A group of 149 Hmong refugees who have been detained in a Nong Khai immigration jail since last December have gone on a hunger strike to protest their detention in what they call "inhumane" conditions.
The refugees say they do not get enough food or water, and are not allowed to go out of the two cells where they are being held.
Thai authorities were going to deport the refugees last December but suspended the plans on the day of deportation because of international outcries. So the Hmongs were back in detention.
The group was part of the Hmong refugee community at Ban Huay Nam Khao. They escaped from huay Nam Khao upon rumors that Thai authorities would deport all the refugees to Laos, but were captured in November 2006 and sent to Nong Khai to await repatriation to Laos.
Meanwhile, the Lao government stressed the issue of Hmong refugees is a bilateral problem that should be addressed by Laos and Thailand only and there is no need to involve a third party. Laos' spokesman Yong Chanthalangsy made the remarks to Thai reporters in Bangkok last Friday.
Listen to our Laos Today for more details in Lao.