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Pattaya Daily News

30 December 2009 :: 06:12:55 am 3585

Laos offers 158 Hmong Refugees Resettlement

A senior Lao official has denied any knowledge of the 158 Hmong repatriates from Nong Khai holding refugee status, however; he has extended them an offer of resettlement in Laos.
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Vientiane, the 29th of December 2009 [TNA]: A senior Lao official has denied knowing that 158 Hmong repatriated from Nong Khai hold refugee status and have been offered resettlement.

Brig-Gen Bouasieng Champaphanh, chairman of the Lao-Thai general border sub-committee represented the Lao government in an official ceremony in Paksan town to officially receive 4,508 Hmong from Thailand.

Of the total, 4,350 Hmong came from a camp in Phetchabun while another 158 were moved from Nong Khai.

Gen Bouasieng thanked Thailand for the operation, deemed as strengthening ties between the two countries, ensuring the well-being of deportees as good Lao citizens.

Asked about the 158 Hmong detained at Thailand’s Nong Khai immigration office since 2007, he said that while the public may have paid attention to the group of Hmong but the Lao authorities considered them as being in the same category as thousands of other Hmong from Huay Nam Khao in Phetchabun, and that they are without any special privilege.

Gen Bouasieng said he did not know that the 158 Hmong hold refugee status and have been offered resettlement in a third country. He could not say if they will be allowed to move to a third country as he has never talked to them or received any information about their places of origin.

Laos does not ban resettlement but there are processes to follow, he said.

The Lao authorities prepared temporary shelters for more than 4,000 Hmong in the area surrounding Paksan. They will be questioned to keep records before sent back to their hometown or permanent accommodations provided by the government.

However, the 158 Hmong from Nong Khai are to stay at another place in Vientiane.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on Tuesday said Thailand has breached international law by forcing 158 recognised Hmong refugees, mainly children, back to Laos along with thousands of asylum seekers, according to the French news agency AFP.

The group, which had been held in a detention centre in the border town of Nong Khai for three years, was sent back Monday despite offers of resettlement in third countries because of their fear of prosecution in Laos, the agency said. (TNA)

Reporter : Methawee   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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