The international medical charity group Doctors Without Borders has appealed to Thai authorities not to deport the Hmong refugees currently living at a temporary holding camp in Ban Huay Nam Khao in Thailand’s Phetchabun province.
The Paris-based group, who has been the only humanitarian organization providing food and health care to the refugees for the past three years, says the refugees have legitimate asylum claims and that they will face persecution if they are sent back to Laos. The group also urged the United Nations to grant them refugee status.
Lao and Thai authorities, however, have always maintained that the more than 7,500 Hmongs in Ban Huay Nam Khao are illegal immigrants, and have agreed to return them to Laos by the end of 2008.
Listen to our Laos Today report for further details in Lao.