Archive for October 27th, 2011

October 27, 2011

Laos: International Appeal For The Release of Jailed Student Leaders

Press Release:

October 27, 2011, Vientiane, Laos, Bangkok, Thailand, Washington, D.C. and Paris, France

Center for Public Policy Analysis

In solemn memory of the 12th anniversary of peaceful student demonstrations in Vientiane, Laos,  a coalition of non-governmental organizations are calling for the immediate release of  Lao student leaders who continue to be imprisoned in harsh conditions, without charge, for over a decade.  The . Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) was joined by the Lao Movement for Human Rights [(Mouvement Lao pour les Droits de l’Homme (MLDH)], United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc., Lao Students Movement for Democracy, Lao Veterans of America Institute, Lao Veterans of America, Hmong Advance, Inc., Hmong Advancement, Inc . and other non-governmental organizations in calling on the one-party authoritarian government in Laos to release the Lao student leaders and other Laotian and Hmong political prisoners, prisoners of conscience and refugees.  Events were held in Washington, D.C., Paris, France and Bangkok, Thailand to mark the occasion.  The organizations have issued a joint international appeal today.

The Lao student demonstrations held 12 years ago on October 26, 1999, sparked major calls for political, economic and  institutional reform in Vientiane, the capital, and throughout the nation of Laos.  Ten years later, follow-on demonstrations were held in Laos in October 2009 that also resulted in the arrest and imprisonment of  many Laotian protesters demonstrating against the one-party government.

“The Stalinist regime in Laos should immediately release all of the Lao student protestors as well as ethnic Hmong refugees and religious and political dissidents it continues to brutally imprison and persecute,” stated Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) at events held in the U.S. Congress today to mark the occasion of the 12th anniversary of the Lao military crackdown.

“We want the military regime in Laos and the communist officials to release all of the peaceful Lao student demonstrators and other innocent religious believers and political prisoners it has placed in jail without charges or trial,” said Bouthanh Rathigna, President of the United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc.

“The Lao people need freedom and democracy and want Vietnam’s military troops and secret police out of Laos,” said Bounleuam Boualaphanh, President of United Lao for Human Rights and Democracy, Inc. of Minnesota. “We want the Lao government to change and reform and to release the Lao student leaders who peacefully protested in support of human rights and democracy for Laos.”

“It is time for the military and communist party leaders of the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic (LPDR) to release the Lao students because the peaceful demonstrations sought to help the nation and because the Lao student leaders arrested and young people are the future of the country,”  said Colonel Wangyee Vang, National President of the Lao Veterans of America Institute.

The Paris-based Lao Movement for Human Rights [(Mouvement Lao pour les Droits de l’Homme (MLDH)] said in a statement read at the Capitol Hill anniversary events in Washington:  “4380 days after their arrest, the four human rights defenders of the Student Movement of 26 October 1999 remain in detention. The Lao Movement for Human Rights expresses its extreme concern about the prolonged arbitrary detention of four members of the Student  Movement of 26 October 1999, a group that tried to organize a peaceful  march in Vientiane to claim for social justice, human rights respect and democratic reforms.”

“Twelve years after their arrest, MM. Thongpaseuth Keuakoun, Seng-Aloun  Phengphanh, and Bouavanh Chanmanivong Keochay are still jailed in the prison of Samkhe, in the province of Vientiane, whereas Mr. Sisa-At  Khamphouvieng died in prison from torture in 2001,” the MLDH,  Lao Movement for Human Rights organization stated.

The MLDH continued: “  (we are)  highly worried by their plight …as during the final adoption of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of  Laos at the UN in September 2010, the LPDR had totally ignored the recommendation ‘to release those detained for participating in peaceful demonstrations, including the leaders of the Movement of 26 October 1999, and rejected the primary recommendation for the creation of an independent national commission on human rights in accordance with the Paris Principles.’”

The MLDH stated further:  “In accordance with Article 5 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) ratified by the Lao People’s Democratic  Republic in September 2009, the prisoners must be treated in compliance  with international human rights standards. The arrest of peaceful protesters, and the death of one of them in detention show the failure of the Lao government in the implementation of the international human rights instruments it has ratified.”

The MLDH statement concluded: “The Lao Movement for Human Rights urges to the international community – including the European Union and its Member States, the United Nations, the United States, Japan, Australia and ASEAN – to take  urgent, concrete and concerted actions so that the Lao government applies the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), as well as other international agreements related to the United Nations declaration of 1988 on human rights defenders and  proceed to the immediate and unconditional release of MM. Thongpaseuth  Keuakoun, Seng-Aloun Phengphanh, Bouavanh Chanmanivong and Keochay and  also those arrested on 2 November 2009 – Ms. Kingkèo (39), MM. Soubinh  (35), Souane (50), Sinpasong (43) and Khamsone (36) arrested in Phon Hong, M. Nou (54) arrested in Pakkading, Miss Somchit (29), MM. Somkhit  (28 years) and Sourigna (26), arrested in Vientiane – while they were  heading to Vientiane to claim for social justice and basic human


Contact:  Jade Her or Philip Smith

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Laos: Rights Groups Urge Release of Student Protestors (press release)

In solemn memory of the 12th anniversary of peaceful student demonstrations in Vientiane, Laos, a coalition of non-governmental organizations is calling for
October 27, 2011

Vietnam airman’s remains returned


Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pittsburgh Post Gazette/ The 911 Airlift Wing Honor Guard transfers the repatriated remains of Air Force Maj. Thomas E. Clark, of Emporium, Pa., who was missing in action from the Vietnam War, to a waiting hearse for transport to his hometown.

The remains of a Pennsylvania airman missing in the Vietnam War arrived this morning at Pittsburgh International Airport.

Air Force Capt. Thomas E. Clark, 28, of Emporium, was shot down on Feb. 8, 1969, over Laos as he was attacking an anti-aircraft artillery position. Clark’s remains were in a flag-draped casket met by an Air Force honor Guard and several relatives.

“It is very emotional. We have a lot of great memories of my uncle. He paid the ultimate sacrifice,” said Clark’s eldest nephew, Brian Clark, who was at the airport ceremony.

Brian Clark was ring bearer at Thomas Clark’s wedding and remembers his uncle’s speech in Emporium on Veterans Day in 1968.

“It’s very sad that his mother could not be here today,” Brian Clark said.

Josephine Schager Clark died last year at age 100, he said.

Clark was born April 15, 1939, in Emporium. He graduated in 1957 from Cameron County High School and attended Pennsylvania State University for two years before receiving an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy, from which he graduated in 1963. He married Kathleen Mottern of Emporium the same year.

Three other American pilots on the same mission in Laos did not see a parachute or any other signs of Clark. Immediate search-and-rescue missions were not able to locate the crash site. The U.S. Air Force determined Clark to be killed in action. The U.S. Air Force posthumously promoted him to the rank of major.

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office Tuesday announced that Clark’s remains had been found and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

In 1991 and 1992, teams from Laos and the U.S. identified the crash site. In 2009, investigators recovered human remains there. After extensive examination, including isotope and dental testing, officials positively identified the remains as Clark’s.

Clark will be buried Saturday in his hometown. A public visitation has been set for 5-8 p.m. Friday at the Cameron County High School. A Mass of Christian Burial will be said at St. Mark Catholic Church in Emporium at 10 a.m. Saturday.




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