NGOs, Refugees, and Laos, Hmong-American Groups Honor Former U.S. Ambassador Douglas
January 23, 2014, Washington, D.C., Austin and Dallas, Texas
Center for Public Policy Analysis
Former U.S. Ambassador Howard Eugene Douglas is being honored and memorialized today by the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) and a coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including Lao and Hmong-American human rights and refugee groups, following his reported sudden death in Dallas, Texas on January 17.
“Ambassador Douglas was a key thinker and leader on national security and foreign policy matters, including human rights, refugee and humanitarian assistance issues, as well as religious freedom concerns, especially during critical and pivotal years of the Cold War and its aftermath,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the CPPA in Washington, D.C. “We are sad to learn about the tragic loss of Ambassador Douglas; He was a thoughtful, articulate and compassionate person who gave an important voice in public policy circles to the plight of persecuted ethnic minority peoples such as the Hmong people in Laos and Thailand, the Ethiopian Jewish community, Sudanese Christians and refugees as well as Ukrainians who suffered under the former Soviet Union.” http://www.centerforpublicpolicyanalysis.org
The NGOs memorializing Ambassador Douglas include the: CPPA, LVAI, United League for Democracy in Laos (ULDL), Lao Veterans of America, Inc. , Hmong Advance, Inc., Hmong Advancement, Inc., and the Lao Human Rights Council.
“It is important to highlight and remember that Ambassador Douglas undertook extraordinary efforts to provide critical humanitarian assistance and grant political asylum to thousands of persecuted Lao, Hmong, Vietnamese, Cambodian and other Southeast Asia refugees who fled in the years following the Vietnam War when he served as U.S. Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator for Refugee Affairs under President Reagan from 1981-85,” Smith observed.
Additionally, Douglas served in various public capacities including on the Policy Planning Staff of the U.S. Department of State under Secretary Alexander Haig. He was a member of the Presidential Commission on the Ukrainian Famine. He was also a retired U.S. Navy commissioned officer, intelligence analyst and naval commander.
Smith continued: “Ambassador Douglas helped to raise awareness about, and save, countless Vietnamese boat people, Cambodians fleeing the ‘Killing Fields’ of Pol Pot, tortured Ukrainian dissidents, Ethiopian Jews facing genocide, as well as Laotian, Hmong and Sudanese refugees suffering repression, brutal military attacks and religious persecution .”
“Our Lao and Hmong people honor the life of Ambassador Douglas and his tireless efforts to assist us over the years, especially when we suffered as refugees under horrific conditions in communist Laos, and Thailand,” said Colonel Wangyee Vang, President of the Lao Veterans of America Institute (LVAI).
Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt, a Vietnam War historian and colleague of Douglas, stated: “Ambassador Douglas was so important in the lives of Hmong refugees during his tenure as Ambassador-at- Large for Refugee Affairs under President Ronald Reagan.”
“Ambassador Douglas was an advocate for human rights for suffering Laotian, Hmong, Vietnamese, Cambodian and other Southeast Asian refugee populations,” said Bounthanh Rathigna, President of the ULDL.
Jade Her or Philip Smith
Center for Public Policy Analysis