Land of Smiles? Not if you are Hmong trying to escape the genocide being waged against you by the Overlords of Laos.
Surayud insists Hmong will be sent back
Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont insists that his government will repatriate Hmong immigrants to Laos to deter more coming in the future and end the burden on Thailand. Gen Surayud was responding to news that some US congressmen had petitioned His Majesty the King to stop the repatriation of around 8,000 Lao-Hmong political refugees now staying in a camp in Phetchabun province.
''We are writing out of urgent concern for the plight of some 8,000 Lao-Hmong political refugees and asylum seekers at Huay Nam Khao, Phetchabun, Thailand, who are in imminent danger of forced repatriation back to the brutal communist regime in Laos that they fled,'' the 13 members of the House of Representatives wrote in the letter.
They asked the King to ''personally intercede to ensure that these and other Lao-Hmong remain in Thailand until they can be resettled in third countries''.
The prime minister said at Government House yesterday that if Thailand continues to be a transit point for Hmong immigrants going to third-party nations, more Hmong people would arrive and that would place a heavy burden on the country.
He said the latest group of Hmong arrived after a group who lived in Saraburi province moved on to the US.
Action had to be taken to end the burden of taking care of the illegal immigrants or the situation would continue, Gen Surayud said.
He promised that the repatriations would be done gradually and human rights would not be violated. His government, through the Foreign Ministry, will ask a neutral member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to supervise the repatriation and help guarantee that the Hmong people will be fairly treated when they are back in Laos.
''The Foreign Ministry is doing what the government has agreed with the neighbouring country,'' Gen Surayud said without elaborating.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sawanit Kongsiri said yesterday that he had not seen the petition from the 13 US congressmen. He confirmed that the government would not take any action that would violate human rights