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Laos Rejects Monitoring Of Hmong Return

ICC Note: The Laotian government refuses to let a third party oversee the repatriation of Laotian refugees who are seeking asylum, some due to persecution for their faith.

8/18/07 Laos (NationMultimedia) – Laos Thursday rejected an idea suggested by Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont to have a “third party” monitor the repatriation of more than 7,500 Hmong refugees.

Lao spokesman Yong Chanthalangsy said a joint subcommittee of border security officials would discuss the issue at a meeting from September 24 in Phetchabun’s Ban Huay Nam Khao, where nearly 8,000 Hmong refugees have taken shelter…

Surayud suggested recently that Thailand and Laos should allow a third party, possibly an Asean member, to monitor the repatriation of the Hmong. This would demonstrate transparency and respect for human rights in front of the international community, he said.

However, Yong said: “As long as the two countries can solve the problem together peacefully, we see no necessity for another party.”

Hmong groups in the US and members of the Congress have voiced concern about plans to return refugees at Huay Nam Khao, because there would be no independent screening to determine who have legitimate claims to refugee status and wellfounded fears of persecution or mistreatment if returned. Vientiane has so far refused to allow any form of monitoring by the UNHCR or outside parties….

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