Archive for ‘Congressional about Laos’

February 11, 2013

Laos Should Abide By New European Parliament Resolution, Release Sombath

Press Release,

CPPA:  Laos Should Abide By New European Parliament Resolution, Release Sombath

Washington, D.C., Strasbourg and Paris, France, February 11, 2013

Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA)

The Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA), the Lao Movement for Human Rights (MLDH) the International Federation for Human Rights (IFHR), the United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc. (ULDL), and a coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are hailing the passage  of a resolution by the European Parliament expressing its deep concerns regarding the recent disappearance of Laotian civic activist Sombath Somphone at the hands of Laotian authorities. The international NGOs, joined by scores of Lao and Hmong organizations, are urging Laos to abide by the resolution and immediately release Mr. Sombath.

“We are  encouraged that the terrible plight of Sombath Somphone, who was extra-judicially abducted and disappeared at the hands of Laotian security forces last December,  was discussed at the highest levels of a plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on February 7th,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the CPPA in Washington, D.C.

“The result has been the unanimous and historic passage by the European Parliament of a multi-point resolution expressing its deep concerns regarding the disappearance of Laotian activist Sombath Somphone at the hands of Laotian authorities and calling for the government of Laos to cooperate in the case,” Smith commented.  “We are calling on the Lao government to abide by the European Parliament’s resolution and to respect basic human rights and international law regarding Sombath Somphone’s case.”

“In recent years, significant numbers of Laotian and Hmong political and religious dissidents, as well as ordinary Laotians and U.S. citizens,  have been arrested and disappeared in Laos at the hands of Lao and Vietnamese security forces,” Smith stated. “Other ordinary freedom-loving Laotian people, as well as members of the ethnic Hmong minority, have been tortured, subjected to horrific and deplorable prison sentences, or summarily executed in Laos by the Lao government, often in coordination with the Vietnamese military and secret police sent by Hanoi.”

“It is important to highlight that  Sombath was a humble, yet high-level international figure, and was previously awarded the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership because he returned to his native Laos in 1979 to help farmers, young people and the poor,” Smith concluded.

As a signatory to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, the Lao government has the duty to take all possible means to guarantee the safe return of Sombath,” stated Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH President.

Sombath has merely been involved in education and capacity-building programs for the youth, initiating alternative development models to tackle rural poverty. His disappearance therefore sends a chilling message to the fragile civil society in Laos, said Vanida S. Thephsouvah, President of the MLDH.

The European Union, in its engagement with Lao authorities, should continue demanding for more freedom of expression in the country and the cultivation of a more enabling environment for human rights defenders working on economic, social and cultural rights, including development workers,  Ms. Thephsouvah stated further.

We are grateful for the recent resolution by the European Parliament expressing its deepest concerns about Sombath Somphone,” said Bounthanh Rathigna, President of the ULDL. “Sombath should be immediated released by the Lao authorities to rejoin his family.”

Sombath was a U.S.-educated agronomist. In 2005, he was awarded the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership.

The Center for Public Policy Analysis ( Centre for Public Policy Analysis ) is a non-profit, non-governmental, public policy research organization based in Washington, D.C.  http://www.centerforpublicpolicyanalysis.org

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Contact:

Maria Gomez or Philip Smith

(202)543-1444

Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA)

Washington, D.C.

U.S.A.

February 9, 2013

Laos, Hmong Veterans Burial Honors Bill Introduced in U.S. Senate

Press Release

Date:  February 7th, 2013

Subject:  Laos, Hmong Veterans Burial Honors Bill Introduced in U.S. Senate


http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20130207006579/en/Laos-Hmong-Veterans-Burial-Honors-Bill-Introduced

 

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Representative Jim Costa (D-California), and a bipartisan coalition in the U.S. Congress, are advancing legislation that would grant burial honors to Lao and Hmong-American veterans of the Vietnam War in Laos, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) and leading Lao and Hmong-American organizations.
“Clearly, it is long overdue and important for the U.S. government to proactively recognize and honor the sacrifices of the Lao and Hmong veterans of the ‘U.S. Secret Army,’ especially their critical and unique contribution to U.S. national security interests during the Vietnam War”
“Americans who served and fought and put their lives on the line receive a resting place in our national cemeteries; the men who saved American lives deserve the same honor,” Senator Murkowski stated.
“We are grateful that U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski has introduced new legislation in the U.S. Senate to grant burial honors, and burial benefits, to the Laotian and Hmong veterans who heroically served in the ‘U.S. Secret Army’ in Laos during the Vietnam War,” said Colonel Wangyee Vang, National President of the Lao Veterans of America Institute (LVAI), headquartered in Fresno, California.
“We continue to work, and make progress, on this important effort in Washington, D.C., to honor our fellow Lao and Hmong veterans, their families and the entire Lao and Hmong-American community,” Colonel Vang stated further. “Senator Murkowski’s bill is crucial companion legislation to a counterpart bill in the U.S. House of Representatives authored by U.S. Congressman Jim Costa.”
“We seek to provide our veterans burial benefits at U.S. national veterans’ cemeteries so they can rest with honor and dignity,” Vang commented.
The LVAI has spearhead efforts in Washington, D.C., and across the United States, in support of the initiative to grant burial honors to Lao and Hmong veterans.
“Senator Murkowski’s and Congressman Costa’s historic legislation, if passed in Congress and signed by President Obama, would authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to permit Laotian and Hmong veterans of the Vietnam War in Laos to be buried, or cremated, at U.S. national veterans cemeteries,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the CPPA.
“Clearly, it is long overdue and important for the U.S. government to proactively recognize and honor the sacrifices of the Lao and Hmong veterans of the ‘U.S. Secret Army,’ especially their critical and unique contribution to U.S. national security interests during the Vietnam War,” Smith stated. “America should grant the surviving Lao and Hmong veterans historic burial rights, and honors, at U.S. national veterans’ cemeteries.”
Smith said: “In the previous session of Congress, which ended in December, a bipartisan coalition of 32 Members of Congress in the House cosponsored the ‘Lao Hmong Veterans’ Burial Honors Act,’ H.R. 3192.”
“The Laotian and Hmong veterans’ extraordinary efforts, over the year, to host honorary national recognition ceremonies, in partnership with the U.S. Congress, Arlington National Cemetery, the Department of Veterans of Affairs, and others, remains unique and important,” Smith concluded. “The ‘Lao Hmong Veterans Burial Honors Act’ symbolizes the need to address the debt of honor still owed by America to the veterans and their families.”

Contacts

Center for Public Policy Analysis
Maria Gomez, 202-543-1444
info@centerforpublicpolicyanalysis.org

May 26, 2012

Thank You For Your Service: DEDICATED TO THE U.S. SECRET ARMY IN THE KINGDOM OF LAOS 1961 – 1973

(Danny Johnston/ Associated Press ) – Madeline Grace Wallace, 4, carries flags at the National Cemetery in Little Rock, Ark., Friday, May 25, 2012.

The girl and her mother visited the cemetery to place flags on graves for Memorial Day.

“missing picture”

May 21, 2012

This time of the year, thousands of visitors come from around the world to Arlington National Cemetery to honor and remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Zackary Leetham, pictured, visited Arlington with his family. The Leethams didn’t have a friend or loved one buried at Arlington, but came to honor all others. Photo by 2LT James Wirthlin, USAF.

The story of this Memorial is a story of sacrifice and patriotic valor by American Advisers, Lao and Hmong combat soldiers in the jungles of Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.

In Memory of Legions Lost and the
Soldiers of the Secret War in Laos.
_______________________________________________________

We stand in tribute of forgotten men…for their sacrifice, courage
valor and honor. We honor them by this living memorial…starkly
beautiful in its simplicity, for it stands defiantly alone, as did those
soldiers in their seasons of death. It will serve as a poignant reminder
of our battlefield allies, and is a tribute long overdue to proud Human
endeavor…courage and valor in a long war lost in the unfulfilled hopes
for Southeast Asia.

As the fallen leaves of Autumn
in unregimented ranks,
Countless unrembered soldiers
rest…eternally.
Let us now praise forgotten men…
and some there be,
Which have no memorial;

Who have perished, as though
They had never been.
But they served, they died;
for cause and by happenstance…
Expended in the hopes for Southeast Asia,
and will forever be remembered,
Mourned for their sacrifice.

If by weeping I could change
the course of events,
My tears would pour down ceaselessly
for a thousand Autumns.

Thursday, May 15, 1997
Salute to Lao/Hmong Patriots
& their American Advisers
Arlington National Cemetery

Press Release

U.S. – LAOS, HMONG MEMORIAL DAY EVENTS:  DEDICATED TO THE U.S. SECRET ARMY IN THE KINGDOM OF LAOS

WASHINGTON, May 25, 2012 — National ceremonies and public policy events are being held in Washington, D.C., regarding Laos and Vietnam.

The U.S. Congressional Forum on Laos and Vietnam continues on Capitol Hill following earlier veterans’ memorial services.

Topics of discussion in the U.S. Congress include: economics; trade; hydroelectric dam projects, human rights; religious persecution; refugees; and, veterans’ issues.

“Our people, who were left behind in the jungles of Laos, are still suffering from the causes of the Vietnam War,” said Colonel Wangyee Vang, President of the Lao Veterans of America Institute.

“We have come from across the United States to pay tribute and remember our fallen soldiers who have died to secure the freedom that we all enjoy today,” Vang stated.

“The plight of Lao, Hmong and Vietnamese political and religious dissidents remains of concern to policymakers,” said Philip Smith, Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) in Washington, D.C. “This includes the status of allied veterans who served in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, and their refugee families still suffering in Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam.” http://www.centerforpublicpolicyanalysis.org

“It is also important to note that an official wreath-laying and memorial service, was conducted at the Lao Veterans of America (LVA) monument in Arlington National Cemetery, on May 11, to honor the Lao and Hmong veterans, their families, as well as the American clandestine advisors, who served in defense of the Kingdom of Laos, and U.S. national security interests, during the Vietnam War,” Smith continued.

“A U.S. Department of Defense Joint Armed Forces Honor Guard, U.S. Army wreath-bearer, and bugler, helped lead the ceremony,” stated Smith.

“Following the wreath-laying ceremony at the LVA memorial in Arlington, the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) honor guard also posted colors, and a bugler played ‘Taps’, in memory of the Lao and Hmong veterans and their American military and clandestine advisors…,” Smith commented.

“I am very honored, and pleased, that we are once again gathered here…,” said historian Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt.

Flowers were laid at a memorial ceremony held at the Vietnam War Memorial on May 12.

Participants discussed H.R. 3192, legislation introduced by U.S. Congressmen Jim Costa (D-CA) and Frank Wolf (R-VA), to grant burial benefits to Lao and Hmong-American veterans at U.S. national cemeteries.

Arlington memorial service cosponsors include: LVAI; CPPA; LVA; the U.S. DOD; Army; Air Force; Arlington National Cemetery; Counterparts; Hmong Advance, Inc.; Hmong Advancement, Inc.; and, Members of the U.S. Congress.

Speakers, and those providing statements, at the Arlington ceremonies include: Wangyee Vang, LVAI; Philip Smith, CPPA; Mike Benge, former POW; Hugh Tovar, Former CIA Station Chief, Laos; Toua Kue, LVA; Jane Hamilton-Merritt; D. L. Hicks, U.S. Special Forces Association; Christy Lee, Hmong Advance, Inc.; U.S. Congressman Jim Costa; and, other Members of the U.S. Congress.

The events also commemorate National Lao and Hmong Recognition Day, and Vietnam Human Rights Day, marked annually in May.

SOURCE: Center for Public Policy Analysis

Center for Public Policy Analysis:

Maria Gomez

or

Philip Smith 202-543-1444

May 19, 2012

National Laos, Hmong Policy Events Continue in Washington

News Release

National Laos, Hmong Policy Events Continue in Washington

2012-05-17 23:40:53 -

May 17, 2012, Washington, D.C.

National memorial ceremonies and public policy events are being held in Washington, D.C., to highlight the service, and ongoing plight, of Lao and Hmong veterans who served in Laos during the Vietnam War.

We have come from across the United States to pay tribute and remember our fallen soldiers who have died to secure the freedom that we all enjoy today said Colonel Wangyee Vang, President of the Lao Veterans of America Institute.”  “It is also important to remember that our people, who were left behind in the jungles of Laos, are still suffering from the causes of the Vietnam War Vang stated.

Events are continuing in the U.S. Congress this week, regarding domestic and international policy matters of concern, including veterans, human rights, refugee, religious persecution and economic issues.

On May 11, a wreath-laying and memorial service, was conducted at the Lao Veterans of America (LVA) monument in Arlington National Cemetery to honor the Lao and Hmong veterans, their families, as well as the American clandestine advisors, who served in defense of the Kingdom of Laos, and U.S. national security interests, during the Vietnam War. www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1205/S00337/laos-hmong-veterans-honore ..

“I am very honored and pleased that we are once again gathered here today at Arlington said Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt, a Southeast Asia scholar, journalist, and author of the book “Tragic Mountains: The Hmong, The Americans and the Secret Wars for Laos.” www.tragicmountains.org

“A U.S. Department of Defense Joint Armed Forces Honor Guard, U.S. Army wreath-bearer, and bugler, participated in the ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery to assist in honoring the Lao and Hmong veterans and their families said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) in Washington, D.C. www.centerforpublicpolicyanalysis.org

“Following the official wreath-laying ceremony at the Lao Veterans of America memorial in Arlington, the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) honor guard also posted colors, and the bugler played ‘Taps in memory of the Lao and Hmong veterans and their American military and clandestine advisors” Smith observed.

“With covert American assistance, Lao and Hmong special forces operated in defense of the Kingdom of Laos and U.S. national security interests Smith commented.

Flowers were laid at a memorial ceremony held at the Vietnam War Memorial on May 12.

Event speakers are highlighting the importance of legislation (H.R. 3192), introduced by U.S. Congressmen Jim Costa (D-CA), and Frank Wolf (R-VA), to grant burial benefits to Lao and Hmong-American veterans at U.S. national cemeteries.

Event cosponsors include the LVAI, CPPA, LVA, the U.S. DOD, Army, Air Force, Arlington National Cemetery, Counterparts, Hmong Advance, Inc., Hmong Advancement, Inc., and Members of the U.S. Congress.

Speakers at the veterans’ memorial events include: Wangyee Vang, LVAI; Philip Smith, CPPA; Jane Hamilton-Merritt; Mike Benge, former POW; Hugh Tovar, Former CIA Station Chief, Laos; Toua Kue, LVA.; D. L. Hicks, U.S. Special Forces Association, Texas;
Christy Lee, Hmong Advance, Inc.; U.S. Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA); and, Members of the U.S. Congress.

The events also commemorate National Lao and Hmong Recognition Day ceremonies held annually in May.

Contact:
Maria Gomez or Philip Smith
Center for Public Policy Analysis
2020 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Suite 220
Washington, DC 20006
USA
Telephone: (202) 543-1444
info@centerforpublicpolicyanalysis.org

May 14, 2012

News Advisory — Laos, Hmong Veterans Honored At Arlington National Cemetery

Laos, Hmong Veterans Honored At Arlington National Cemetery

May 12, 2012, Washington, D.C., and Arlington, Virginia

Memorial and wreath-laying ceremonies are being held in Washington, D.C., Arlington National Cemetery, and the U.S. Congress, to honor Lao and Hmong veterans of the “U.S. Secret Army” in Laos, their American clandestine advisors, and their refugee families in the United States and Southeast Asia.

“We have come from across the United States to pay tribute and remember our fallen soldiers who have died to secure the freedom that we all enjoy today,” said Colonel Wangyee Vang, National President of the Lao Veterans of America Institute, headquartered in Fresno, California.

“It is also important to remember that our people, who were left behind in the jungles of Laos, are still suffering from the causes of the Vietnam War,” Colonel Vang stated.

Flowers will be laid at the Vietnam War Memorial today, May 12, 2012, at 11:30 A.M., to honor and remember the Lao and Hmong veterans and their refugee families who served in Laos during the Vietnam War and its aftermath.

On Friday, May 11, a special wreath-laying ceremony and memorial service was conducted at the Lao Veterans of America monument at Arlington National Cemetery.

“I am very honored and pleased that we are once again gathered here today at Arlington National Cemetery, as we first did in 1997, at this monument and tree that are dedicated to the Lao and Hmong veterans and their American advisors,” said Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt, Laos and Hmong scholar.

“This is a sacred and solemn place where we are gathered to help honor the Lao and Hmong veterans and their families at Arlington National Cemetery,” stated Dr. Hamilton-Merritt who is a historian, journalist and author of the book “Tragic Mountains: The Hmong, the Americans and the Secret Wars for Laos.”

“As part of the annual commemoration of the Lao and Hmong Veterans National Recognition Day Ceremonies, we are gathered to place flowers at the apex of the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C.,” Dr. Hamilton-Merritt concluded.

“A U.S. Department of Defense Joint Armed Forces Honor Guard, U.S. Army wreath-bearer, and bugler, participated in the ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery to assist in honoring the Lao and Hmong veterans,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Washington, D.C. –based Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA).  http://www.centerforpublicpolicyanalysis.org

Smith continued: “Following the official wreath-laying ceremony at the Lao Veterans of America memorial in Arlington National Cemetery, the U.S. Department of Defense’s honor guard also posted colors, and the bugler played ‘Taps,” in memory of the Lao and Hmong veterans and their American military and clandestine advisors, who served in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.”

“Lao and Hmong special forces who served in combat in Laos during the Vietnam War were backed by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Army Special Forces, operating in a largely covert fashion in defense of the Kingdom of Laos during the conflict,” Smith stated.

“We are grateful to Arlington National Cemetery, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Army and Members of Congress, for their efforts in support of the national memorial ceremonies to honor Lao and Hmong veterans and their American advisors,” Smith commented.

Participants and speakers at the ceremonies are highlighting the importance of pending legislation introduced by U.S. Congressmen Jim Costa (D-CA), and Frank Wolf (R-VA), to grant burial benefits at U.S. national veterans’ cemeteries to Lao and Hmong veterans.  Meetings and policy events are also being held in the U.S. Congress regarding issues of concern, including H.R. 3192, the Lao Hmong Veterans Burial Benefits Act.

Cosponsors of the events include the Lao Veterans of America Institute (LVAI), the Lao Veterans of America, Inc., the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA), the U.S. Department of Defense, Arlington National Cemetery, U.S. Army Military District of Washington, Hmong Advance, Inc., Hmong Advancement, Inc. and Members of the U.S. Congress.

Keynote speakers, and those providing statements at the veterans memorial events, include: Colonel Wangyee Vang, LVAI; Philip Smith, Executive Director, CPPA; Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt, Southeast Asian scholar; Mike Benge, former POW/MIA and Counterparts Veterans’ Association member; Hugh Tovar, Former CIA Station Chief, Laos; Toua Kue, Former Royal Lao Army officer, Lao Veterans of America, Inc.; D. L. Hicks, U.S. Special Forces Association, Texas; Christy Lee, Hmong Advance, Inc.; Members of the U.S. Congress: and, Congressional staff.

Lao and Hmong veterans and their families from Virginia, Maryland, California, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Texas, Oklahoma,  North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Alabama, and other states, are participating in the Washington, D.C. national veterans’ memorial events.

The events also marked Lao and Hmong Veterans National Recognition Day events held in May of each year by the Laotian and Hmong community across the United States and in Washington, D.C.

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Contact:

Maria Gomez or Philip Smith, CPPA

(202) 543-1444

info@centerforpublicpolicyanalysis.com

or

Mr. Yer Vang or Mr. Xiong

Lao Veterans of America Institute

(559) 252-3921

Related:

Arlington Cemetery Hosts Lao and Hmong Ceremonies

2012-05-12 20:46:39 – “A U.S. Department of Defense Joint Armed Forces Honor Guard, U.S. Army wreath-bearer, and bugler, participated in the ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery to assist in honoring the Lao and Hmong veterans,” said Philip Smith …PR Inside ·

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