Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Effects of Viet Nam War still being felt by Hmong

Laos’s ethnic minority Hmong are still feeling the bitter legacy of their decision to fight alongside the Americans during the Viet Nam War. In Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, Tim Weiner describes their struggle.

Thousands are living in Thai refugee camps and hundreds are still on the run in the jungles. They claim that they are being slaughtered by Lao military units who hunt them with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, exacting vengeance for their role in the wars of the 1960s and ’70s.

This ongoing conflict has caught up with a high profile former general, Vang Pao, who played a significant role in organizing and leading the Hmong in their efforts. He now lives in California and the U.S. government has recently indicted him as a terrorist, accusing him of plotting to overthrow the Communist government of Laos.

As a result, the Lao government has increased pressure on Thailand to forcibly repatriate Hmong refugees who could provide them with information on the few remaining within the country. According to Lionel Rosenblatt of Refugees International, the likelihood that they will be questioned harshly – or worse – is very real. The Viet Nam War, for the Hmong, is far from over.

For the full article, click here.


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