The United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc., (ULDL) has released the text of a seven-point international appeal and statement following events it hosted last week in Washington, D.C. that included representatives of the Laotian, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Hmong and Asian-American community The Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) and other non-governmental organizations (NGO) and policymakers were invited to speak and participate in policy events, Capitol Hill meetings and a human rights rally held in front of the Lao Embassy in Washington, D.C. http://www.centerforpublicpolicyanalysis.org
The following is the text of the statement issued by Bounthanh Rathigna, President of the ULDL:
Statement of Bounthanh Rathigna, President United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc. Washington, D.C. November 5-8, 2011 Laos International Policy Conference & Demonstration and Protest Rally In Front of the Lao Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Honored Guests, American policymakers, Members of the U.S. Congress and staff, Fellow Laotian leaders, Lao and Hmong students, fellow NGO and non-profit organization leaders, representatives of the Free Vietnamese Community and other freedom loving people of Asia and America, Ladies and Gentleman, I am Bounthanh Rathigna, President of the United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc. (ULDL) and I welcome you here today at our international policy conference and protest rally and demonstration in front of the Lao Embassy in Washington, D.C.
It is good to see so many friends and supporters from across the country and from Laos gathered here in Washington to discuss the problems of the one-party, corrupt authoritarian regimes in Laos and Vietnam that continue to persecute their own citizens. I deeply appreciate your efforts to discuss and to protest human rights violations in Laos and the dictatorship of the Hanoi-backed Stalinist regime in Laos that continues to imprison and persecute the freedom-loving Laotian people.
We have gathered here in Washington, D.C., to memorialize and remember all of the Laotian, Vietnamese, Hmong and Asian people who continue to suffer human rights violations, religious persecution, torture and harsh imprisonment without due process and the rule of law. We remember and are here to demonstrate against the oppressive corruption and ongoing attacks by the secret police and military forces of the Lao regime in Vientiane, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, against ordinary Lao and Hmong people who seek political, religious and economic freedom for Laos. We especially remember the Lao Student Movement for Democracy protesters of October 26, 1999, who peacefully demonstrated in Vientiane for democracy, human rights and political and economic reform but were arrested and continue to suffer in jail After 12 years they are still suffering in prison in Laos for their beliefs and for their efforts to bring about reform and change in Laos.
We are here to bring attention to and remember the Laotian and Hmong hiding in the jungles and mountains of Laos who continue to suffer military attacks by Vietnam People’s Army Forces and the Lao Army because they wish to live in peace and freedom apart from the Communist regime in Laos’s persecution and religious freedom violations and human rights violations.
We, therefore, are calling for:
1.) An end to the dictatorships in Laos and Vietnam. In Laos, we are calling for the hosting of truly free and fair multi-party elections in Laos monitored by the international community and an end to one-party Communist rule in Laos by the Lao People’s Army, and its military junta, that controls the Politburo in Vientiane;
2.) The immediate withdrawal of all Hanoi-backed army units and secret police of the Vietnam People’s Army that remain on the territory of Laos in support of the Lao communist regime’s (the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party) efforts to oppress and persecute the Laotian and Hmong people and exploit the economic resources of Laos and destroy its environment; We want the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to immediately withdrawal alls its troops, soldiers and police from Laos—as well as its covert security advisors;
3.) An immediate end to illegal logging by Vietnam People’s Army owned companies in Xieng Khouang, Sam Neua, Khammoune, Luang Prabang and other provinces in Laos that is destroying the environment, killing minority peoples such as the Lao Hmong people, and exploiting the natural resources of Laos without just compensation to ordinary Laotians;
4.) Stop the persecution, imprisonment, torture and killing of religious believers in Laos, including dissident Buddhists, minority Catholics, Protestant Christians and independent Animist believers; We, the Laotian people, want true freedom of religion for all Laotians of all religious faiths;
5.) Allow international humanitarian access to, and release, all political prisoners, prisoners of conscience, and foreign prisoners, including the Lao Students for Democracy Movement leaders, Hakit Yang and other two other Lao-Hmong American citizens from St. Paul Minnesota;
6.)Allow international humanitarian access to, and release, the over 8,500 Lao Hmong refugees and asylum seekers who fled persecution in Laos and who were tragically and brutally forced from Huay Nam Khao, Thailand, back to the regime in Laos in 2009 and 2010;
7.) Release the Ban Vang Tao patriots, the Laotian citizens, who were forced back to Laos from Thailand after their courageous efforts to raise the Royal Flag of Laos, the true and traditional flag of Laos, in opposition to the arrest and imprisonment of the Lao Student leaders and in support of freedom for their beloved country of Laos.
At these events in Washington, D.C. and the demonstration and protest in front of the Lao Embassy, we are here to give voice to the millions of suffering people of Laos and Vietnam who continue to live under the brutal Stalinist regimes in Vientiane and Hanoi. We are here to call for freedom and human rights for Laos, Vietnam and all of the people of Asia.
Invited participants and cosponsors included the ULDL, CPPA, United Lao for Human Rights and Democracy (ULHRD), Laos Institute for Democracy, Inc., Lao Students for Democracy, Lao Veterans of America, Inc., Free Vietnam Community, Hmong Advance, Inc., Hmong Advancement, Inc., and other NGOs and Asian-American organizations.
Laotian-American, and Asian-American, delegations from Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, California, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Rhode Island and other states, also attended and participated.
The United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc., (ULDL)