Friday, August 17, 2007

Hmong Going Back to Laos

Returning Hmong may be forced to stay in govt-designated site

Also known as a mass grave.

Some 8,000 Hmong immigrants from Laos staying in a Thailand holding centre could return home unpunished but some would have to resettle at a prepared location near Vientiane, Lao government spokesman Yong Chantalangsy said.

The issue will be addressed when the Thai-Lao general border sub-committee co-chaired by Lt-Gen Nipat Thonglek and his Lao counterpart Brig-Gen Buasieng Champaphan, meet from Sept 2-4 at the Ban Huay Nam Khao holding centre site in Phetchabun.Mr Yong said the Lao government would not let the immigration problem derail bilateral ties and would guarantee the safety of the Hmong after their return.

''The two countries will not allow the issue of Hmong illegal immigration to undermine our good relations since we have reached a conclusion that these people are not refugees and must be repatriated back to Laos,'' Mr Yong said as he was accompanying a group of Lao journalists to Bangkok.During the sub-committee's visit, a video will be screened at the centre showing how other Hmong had readjusted their lives after returning to Laos, he said.''If they want to come back home, 80% could be reunited with their families where they used to live, but the rest would be lodged at a government-arranged area near Vientiane,'' he said.

A group of US congressmen recently petitioned His Majesty the King to stop the Hmong at the centre from being sent back for fear of their safety.But Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont has said they must return to Laos as the government does not want to entice more Hmong immigrants to come to Thailand in the hope of resettling in a third country.After the end of the war in Laos in 1975, more than 300,000 Lao refugees, mostly Hmong, fighting the Lao People's Revolutionary party, fled to Thailand and later were settled in other countries, mainly the United States.

The Laos Army regularly wipes out Hmong Villages and holds no quarter. The Hmong are really interested in giving up their land so the Laos Generals can grow opium on it. Thus part of the conflict. But no one cares. Certainly not in Hollywood.