Laos was signed by the US charge d’affaires, Christian Chapman, Laos’s economy minister, Soth Phetrasy, and three demonstrators.
Click on the link to get more news and video from original source: http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/may-28-forty-years-ago-solution-in-laos/
An agreement to end the siege of the American Aid compound in Vientiane, Laos, was signed by the US charge d’affaires, Christian Chapman, Laos’s economy minister, Soth Phetrasy, and three demonstrators. According to the agreement, the US would wind up aid programmes in Laos and withdraw all personnel before June 30.The demonstrators agreed to relinquish their occupation of the compound and allow Laotian and US AID employees to return to prepare for shutting down the offices. Student demonstrators and Pathet Lao soldiers had been occupying the compound, demanding an end to the aid programme that had drawn in $750 million since 1955.
One Year On, Sombath Somphone Remains Forcibly Disappeared
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December 11, 2013
(Tokyo) – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan should raise concerns about the enforced disappearance of a prominent civil society leader in the prime minister’s meeting with Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong at the Japan-Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International Japan, Mekong Watch, Empowerment For All Japan, and two other Japanese nongovernmental organizations said today in a joint letter to Prime Minister Abe.
The Japan-ASEAN Summit, scheduled from December 13-15, 2013, falls during the one-year anniversary of the abduction and forcible disappearance of Sombath Somphone, a recipient of the 2005 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership. Sombath was taken into custody by authorities at a checkpoint outside a police station in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, on December 15, 2012.
“On the one-year anniversary of Sombath Somphone’s abduction, Prime Minister Abe should break Japan’s public silence and call upon the Lao government to reveal the truth about Sombath’s fate,” said Kanae Doi, Japan director. “Japan’s words carry weight since it is the largest donor to Laos. Prime Minister Abe should use this leverage to send a strong message to the Lao leadership that it needs to stop ignoring the pleas to reveal what happened to Sombath.”
Since Sombath’s enforced disappearance, the Lao government has failed to conduct a serious investigation, despite widespread regional and international calls for accountability. Japan’s public silence on the Sombath case sends precisely the wrong signal to the Lao government, suggesting that its inaction is acceptable to Japan, the organizations said.
Consistent with its stated commitment to diplomacy based on the fundamental values of freedom, democracy, basic human rights, and the rule of law, the groups said, the Japanese government should take leadership in sending the message to the Lao government and other ASEAN member states that the protection against enforced disappearances is a concern not only of the government involved but of the broader international community.
“Japan should work with other international donors to make clear that they will not let this rest until the Lao government provides full information regarding Sombath’s case,” said Hideki Wakabayashi, secretary general of Amnesty International Japan. “The Lao government also needs to bring all those responsible for his enforced disappearance to justice.”
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By Julia Calixto
Thanks to Lai Saeng
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The Ho Chi Minh Trail was not just one trail but a series of trails. The Ho Chi Minh Trail was used by the North Vietnamese as a route for its troops to get into the South. They also used the trail as a supply route – for weapons, food and equipment. The Ho Chin Minh Trail ran along the Laos/Cambodia and Vietnam borders and was dominated by jungles. In total the ‘trail’ was about 1,000 kilometres in length and consisted of many parts.
“There were thousands of trails, thousands of rest spots along the way where enemy troops could seek refuge and build up.” (M Maclear)
The ‘trail’ consisted of dummy routes that served the only purpose of confusing the Americans but was, in places, 80 kilometres (50 miles) wide. It is thought that up to 40,000 people were used to keep the route open. The natural environment gave the trail excellent cover as the jungle could provide as much as three canopies of tree cover, which disguised what was going on at ground level. The American response to this was to use defoliants – the most famous being Agent Orange – to kill off the greenery that gave cover to those using the trail. However, while large areas of jungle were effectively killed off, the task was too great and the Ho Chi Minh Trail was used for the duration of the war against the Americans in South Vietnam.
One way for the Americans to counter the Ho Chi Minh Trail was to build large bases near to it – Khe Sanh was one of these. From these large bases patrols were sent out in an effort to intercept anyone using the route. Regardless of this, it does seem that the task was simply too great for the Americans. Whereas the trail was based on deception and fluidity, the military bases built by the US were static. Therefore, once patrols left these bases they were by themselves. While they could be supported by air, there would always be a time delay between combat on the ground and the arrival of air support. By the very nature of guerrilla warfare, this gave the North Vietnamese the advantage as they had the ability to disappear into the jungle.