Thai authorities say they will apply immigration laws on the Hmong refugees at Huay Namkhao Camp in order to repatriate all of them within the next two months.
Colonel Pasithiphong Moundee, consultant to the special unit of
the Thai 3rd Regional Army in charge of overseeing the Huay Namkhao (HNK)
temporary camp in the Khaokhor District of Phetchaboun Province in northeastern
Thailand, recently confirmed that the next possible legal measure that Thai authorities
will employ to force all Hmong refugees to go back, is to apply immigration laws on them because most of them are unwilling to go back.
Lao and Thai authorities agreed that they will repatriate all HNK refugees to Laos by the end of this year.
However, since Laos will also host the 25th SEA Games in December, it is likely that the repatriationwill be completed within November at the latest, he said.
Previously, through interviews, document screening and witness accouts, Thai authorities found that 92% of the more than 8,000 Hmongs who have entered Thailand and lived at in Ban HNK since 2004, are economic refugees. Therefore, it is possible that only about 8% of them could have been involved with CIA in Laos during the Indochina war.
However, he stressed, this finding is only the initial information, so that it cannot be used as the basis for determining any measures that could be applied to this 8% group of Hmongs. Therefore, the repatriation of all remaining Hmongs at HNK will still be continued according to the plan set forth by the Lao and Thai governments, which states that repatriation of these Hmongs has to be completed by the end of this year.
Since 2007, Lao and Thai authorities have sent over 3,000 HNK Hmongs to Laos. Therefore, there remains about 4,000 at the camp that will be sent back to Laos by the end of this year under Thai immigration law.
Since Thai and Lao authorities consider the HNK residents as illegal immigrants, they do not consent to allow international organizations, particularly the UNHCR, to get involved in anyway at all with the repatriation process.