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ICC NOTE: The Hmong people, and indigenous ethnic group located in Laos, Vietnam, and China, have been the targets of persecution and discrimination since the Vietnam War. During the war, the Hmong people support U.S. efforts in attempting to thwart Vietnam’s push into Laos. As a result the Communist regimes of Vietnam and Laos have directly targeted the indigenous territory with land confiscation, torture, imprisonment, denial of rights, and death. The Hmong people are predominately animists and Christians which places them in a difficult position with the communist regime. Religious activity is typically stopped and Christians are targeted merely for practicing their faith. In 2013 a Hmong Christian pastor, Vam Ngaij Vaj, was beaten to death by police.

04/11/2016 Laos (UNPO) – Reports from Laos indicate that the Lao military, with the assistance of Vietnam, is conducting a sustained incursion into the Hmong ChaoFa Indigenous community’s territory, isolated areas where many Hmong have fled to avoid persecution at the hands of the regime. The regime has been accused of expropriating the Hmong territory for economic benefit. The leader of the Hmong in the affected region, Mr Chong Lor Her, has called on the international community to provide immediate humanitarian assistance to the Hmong people.

Reports have emerged of an ongoing incursion by the Laotian military into the Hmong ChaoFa Indigenous community’s territory in the Phou Bia region of Laos. Phou Bia, the highest mountain in Laos, is located in the Annamese Cordillera, at the southernmost end of the Xiangkhoang Plateau in Xiangkhouang Province. Many Hmong fled to mountainous and jungle regions of Laos in an attempt to seek refuge from continuing persecution and violence, and it is estimated that between 2000-12000 Hmongs are still displaced in these remote areas.

During the Vietnamese war, the Hmong people were recruited by US forces to counter the invasion of Northern Laos, and to this day are subject to continued discrimination manifesting in routine violations of their basic rights, including uncompensated land confiscation, arbitrary arrests and denial of their economic, social and cultural rights. These abuses are exacerbated by the oppressive and authoritarian nature of the ruling Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPDR), whose regime is responsible for the suppression of freedoms of expression and association, arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances. The ruling party are also accused of using rural development and poverty alleviation as a pretense for an increase in environmentally unsustainable activities in Hmong territory, including dam building projects and illegal wood logging.

According to the Hmong community, the incursion into their territory began in November 2015 and since then the situation has deteriorated. Sources say that there are currently 300 Lao soldiers and one military tank stationed in Muang Om, along the road from Moung Ong to Moung Cha, and one military base in Moung Cha. The US embassy in Vientiane has issued a travel warning for some of the affected areas, including Phou Bia and Moung Cha. Furthermore, it is claimed that the Vietnamese military are assisting in controlling the area of Ha Qhoua, south of Phong Savan. Vietnam, along with Thailand, have collaboration agreements with Laos that involve the forced repatriation of Hmong refugees along with joint military campaigns within Laos to target Hmong communities seeking refuge in jungle areas.

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