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Hmong Group Urges Lao Regime to End Religious Killings of Christians

8/13/2008 Laos (Press Zoom) In Washington, D.C., Hmong National Development, Inc. (HND), expressed its deep concern about increased religious freedom violations and the persecution and killing of Hmong and Lao Christians in Laos. The Lao Movement for Human Rights (LMHR) has issued a communique.

(PressZoom) – Washington, D.C., August 12, 2008 – In response to an outcry from international religious and human rights organizations and churches, Hmong National Development, Inc. ( HND ), again expressed its deep concern about increased religious freedom violations and the persecution and killing of Hmong and Lao Christians, animists and Buddhists in Laos by the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic ( LPDR ). The Lao Movement for Human Rights ( LMHR ) has issued a statement from France about increased religious persecution in Laos facing Christians and others seeking religious freedom.
Moreover, according to recent reports from Vientiane, Laos, by the Asia service of BosLifeNews, some ninety ( 90 ) Christians in Laos, or more people, including key church leaders, remained missing Saturday, August 9, 2008 as part of an apparent government backed crackdown on Christian worship services in three ( 3 ) provinces of the Southeast Asian nation.
“The LPDR regime is targeting the Laotian and Hmong who live independently in rural, village, mountain or jungle areas outside of the control of the Lao regime�s military and police forces, especially Lao and Hmong Christians, who seek to practice their faith outside of close scrutiny security forces,� stated Jade Her, Deputy Director of Hmong National Development, Inc. ( HND ) in Washington, D.C.
“Thousands of Hmong Christians are being persecuted and targeted by the Lao regime, including many of the Hmong Christian refugees recently forced back to Laos from Ban Huay Nam Khao who have disappeared, or been executed or jailed in re-education camps and prisons in Laos,” Ms. Her said. “Hmong National Development, Inc. is calling upon the LPDR regime in Laos and senior Lao officials, including the military general who control the Politbureau and Central Committee of the Communist party in Laos to end the religious killings and persecution of Lao and Hmong Christians, Buddhists and animists who seek to excercise and conduct their faith and religious practices free from government monitoring and control.”
“Lao and Hmong Christian groups, and independent animist and Buddhist groups, living in hiding in the jungles and mountains of Laos, in many cases seeking religious liberty and religious freedom, are high-priority targets for attack by LPDR and Vietnamese military forces and thousands have been killed and starved to death in recent months and years,” stated Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis ( CPPA ) in Washington, D.C. that closely monitors developments in Laos and Southeast Asia. The CPPA has issued reports earlier this year about increased religious freedom violations and persecution of Lao and Hmong Christians and Buddhist and Animist believers by the LPDR regime.
The Lao Movement for Human Rights ( LMHR ) also issued the following statement on August 4, 2008 from France:
“Laos: New waves of violence against the Christians in 2008 include arrests, intimidation, threats and the use of starvation
Persecution of the religious minorities are going on during this summer 2008 in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic ( LPDR ) where arrests, use of starvation, maltreatments and violences are inflicted against the Christians by the authorities.
According reliable information received by the Lao Movement for Human Rights ( LMHR ) three Christians were arrested at this beginning of August in the province of Savannakhet ( South ), district Ad-Saphangthong, village Bouakham. Mr. Pheng ( 50 years old ) and Mrs. Khanthaly ( 35 years old ) were arrested on August 1st in this village and Mrs. MeeNoy ( 40 years old, mother of 5 children ) arrested on August 2nd. The three persons whom the authorities accused of having held a prayer gathering on Sunday 27 July, are being detained in the prison of Ad-Saphangthong.
More disturbing events have been reported in the same province, district of Ta-Oy, village of Katin , between July 21st and July 25th, 2008. The family of Mr Pew – a Christian, dead on July 21st after having been forced by the local authorities to absorb a great amount of alcohol whereas he normally never touched these drinks – had to pay a fine of 2 millions kips ( about 150 euros ) to the authorities in order to give Mr Pew a Christian funeral.
In this same village, on July 25th, 2008, members of twenty Christian families were arrested and detained in the school of Katin . After several days of threats, intimidation and food privation, 13 families were released after having signed the renunciation of their religion. These 13 families, however, received the order to remain within the village, thus disabling them to carry out all activities necessary to daily life because the rice-fields, the cultivation zones, the river for fishing are located outside the village borders.
The seven other Christians families – those of Misters Khamsay, Nod, Bounsou, Mod, Khamphou, Ue and Boonla -who have refused to deny their religion, are still in detention, under all kinds of threats and food privations.
These facts of another age, show, once more, that freedom of belief remains extremely limited in the LPDR, despite public statements given by the Lao leaders.
The Lao Movement for Human Rights firmly condemns these new violations of the Lao people’s fundamental rights, contrary to the International Conventions signed by the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and contrary to article 30 of the LPDR’s Constitution, on ‘Religious Freedom’.
The Lao Movement for Human Rights strongly urges the LPDR leaders to put an end to religious repression in the country, to immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Pheng, Mrs Khanthaly, Mrs Meenoy, and the seven Christian families in Katin village as well as every prisoner detained because of their opinion or their religious belief.
The Lao Movement for Human Rights calls on the donating countries, especially the European Union and its State Members, the United Nations, the US, Japan, Australia, the ASEAN and the international financial institutions, to reconsider their relations with the LPDR, and to increase their pressure on this totalitarian regime, including through economic means, so that the freedom of belief and the basic rights of the Lao people are fully respected. ”
( –end statement of the LMHR– )
Lao military and security forces, with combat support and troops from Vietnam, have targeted dissident religious, civilian and political groups, including supporters of the peaceful Lao Students Movement for Democracy, for persecution, arrest and armed attack in Laos. Significant numbers of Hmong and Lao Christians have been subjected to imprisonment, torture and summary execution in 2008 as part of Vietnam and Laos joint crackdown within the borders of Laos on religious dissenters seeking freedom of religious outside the control of the LPDR regime and its Public Security, Interior Ministry and Ministry of Religious Affairs.
In recent months, The New York Times, Al Jazeera News and other independent news media and human rights organizations have docum
ented the Darfur and Bosnia-like ethnic cleansing, mass starvation and military attacks in Laos directed at the Hmong people.
Contact: Mr. Paul Xiong
Tele. ( 202 ) 629-0377