The chief of Ban Phalak, a village established by Lao officials in Kasi, province of Vientiane, to accommodate the Hmong refugees who will be repatriated from Thailand, calls on the refugees to voluntarily return home.
Mr. Lao Paosong says returning home is the best option for the refugees, and his village is ready to welcome them back and to help them start a new life.
Since May, Thai authorities have repatriated over 300 Hmong refugees whom they considered illegal immigrants. The refugees have been resettled in Ban Phalak.
There are currently some 8,000 Hmong refugees living in a holding camp in Ban Huay Nam Khao in Thailand's Phetchabun Province, whom Lao and Thai authorities have agreed to repatriate to Laos by the end of 2008. To achieve that goal, the two sides say they will start repatriating about 400 refugees, beginning in October.
Lao officials last month invited foreign journalists to visit the new resettlement village for the returning refugees, to show that they are willing and ready to welcome them back.
Listen to our report for more details in Lao.