A U.N. refugee agency wants answers from Thailand regarding the apparent forced repatriation of nearly 5,000 ethnic Hmong to Laos this week.

    In a statement from Geneva, Switzerland, the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said it believed that some of the Hmong had official U.N. refugee status and needed "international protection."

    The UNHCR, which has no formal presence in Laos, urged Thailand to give details of the Thai-Laotian agreement that governs how Hmong returnees are treated, a report by the BBC said. The UNHCR also has had no access to the Thai camps.

    The Hmong, often called America's forgotten allies, had been living in a camp in Thailand's north-central Phetchabun province for five years.

    A spokeswoman for the UNHCR in Bangkok told the BBC that third countries had offered to take some of the Hmong that had been granted refugee status by the UNHCR. However, Thailand has consistently rejected the idea but has said it has been given assurances by Laos that the returnees will not be harmed.

    There are no reported incidents involving their return, according to media in Laos.

    But a report in the Lao government newspaper Vientiane Times said that the "4,508 Lao citizens who were detained in Thailand for several years after illegally entering the country" had crossed into Laos "after being misled into believing they could travel from Thailand to the United States."

    The current repatriation is the latest, but also one of the largest such moves by Thailand. Many ethnic Hmong were fighting the communist insurgents within Laos in the 1960s under direction of the United States, in particular the CIA. When Laos fell to the communists, at the same time as Vietnam, hundreds of thousands fled to Thailand.

    The majority were accepted by the United States, and in 2004 another 14,000 were taken in. That same year a separate group of 158 Hmong refugees in Thailand were deported back to Laos from a detention center on the border with Laos.

    The Vientiane Times said the recent group of Hmong had been "held at Thai detention camps" in Phetchabun and in Nong Khai provinces prior to their removal to the border in trucks by the Thai army and signing ceremony with the Laotian military. Laotian Brig. Gen. Bouasieng Champaphanh told a news conference after the ceremony that the returnees would be sent to a temporary center in Borikhamxay province. Lao government officials and local authorities would check the personal background of each returnee before, if possible, sending them to their hometown.

    Bouasieng said those with homes would be sent back or go to live with relatives nearby. Hmong who "no longer had a home or had previously engaged in shifting cultivation would be relocated by the government. Homeless people are expected to live with families who had previously returned."

    He also said that "Lao officials will educate the returnees to make sure they are not tricked into leaving the country again, and to prevent them falling victim to human trafficking."

    The latest repatriation is under an agreement between the two countries signed last year and brings the total of Hmong returned to 7,760, the newspaper reported.

    officialwire.com

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    This is a disgraceful act by the thai government. Why were no observers allowed if there really is nothing to hide? It was only a year or two ago that footage was smuggled to CNN showing Laos soldiers hunting, torturing,and killing Hmong.

    Truely disgraceful Thailand. Truely....

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    ^
    Ask yourself why they did it between Xmas and New Year and there's your answer mate. Where are the TV pics? Couldn't be that difficult now could it - except the cameramen and reproters are all on holiday..

    And YES it's really that simple. Remember the Tsunami?

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    Well, I live nearby there and as far as I can tell they are a pain in the arse. They are given land and then just set fire to all the hills they live in, burn everything then plant crops and when it rains all the top soil washes down to the villages in the valley filling up the storm drains and then it overflows flooding every ones house. Not to mention the pollution. I've sat at my place and seen walls of fire kilometres long going across the hills night after night.

    If they went to Australia in a boat they would have just got treated the same.
    Fahn Cahn's

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sawyer View Post
    ^
    Ask yourself why they did it between Xmas and New Year and there's your answer mate. Where are the TV pics? Couldn't be that difficult now could it - except the cameramen and reproters are all on holiday..

    And YES it's really that simple. Remember the Tsunami?
    Thaksin did the same thing during his 'war on drugs'. It was during the height of the invasion of Iraq, and nobody even noticed until it was over..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bung View Post
    Well, I live nearby there and as far as I can tell they are a pain in the arse. They are given land and then just set fire to all the hills they live in, burn everything then plant crops and when it rains all the top soil washes down to the villages in the valley filling up the storm drains and then it overflows flooding every ones house. Not to mention the pollution. I've sat at my place and seen walls of fire kilometres long going across the hills night after night.

    If they went to Australia in a boat they would have just got treated the same.
    So flooding your kitchen is a good enough reason to send them back to be tortured and raped?

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    No but burning every bit of land they can get their hands on so they can grow vegetables and flooding entire villages from soil erosion is.

    Raped and tortured? They get that right where they are anyway.

    The area they are in can't support that many people economically.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bung View Post
    No but burning every bit of land they can get their hands on so they can grow vegetables and flooding entire villages from soil erosion is.

    Raped and tortured? They get that right where they are anyway.

    The area they are in can't support that many people economically.
    Why is it that the Thai stuck them into a concentration camp so far south? Is there some reason for that location?

  19. #44
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    No Idea but it is pretty well under the radar and there are a lot of legal Hmong living in the area.

  20. #45
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    Hmong seek answers about Thai repatriation
    Tad Vezner
    01/06/2010

    300 crowd community center asking what's to come

    All Khue Yang knew about his brother was that he was in "car number 494."

    About a week ago, as one of several thousand refugees that represented the last Hmong asylum seekers still in Thailand, Khue Yang's brother was suddenly shipped back to Laos, the land he had once fought to keep from falling into communist hands in the 1970s.

    He'd managed to keep a cell phone with him and, days later, called Khue Yang in St. Paul to let him know he was OK.

    But others weren't. Thai soldiers, Khue Yang's brother told him, used Tasers, tear gas and sticks to get them into border-bound vehicles.

    "Their heads would bleed, and they would just carry them and put them in the cars," Khue Yang said through a translator.

    Khue Yang was one of about 300 area Hmong who converged on St. Paul's Lao Family Community Center on Tuesday to get some word any word about the thousands of refugees who had been forcibly repatriated.

    An overflowing parking lot and standing-room-only crowd included dozens of veterans in uniform, Twin Cities community activists and family members.

    On Dec. 28, the last refugee camp of ethnic Hmong asylum seekers who allied with the U.S. during the Vietnam War was shut down in Pehetchabun, Thailand.

    Its roughly 4,500 Hmong were placed on military trucks and vehicles and shipped to the border and eventually taken into the Laotian town of Paksane.

    Many Hmong, an ethnic minority from Laos' mountains, fought under the CIA to establish a pro-American government during the Vietnam War before the communist victory in 1975.

    Since then, more than 300,000 Lao, mostly Hmong, fled to camps in Thailand.

    Most were repatriated to Laos or resettled in third countries. St. Paul has the largest Hmong population of any city in the United States about 25,000.

    When the camp closed last week, journalists and observers were kept miles away during the operation and have not been allowed near the village since.

    Thai military officials in charge of the operation said that no weapons were used and that the Hmong offered no resistance.

    But that statement was widely disputed Tuesday.

    Hmong in the Twin Cities area who had heard from family members in Laos using hidden cell phones got a different story.

    A couple hundred men were singled out, Khue Yang's brother told him.

    They were tied, separated from their families and put in cages.

    "Some, they would tie their feet and hands for three days. ... No food," Khue Yang said.

    The 79-year-old father-in-law of Victor Yang, of La Crosse, Wis., was in the camp.

    The "ex-CIA soldier," as many Hmong veterans call themselves, was terrified to go back.

    "When he was forced back, he held his hands together to beg ... saying he doesn't want to go," Yang said through a translator.

    "But they tied his hands, threw him into a truck and sent him back."

    Thai soldiers also used tear gas during the operation, said Yang, adding that some of his younger relatives still couldn't see after several days.

    Nhia Paul Moua, of Maplewood, hasn't been able to contact his brother since the day after his family's deportation.

    His 59-year-old brother had time that day to say only a few words from the new camp in Laos.

    "Many ... who did not want to leave were beaten," Nhia Paul Moua said through a translator Tuesday.

    Others were Tased.

    Nhia Paul Moua, like every family member interviewed Tuesday, had no idea where his relatives were headed next.

    Of particular concern to the event's organizers and many attendees was another group of 158 Hmong also shipped to Paksane last week.

    Hmong who had hidden from the Laotian government in the country's jungles until several years ago already identified by the United Nations as "persons of concern" because of the higher chance of repercussions against them, and already approved for asylum were shipped back to Laos with those in the larger camp.

    "The United Nations now has a problem," said Sia Lo, a private attorney and activist based in St. Paul.

    "That sets a grave precedent for other refugees throughout the world on how the U.N. is going to deal with refugees."

    The repatriation of those 158 was illegal, Sia Lo said, because of a tenet of international law known as the "Principle of Non Refoulement," which forbids the deportation of a refugee to a country where they would once again be persecuted.

    "The problem with the law is the enforcement," Sia Lo added, noting that the United Nations has formally inquired on the status of the "persons of concern."

    Tuesday's crowd appeared to agree with him.

    Its first raucous round of applause came when Sia Lo pounded his fist on a lectern set in front of an elevated picture of Hmong leader Gen. Vang Pao and told them, "The United Nations needs to do its job, because no one else knows what to do!"

    The event was organized by the Hmong Diaspora Leadership Council, created in 2008 in part to support Vang Pao's efforts in Laos, according to secretary Mee Vang.

    It now represents multiple Hmong organizations, activists and clan leaders nationwide.

    twincities.com

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bung
    If they went to Australia in a boat they would have just got treated the same.
    If they went to Thailand in a boat they would be towed back out in that boat with the engine removed, with no food or water and left to die.

  22. #47
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    Worries about Hmong deported from Thailand continue here
    January 11, 2010

    Communication from a group of Hmong people deported from Thailand two weeks ago has been both spotty and disturbing, say family members here.

    More than 4,000 Hmong who had been living in a camp in Phetchabun, Thailand, were sent to Laos on Dec. 28.

    Among those deported were 158 who have been identified by the United Nations as refugees because they allied with the United States during the Secret War in Laos.

    Those people were held separately from the larger group.

    Chungsou Her, 50, of Wausau, has family members in the group now in Laos.

    His cousin, Cheng Leng Her, was separated from the group and his family in Thailand.

    Chungsou hadn't heard from Cheng Leng for two weeks, but finally talked to him via cell phone Saturday night.

    Cheng Leng said he had been reunited with his family in Laos, but other Hmong leaders were being held apart from the main group.

    He told Chungsou that they were receiving "counseling."

    Although Cheng Leng was with his family, he was cautious about what he told Chungsou.

    "He was afraid that (Lao authorities) were listening," Chungsou said.

    Several relatives of Pang Chai Yang, 52, of Stevens Point, also were part of the repatriation.

    Yang, who spoke through an interpreter, said he had heard late last week from a cousin who called using a cell phone.

    The cousin said she was being held in a camp in Laos and also reported that some of the group's men, including former soldiers, had been taken away by Lao security forces.

    That's consistent with messages received by Philip Smith, the director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis in Washington, D.C.

    His sources from within the group, also using cell phones, have said many men who were former soldiers have been interrogated and beaten.

    "A number of them have disappeared, and their whereabouts are unknown," Smith said Friday in a telephone interview.

    Smith added that he expected communication between his sources and the United States to end soon because cell phone batteries were running low and Hmong detainees weren't allowed to recharge them.

    Radio Free Asia reported last week that a Lao government spokesman said the concerns for the safety of the Hmong people were groundless, and they would be housed in resettlement villages.

    stevenspointjournal.com

  23. #48
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    yeah - where are the real journalists? Since Jonathan Head left - the rest of us can only wonder. Cap in hand?

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    Thailand's PM defends Hmong deportation

    Thailand's prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva remains adamant the country took all the necessary steps to assist thousands of Lao Hmong deported back to Laos.

    The controversial deportation of more than 4,500 Hmong refugees from Thai camps back to Laos prompted international criticism.

    Human rights groups and bodies such as the United Nations High Commission for Refugees accused the Thai military of preventing international access to the camp in Petchabun province before forcibly sending back the final groups to Laos.

    But Mr Abhisit says he sought assurances from the Lao government about the safety of the refugees.

    "It was no good keeping these people under what really were fairly terrible conditions while at the same time building more distrust between all the countries concerned."

    "We decided that since they were safe, that they were able to return home, that we should send them home."

    radioaustralianews.net.au

  25. #50
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    Eric G John is the US Ambassador to Thailand.

    Lack of transparency thwarted attempts to safeguard Hmong
    Published: 13/01/2010 at 12:00 AM
    Newspaper section: News

    Since the end of the Indochina conflict in 1975, Thailand has been a generous host to hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing conflict and political persecution in the region. Many of these people endured terrible hardships and literally fled for their lives. These people, and the international community, will be forever grateful that Thailand was there in their time of need.

    Thailand was not left to shoulder this burden alone, however, as international agencies stepped in to construct housing, provide medical services and distribute food. Moreover, almost half a million men, women and children who entered Thailand seeking temporary refuge status have been ultimately resettled in the United States and other countries. Most recently, in 2004-2005, the US resettled 14,000 Laotian Hmong who had been sheltered in a temple at Wat Tham Krabok.

    Since that programme, we agreed with the Royal Thai Government to begin large-scale resettlement for the ethnic minority Burmese refugees resident in the nine established camps along the border. Over 50,000 people have left Thailand for new lives in the US since 2005.

    It is against this background of historical generosity and cooperation that the US was disappointed at the Thai decision to deport 4,689 Laotian Hmong asylum seekers back to Laos on Dec 28, 2009, despite clear indications that some in the group required protection. The asylum seekers were divided into two groups: 4,531 detained in an army-run camp in Huay Nam Khao, Phetchabun province, and 158 people in an Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) in Nong Khai province who were recognised by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as Persons of Concern.

    We consulted for many months with our Thai civilian and military partners regarding the best way to identify people who needed protection among the Phetchabun group. We agreed with our Thai friends not to begin a resettlement programme for the entire group, as was done in Wat Tham Krabok, due to the Thai concern that it would act as a magnet for more arrivals from Laos.

    However, we remained concerned that some in the camp had legitimate protection concerns and should not be forced to return. We encouraged participation by UNHCR, the organisation with the international mandate for making such determinations, and informed the Royal Thai Government that we would consider for resettlement in the US any cases referred to us.

    However, the Royal Thai Government denied the UNHCR access to the camp's population. Instead, in January 2008, the Royal Thai Government assured us that it had conducted its own screening process, during which about 800 people were identified as having protection concerns and should not be returned to Laos involuntarily.

    Despite repeated requests, that list of 800 people was never provided to the UNHCR or to any potential resettlement country.

    On Dec 28, 2009 this "screened in" group was returned to Laos, along with others that the Royal Thai Government had determined were economic migrants without protection concerns.

    The lack of transparency during the repatriation process made it impossible to determine if the return was voluntary. At no point were those in need of protection identified to the UN, the United States, or any other resettlement country, even though the US and other resettlement countries were fully prepared to consider for resettlement appropriate cases in need of third-country resettlement.

    The group detained in the Nong Khai immigration detention centre for over three years - which included 87 children - had been screened by UNHCR prior to their imprisonment and determined to have refugee status.

    Under international law, UNHCR-recognised refugees should not be forcibly returned to their country of origin.

    In 2007, UNHCR referred the 158 people to the US (and several other countries) for resettlement. We requested access numerous times to the refugees to begin the resettlement process. However, until the actual day of deportation, that access was denied. By then, it was too late: within several hours of our initial interviews, and with several steps still remaining in the resettlement process, the entire group had been returned to Laos.

    All the refugees we interviewed in Nong Khai told us on Dec 28 that they did not wish to return to Laos, clearly indicating that the return was involuntary.

    The US Refugee Admissions Programme was available to consider referrals of individuals from this community who were deemed to merit refugee status, as it does elsewhere in the world. This message was clearly articulated repeatedly by US officials, including by US Assistant Secretary of State Eric P Schwartz in December 2009, following on the same offer made many times earlier by other US officials.

    As noted above, both the UNHCR and the Royal Thai Government had, indeed, determined that many among this population were in need of protection. And the United States, along with many other countries, stood ready to provide third-country resettlement as an option, but this course was not allowed.

    We understand that hosting vulnerable populations can be a burden. That is why the US continues to help. In Phetchabun, we funded all the food, water, sanitation services and medical care needed for over three years.

    In Nong Khai, we supported the construction of a temporary shelter on the IDC grounds to relieve the overcrowding in the two cells, and to have adequate space for the provision of medical care and educational activities for the many children.

    Despite the regrettable events of Dec 28, I believe that Thailand can return to its historical tradition of providing protection and assistance to vulnerable populations. Doing so should not be considered an unfriendly act by neighbouring countries, but rather adherence to widely respected international principles and norms.

    As we have done in the past, the US is committed to assisting Thailand in this continuing effort.

    Eric G John is the US Ambassador to Thailand.
    Lack of transparency thwarted attempts to safeguard Hmong
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