Posts tagged ‘Lao’

April 13, 2014

Thailand’s ethnic melting pot curdles amid regional political divisions

 

Thailand’s ethnic melting pot curdles amid regional political divisions

Published: April 14, 4:13 AM

LAMPHUN (Thailand) — Each time Mr Muean Chimoon leaves his wooden house in northern Thailand, he pays homage to a portrait of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, a father figure and long a symbol of national unity.

“We have a King who loves everyone,” said Mr Muean, a retired bus driver who exudes the renowned cheerful insouciance of rural Thailand.

But when the conversation turns to politics, Mr Muean’s smile disappears. He lashes out at the “arrogance” of protesters in Bangkok who want to overthrow Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s government, which has overwhelming support in the north and north-east.

“Bangkok has always wanted to choose their own Prime Minister,” Mr Muean said. “They don’t care what northern people think — they just care about themselves.”

Thailand is the land of the Thais, of course — but also of the Lanna, Lao, Mon, Malay, Khmer and Chinese, among other ethnic groups subsumed into the country over the centuries.

Eight years into Thailand’s political crisis over the influence of the Prime Minister’s family, some of those ethnic identities are resurfacing. The country’s political divisions roughly follow the outlines of ancient kingdoms and principalities, rekindling bygone impulses for greater autonomy from Bangkok.

“I’ve never seen the country this divided,” said local council member Ponganand Srisai in Baan Nong Tun, a rice-farming north-eastern village.

Banners on the roads calling for secession have been among the most extreme expressions of the north’s bitterness toward Bangkok. The Lanna kingdom, including Lamphun, was annexed by Bangkok in 1899. For decades, its people have spoken a dialect distinct from the Thai officially recognised and promoted by the central government. At the time of annexation, the region had its own written language, which used a different alphabet from Thai.

Prominent commentator Tanet Charoenmuang, a proponent of greater autonomy for northern Thailand, said northerners perceive government institutions as favouring the capital at the expense of the provinces.

“Thailand has been an overcentralised state, and a sense of localism is quietly re-emerging,” Mr Tanet said.

The army appears to have taken the notion of secession very seriously, vowing to investigate and bring legal action against anyone advocating leaving Thailand. The reign of King Bhumibol, who was crowned in 1950, has long cemented Thai identity. The King, now ailing, and his absence from civic life has added to a sense that the country has lost its rudder.

Three governments supported by northern and north-eastern voters have been removed from power since 2006, one — Ms Yingluck’s brother Thaksin’s — by a military coup and two in highly-politicised court judgments. In the past months, protesters in Bangkok have demanded the overthrow of the government and a reduction in the influence of the Shinawatra clan, which is from the northern city of Chiang Mai.

The prospect that a fourth democratically elected government could be removed by the courts in coming weeks has been met by seething anger in villages across the north and northeast. Protest leaders call government supporters “buffaloes,” an insult connoting upcountry ignorance.

Mr Ponganand describes southerners, who on some days make up the bulk of protesters, as extremists.

Government supporters say a sense of solidarity has emerged between northern Thailand and the vast northeastern Isaan plateau, where the maternal tongue, a form of Lao, is similar to the Lanna language of the north.

Ms Chalida Chusirithanakit from the north-east, says the current round of protests has kindled “a real sense of pride in being Isaan people,” especially among the government’s Red Shirts supporters. “They feel they have struggled and have been oppressed for a long time,” she said.

Support for Ms Yingluck and her party is so strong in Maha Sarakham province that “even a dog in a red shirt could run in an election and win,” she added. The New York Times

 

February 26, 2014

Press Release: U.S. Senate Slated To Vote On Laos, Hmong Veterans Burial Honors Bill

U.S. Senate Slated To Vote On Laos, Hmong Veterans Burial Honors Bill, Reports CPPA

Center for Public Policy Analysis

For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON, D.C./EWORLDWIRE/Feb. 25, 2014 — The U.S. Senate is pressing a major omnibus veterans bill forward today for potential consideration that contains legislation to assist Lao- and Hmong-American veterans of the Vietnam War in Laos who are seeking burial rights and honors at U.S. national veterans cemeteries.

“S. 1982, ‘The Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act,’ introduced by Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT), is scheduled for a cloture vote today by the Senate and potential debate on the bill. This comprehensive veterans’ bill contains historic and important language adopted and rolled-in from earlier legislation regarding Lao- and Hmong-American veterans’ burial and honors benefits, including S. 944 and S. 200,” said Philip Smith, executive director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) in Washington, D.C.

“Unfortunately, many Lao- and Hmong-American veterans who served in America’s covert theater of operations during the Vietnam War are dying across the United States without the benefit of being recognized or honored for their extraordinary military and clandestine service.

“Having saved the lives of many U.S. soldiers and aircrews, these forgotten veterans deserve to be buried with dignity at U.S. national veterans’ cemeteries, with military honors, for their unique service as part of the ‘U.S. Secret Army’ defending U.S. national security interests and the “Royal Kingdom of Laos”, pivotal in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam conflict.

“The effort to further honor, and review, the Lao- and Hmong-American veterans’ service, is being spearheaded by Chairman Bernie Sanders, Vice Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC), Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mark Begich (D-AK), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jack Reed (D-RI), and others.

“Congressmen Jim Costa (D-CA) and Paul Cook (R-CA), along with over 30 Members of Congress, have also introduced bipartisan legislation in the House regarding granting Lao- and Hmong-American veterans’ burial honors at national cemeteries administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs,” Smith concluded.

“We are strongly urging the U.S. Congress, as soon as possible, to pass and help implement crucial legislation to help those Lao- and Hmong veterans still surviving from the Vietnam War, along with their families in the United States,” said Colonel Wangyee Vang, president of the Lao Veterans of America Institute (LVAI), headquartered in Fresno, Calif.

“‘The Lao- and Hmong Veterans Burial Honors Bill’ was introduced in 2012, and again in early 2013, as S. 200, by Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

“We are very thankful that legislation is advancing in the U.S. Senate and Congress to seek to grant burial honors and benefits to our veterans at national veterans cemeteries administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs,” Vang stated.

The CPPA, LVAI and Lao Veterans of America, Inc., provided testimony before the Senate Veterans Affairs’ Committee in May and June of 2013, during Committee hearings and markup sessions on the plight of Lao and Hmong veterans and pending veterans’ benefits legislation.

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CONTACT:
Jade Her, Maria Gomez or Philip Smith
Center for Public Policy Analysis
2020 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20006
PHONE. 202-543-1444

November 4, 2013

PRESS RELEASE: Vietnam, Laos: Officials Involved in Abduction, Trafficking, and Sex Slavery of Women, Children

PRESS RELEASE

Center for Public Policy Analysis

 

 

 

 

Vietnam, Laos: Officials Involved in Abduction, Trafficking, and Sex Slavery of Women, Children

November 02, 2013 01:19 PM EST

 

WASHINGTON & HANOI, Vietnam–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Ethnic Hmong, Lao and Montagnard girls, including children, are being abducted and forced into marriage and prostitution at an alarming rate by corrupt government and military officials in Vietnam and Laos according to statements issued jointly today by non-governmental organizations.

 

The Lao Human Rights Council, Inc., (LHRC) and the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) are issuing a statement of concern about the increasing role of government and military officials in the abduction and violent trafficking of women and children in Vietnam, Laos and Southeast Asia.

 

“The growing problem of institutional violence, abduction, forced marriage, abuse, sexual exploitation and human trafficking directed against minority Hmong and Lao women and children by corrupt government and military officials is especially egregious in the border areas of Laos and Vietnam, including Vietnam’s province of Nge Anh bordering Laos’ Xiang Khouang province,” said Philip Smith of the CPPA in Washington, D.C., which focuses on human rights issues. http://www.centerforpublicpolicyanalysis.org

 

Smith continued: “In areas in Vietnam and Laos, ethnic Lao and minority Hmong and Montagnard girls, and children, are being abducted and forced into a life of violent abuse and sex slavery by government and military officials. Many girls and women suffer unspeakable cruelty, rape and domestic violence, or are trafficked internationally. Minority Christians are especially being targeted. The unfortunate victims are sometimes murdered or commit suicide as a result.”

 

According to Vaughn Vang, President of the LHRC: “We recently received tragic information about a 17 year old Vietnamese Hmong girl, Miss Pang Nhia Lor (Paaj Nyiag Lauj), who lives in the Ky Son District area of Nge Anh Province in Vietnam, bordering Laos. On October 16, two men who are local high-ranking communist and government provincial leaders from other Hmong villages forced the poor young girl into marriage and abducted her from the village area of Ban Nam Khyen Xa Nam. The men stated their names as Doua Yang (Nruas Yaaj) and his father Nhia Vws Yang (Nyiaj Vws Yaaj). They visited Miss Pang Nhia Lor’s parents’ residence and misused their authority by forcing Pang Nhia’s parents to sell her to them as Doua’s wife against the girl’s and parents’ will.”

 

Vang stated: “During their conversation with the government officials who demanded the girl for forced marriage, Pang Nhia’s alarmed parents put her in a small room in their house and told her to stay put. While in the room, Pang Nhia overheard Nhia Vws Yang stating that Doua demanded to buy Pang Nhia to be his wife. Pang Nhia managed to escape from the room and ran outside. Doua and his father heard Pang Nhia leave and ran after her. The two men chased her and wrestled her to the ground in the mud. They then forcefully took her, covered in mud, blood and tears, to their car and drove away.

 

“After the government officials drove away in their car, they arrived at Doua Yang’s house. Doua tied Pang Nhia’s hands with a rope and locked her in his bedroom. Pang Nhia is being continually abused by Doua Yang, both sexually and physically, on a daily basis. Doua has also threatened Pang Nhia that he will continue to abuse her until she consents to marry him.

 

“We are, therefore, urging an immediate investigation and international intervention to help save the life of this innocent Vietnamese Hmong girl, and other girls, and children, like her in Vietnam and Laos,” Vang concluded.

 

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Contacts

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

 

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20131102005033/en/Vietnam-Laos-Officials-Involved-Abduction-Trafficking-Sex

August 19, 2012

Laotians renew call for freedom in homeland

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  http://www.lowellsun.com/local/ci_21348997/laotians-renew-call-freedom-homeland
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By Marie Donovan , Sun Correspondent
Updated:   08/19/2012 06:59:54 AM EDT

LOWELL — Nicholas Sounphale still misses his native country, Laos.

“The country is so beautiful, so lovely,” Sounphale said.

The Littleton resident was one of about 60 people from near and far who attended the Eighth Anniversary Celebration of the Lao Heritage and Freedom Flag at City Hall on Saturday. Posters set up in front of the building bore photos of ancient Laotian treasures, including glistening Buddhist temples, intricately woven baskets of various shapes and sizes, gold statues and finely carved wooden musical instruments and textile-making utensils.

Sounphale, a now 50-year-old research and development technician who emigrated here in 1980, said despite his love for Laos, he was not in favor of the Communist government that took over in 1975.

The event celebrated the contributions of Laotians to the Lowell area while offering speakers a chance to advocate for peaceful change back home to re-install a democratic form of government. It was emceed by Linkham Xaylitdet of The Laotian Community of Lowell. It drew local officials like Mayor Patrick Murphy and City Councilors Rita Mercier and Vesna Nuon, along with native Laotians from as far as Germany.

“The Laotian community of Lowell stands in solidarity with their brothers and sisters in Laos,” Murphy said.

Also in attendance to show their support were several Vietnamese immigrants who have served with the US Army Veterans Support Command and several Bangladeshi American officials.

“Thanks to the warm open arms and generous helping hands of the U.S. Government and the American people, we the Laotian Americans are who we are today: independent, free and law-abiding contributive citizens,” said United Lao Political Organization President Khamthene Chinyavong, expressing his gratitude to state officials for allowing them to uphold the Lao National Flag and the Lao Freedom and Heritage Flag so they can share their celebration with the city and the community.

The Lao Heritage and Freedom Flag features three white elephant heads on a red background.

The background represents the courage of Laotian kings and commoners who, despite hailing from 68 ethnic groups, managed to build a unified nation that they defended and protected from invaders for seven centuries, according to Bounthone Chanthalavong-Wiese, president of Alliance for Democracy in Laos.

The white elephant heads, which peer out from a white nine-level parasol, represent the pure beauty of both the land and culture of Laos, said Chanthalavong-Wiese, adding that the parasol represents the levels a person would need to climb, spiritually speaking, to reach the pinnacle that represents the heavens and Mount Meru, which Laotians tend to revere as the center of the universe.

The flag “illustrates the abundance of elephants in the country, hence ‘Lan Xang:’ the land of a million elephants,” said Chantalavong-Wiese, who said about 14 percent of the Laotian population, or more than 500,000 people, had emigrated to other countries to find safety and freedom after the Communist Party replaced the ruling constitutional monarchy.

Among them were Alygnaphon “Alit” Chanthala, who came to the event from Connecticut. Chanthala, now 34, was a leader of the student democracy movement in Laos in 1999. He said he emigrated here to join his sister after watching Communist officials attempt to arrest protesters at a rally he attended back home. Chanthala said he still misses family members back home, but that he is thankful he was able to start a new life here.

Related photos:

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Credited to Khampoua Naovarangsy

December 14, 2011

Robert Jambon: A Bold Life & Death For Laos and Hmong

Press Release: Centre for Public Policy Analysis

Robert Jambon: A Bold Life & Death For Laos and Hmong

Wednesday, 14 December 2011, 1:20 pm
Press Release: Centre for Public Policy Analysis

December 13, 2011, Washington, D.C., Paris, France, Bangkok, Thailand and Vientiane, Laos

Le Colonel Robert Jambon

The Center for Public Policy Analysis, and a coalition of Lao and Hmong non-governmental organizations (NGOs), have issued a statement today honoring the life and legacy of retired French Colonel Robert Jambon and his valiant fight for human rights and freedom for the Laotian, Hmong and Vietnamese people. The NGOs also expressed their condolences to the Jambon family. According to his final statements as reported recently by an investigation concluded by French police, Colonel Jambon sacrificed himself in Dinan, France, as a veteran of the Indochina war, where he took his own life in seeking to bring international attention to the ongoing persecution and killing of the Lao Hmong people in Laos, Vietnam and Thailand.

“The Lao and Hmong veterans salute the supreme sacrifice of Colonel Robert Jambon in seeking to offer up his life to help bring international attention to the ongoing military attacks, and human rights violations in Laos and Vietnam, directed against freedom-loving people, including the Hmong,” said Colonel Wangyee Vang, National President of the Lao Veterans of America Institute (LVAI), the largest Laotian and Hmong non-profit veterans organization in the United States ,with chapters and members in France and internationally.

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“Colonel Jambon wanted to help to save our Lao and Hmong people and the refugees, and ordinary people, who are being persecuted now in Laos by the military and communist regime,” Colonel Wangyee Vang stated.

“Colonel Jambon is a hero to our Laotian and Hmong people; He recently killed himself in France as an dramatic and important international statement of protest to try to help our people and to try to save those in the jungles and refugee camps in Laos and Thailand who have fled terrible religious and political persecution, genocide and bloody military attacks,” Wangyee Vang said.

“The Laotian and Hmong people will never forget Colonel Robert Jambon for his sacrifices in defense of the Royal Kingdom of Laos during the Indochina war and his efforts to bring awareness about the plight of Laotians and Hmong people who are the victims of human rights violations,” said Bounthanh Rathigna, President of the United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc. (ULDL).

“Colonel Robert Jambon’s life, and recent suicide in France, is an important and symbolic act of selfless love, and of calculated moral war, against systemic injustice and oppression that continues to be directed against thousands of innocent people in Laos, including the Hmong minority,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) in Washington, D.C.

“Robert Jambon’s final tragic act of love, and war, for the forgotten nation of Laos, and the persecuted Lao Hmong minority people there, has been heard in Washington, D.C. and has resonated with many in the Laotian community around the world,” Smith observed.

The CPPA continues to document human rights violations in Laos and Southeast Asia regard the Hmong and other peoples. Thousands of Hmong from Vietnam were arrested, or killed, earlier this year by the Vietnam Peoples’ Army (VPA) in Dien Bien province after staging peaceful gatherings and protests. Hmong Christians in Laos have suffered increased persecution, atrocities and attacks by the Lao military and VPA forces. http://www.centerforpublicpolicyanalysis.org

“Despite the indifference of the international community, the war in Laos is, unfortunately, not over for the Lao Hmong people,” Smith continued. “The Lao People’s Army, and the secret police of the Stalinist regime in Laos, backed by military leaders in Hanoi, continue to kill and persecute the Laotian and Hmong people in the most brutal and egregious manner resulting in many refugees fleeing to neighboring Thailand and the ongoing deaths and casualties of thousands of innocent civilians as well as political and religious dissidents.”

“Colonel Jambon’s bold death, like the self-immolation of Tibetan and Vietnamese monks, is a fiery monument to heroism and self-sacrifice on behalf of the Hmong people of Laos and Vietnam whom he loved and knew, and served with in combat on behalf of France during the first Indochina war,” Smith commented.

“The violent forced repatriation of tens of thousands of Lao Hmong refugees from Ban Huay Nam Khao in Thailand, back to the communist regime in Laos, where they fled mass starvation and genocide in recent years, remains as a stain upon the international community as well as the hearts and minds of those concerned about human rights in Southeast Asia,” Smith stated.

“Colonel Robert Jambon rightly understood the horrific crimes, and incomprehensible abuses, that are still being violently inflicted upon thousands of innocent Hmong and Laotian civilians and religious and political dissident groups in Laos,” Smith continued.

“Colonel Jambon’s passionate and Gauguin-like suicide at the Indochina monument in Dinan, France, is a powerful symbol of devotion and understanding regarding the suffering plight of the Lao and Hmong people,” Smith concluded. “Robert Jambon’s courage in speaking truth to power to a world that has largely forgotten thousands of Lao Hmong people who have been abandoned by France and the United States in the mountains and jungles of Laos, and the refugee camps in Thailand, speaks volumes; The themes of love, war, betrayal, and the need to address the ongoing social injustice in Laos and Vietnam, resonate in the final gunshot that ended Robert Jambon’s amazing and important life”

Joining the CPPA, LVAI and ULDL in issuing a statement on behalf of Colonel Robert Jambon’s life and legacy include the United Lao for Human Rights and Democracy (ULHRD), Laos Institute for Democracy, Hmong Advance, Inc., Hmong Advancement, Inc., Lao Students for Democracy, Hmong Students Association and others.

Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders (MSF – Medecins Sans Frontieres), the CPPA and independent NGO and journalists have reported about the forced repatriation, persectution and human rights violations directed against the Lao Hmong people in Thailand and Laos.

http://www.msf.org/msf/articles/2007/07/hmong-refugees-in-thailand-are-a-population-in-danger.cfm

http://www.msf.org/msf/articles/2008/06/thailand-forcibly-returns-hundreds-of-hmong-refugees-to-laos.cfm

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA26/003/2007/en

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ENDS

  1. Robert Jambon: A Bold Life & Death For Laos and Hmong

The Center for Public Policy Analysis, and a coalition of Lao and Hmong non-governmental organizations (NGOs), have issued a statement today honoring the life and legacy of retired French Colonel Robert Jambon and his valiant fight for human rights and freedom for the Laotian, Hmong and Vietnamese people.

Related:

French colonel ‘killed himself in pro-Hmong protest’

BBC News
Col Robert Jambon, 86, shot himself in October on the steps of the “Indochina monument” in Dinan in western France. In a suicide letter published by Ouest

International: French ex-colonel’s suicide over plight of Hmongs‎ RFI
Ex-French colonel kills self to protest Asian minority-Hmong treatment‎ Ahram Online

Les Hmongs saluent leur “héros” français

Le Figaro
“Les anciens combattants Lao et Hmong saluent le sacrifice suprême du colonel Robert Jambon“, a déclaré Wangyee Vang, président des anciens combattants Lao

Dinan. L’ancien d’Indochine s’est suicidé pour le peuple Hmong‎ Le Télégramme
Hmongs : un ancien d’Indochine se suicide‎ Sur Le Feu
Un ancien d’Indochine se suicide par solidarité avec les Hmongs‎ AFP

Đại tá Pháp tự sát là ‘anh hùng’

BBC Tiếng Việt
Đại tá về hưu Robert Jambon, 86 tuổi, đã nổ súng vào đầu tại bậc thềm của đài tưởng niệm chiến tranh Đông Dương ở thị trấn Dinan thuộc

Đại tá Pháp tự sát ‘vì người Hmong’

BBC Tiếng Việt
Đại tá Robert Jambon, 86 tuổi, đã nổ súng vào đầu hồi tháng 10 ở bậc thềm của ‘tượng đài Đông Dương’ ở thị trấn Dinan thuộc tỉnh
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