Click here for Lao version/ຄລິກບ່ອນນີ້ເພື່ອອ່ານພາສາລາວ
High ranking U.S. officials reaffirmed, during a recent visit
to Huay Namkhao (HNK) detention camp in Thailand, that currently the U.S. government
has no policy to accept Hmong refugees for resettlement in America; meanwhile,
HNK Hmong leaders continue to appeal to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to play a part in considering the
HNK refugees’ status.
A delegation from the U.S. State Department led by Mr. Samanuel Witten traveled to the camp at
Ban Huay Nam Khao, Khaokhor District, Phetchaboun Province, in northeastern Thailand,on July 30 to see how the Thai Military has been treating the Hmong refugees there, and met with a group of refugee leaders. After the meeting, a key leader - Mr. Chong Cher Lor - confirmed that his people now have no opportunity to resettle in
America. Moreover, they have to
return to Laos according to the plan set forth by the Lao and Thai governments that have agreed
to complete the repatriation of these Hmongs by the end of this year.
However, he urged Lao and Thai authorities to allow UNHCR representatives to take part in the screening of the refugees' status.
This is because, explained Mr. Chong Cher Lor, in reality the Hmongs at HNK camp comsist of two groups. The first group includes those who used to
serve with CIA and who lived in the jungle of Laos, while the second group consists of ordinary Lao Hmong villagers,
who fled to Thailand for economic reasons; therefore, the
latter group can go back to Laos without any problem. On the other hand, he explained further, the first group, which numbers over two
thousand members, would not be able to return because they were constantly under siege and persecution by Laos' armed forces.
And that was their reason for taking refuge in Thailand.
For their part,
Lao authorities have persistently maintained that there is no such siege or
persecution of the Hmong people in Laos and allegations that such activities took place in Laos are just rumors
made by those who live overseas and have bad intention, aiming to create a
negative image of the Lao government on the international forum.
In addition, during his visit to the HNK camp last February, Brigadier General
Bouaxieng Champaphanh, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Lao Armed Forces, told
Hmong leaders at that the Lao government has changed its policy regarding
the Hmong refugees by forgiving them of any kind of wrongdoings, and will take good care of
all Hmongs who return to Laos.
Songrit Pongern reported from Bangkok on August 04, 2009.
Listen to Songrit's report for more details in Lao. (English translation by
Buasawan Simmala and Dara Baccam.)