Click here for Lao version/ຄລິກບ່ອນນີ້ເພື່ອອ່ານພາສາລາວ
Thai authorities reaffirm
that they will employ any possible measures, as appropriate, to repatriate all Hmong
refugees from Huay Namkhao (HNK) detention camp to Laos and close the camp by the end of this
Colonel Pasithiphong Moundee , a consultant to the special unit of the Thai 3rd Regional Army, who is
in charge of the Huay Namkhao temporary camp in the Khaokhor District of
Phetchaboun Province in northeastern Thailand, confirmed that Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya has set
forth a policy, and commanded the special unit of the Thai 3rd Regional Army, to employ
any possible measures, as appropriate, to return all Hmongs in HNK camp to
Laos and to close the camp completely by the end of 2009.
that whatever measures his military will take will aim at achieving the goal
of implementing the agreement reached by the Lao and Thai governments that they will work together to complete the repatriation of all
Hmongs refugees by the end of this year.
Colonel Pasithiphong further said that, from now until the end of the year, those Hmongs who till have not made the decision to voluntarily go back to Laos will have to be considered as illegal immigrants. And that means that Thai authorities will apply immigration laws to those Hmongs, which will enable them to send them back to Laos immediately. He said that is the only measure Thai authorities can use in order to accomplish their goal of sending all Hmongs at HNK camp back to Laos.
Moreover, on August 7, a high-ranking Lao delegation led by Brigadier General Bouaxieng
Champaphanh, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Lao Armed Forces, visited Huay
Namkhao camp for the second time, to meet with key leaders of Hmongs refugees in an effort to persuade all Hmongs to voluntarily return to Laos. He told the Hmong leaders that the Lao
government has changed its policy regarding the Hmong refugees by forgiving them
of any kind of crimes or offenses, and will take good care of them as well as guarantee the
safety of all Hmongs who return to Laos.
However, even this visit is
unlikely to bring a significant result considering that since his last visit, back
in February, there have been only 1,000 Hmongs who returned to Laos,
while there are more than 4,600 remaining in the camp. It is apparent that these Hmongs do not believe
in Brigadier General Bouaxieng's assurance; hence, they request that UNHCR representatives take part
in the screening of the refugees' status to consider which group of Hmongs should
be repatriated and which one should be allowed to stay.