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Hmong: Mass Deportation Despite Fears  


UNHCR has been denied access to the camp in Thailand and the decision by the Thai government to forcefully deport the refugees has caused widespread concern among NGOs and human rights groups.

By the end of 2008, more than 8200 Hmong-Lao people currently seeking refuge in Phetchabun refugee camp will be forcefully deported back to Laos. While the UN has classified them as refugees, both the Thai & Laos government has classified them as illegal immigrants thus justifying the deportation process.

The majority of the population are Hmong, an ethnic minority from Laos. For the last 2 years, the government of Thailand has been deporting small groups back to Laos without investigating the cause of departure and many Hmong Lao have committed suicide in the process of deportation.

With UNHCR denied access to the screening process, the safety of the deported Hmong Lao is in question.

These Hmong-Lao had been the target of atrocities and genocide in Laos for aiding the US in the Vietnam War. With countless eye-witness accounts and physical wounds to substantiate the claim, the government of Laos has maintained its stand that Hmong Lao are illegal immigrants and should return back to Lao.

The Hmong Lao live in daily fear of being deported back to Laos and many of these refugees have said that they would choose the option of committing suicide rather than to go back to Laos where their whole families will be tortured to death.

What next?

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