Save the Lao-Hmongs of Xaysomboun!

The documentary "The secret war in Laos", broadcasted on Thursday 16 June 2005 in the France 2 channel programme "Envoyé Spécial", revealed to the world a ferocious repression campaign, if not an extermination programme, led for 30 years in all impunity by the leaders of the unique party in power in the Lao People´s Democratic Republic (LPDR), against thousands of populations of Lao-Hmong in the Lao jungle of Xaysomboun and Bolikhamsay.

The images of these men, women, children, babies, tracked and chased by soldiers, living in fear, illness, complete destitution and despair, legitimately caused emotion, indignation, and revolt. And every one here wonders how such horrors could have been committed by a state member of the Francophonie, of the United Nations, and with which the European Union signed in April 1997 a cooperation agreement that made the respect of human rights a condition of utmost importance.

Moreover it comes out of this documentary -filmed clandestinely by journalist Grégoire DENIAU in a country where the freedom of expression and the freedom of the press do not exist- that to the regime in place, these Lao-Hmong populations that refuse to submit themselves to dictatorship `do not exist´, and are `mere villagers that are being relocated´. Big smiles to trick the donators and tourists, but refusal to enter into democratic reforms, and merciless repression against any kind of domestic opposition : such has been the line of conduct of the leaders of this regime, who have been lording over the country since 1975.

It also comes out that many of these Lao-Hmong are going through martyrdom with their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, for having served in the army of the Union Française during the Dien Bien Phu battle in 1954, before serving the American Army during the Vietnam war.

Considering this unacceptable situation, and revolted by such acts of cruelty committed against an innocent population, the signatories :

- solemnly demand that the authorities of the Lao People´s Democratic Republic put an immediate end to the repression campaign led against these populations, and to publicly recognize their existence;
- demand that the Lao authorities grant, without any condition or delay, permission to international organizations to go to these populations in distress, and provide them with emergency humanitarian aid;
- call on the United Nations, and notably its General Secretary Kofi ANNAN, to take appropriate measures in order to save these Lao-Hmong populations before it is too late;
- call on the President of the French Republic Jacques CHIRAC and the whole of the public authorities, to take every necessary measure in order to ensure that these populations survive, and so that the rights of the Lao people be respected, in conformity with the values of the Francophonie and the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which the LPDR adhered;
- call on the United States of America and its President George W. BUSH to take their responsibilities in this present case, and to take the necessary measures to help these persons;
- call on the international community -notably the European Union and its 25 Members, as well as the ASEAN, of which the LPDR is currently holding presidency-to take every step required by the situation, including diplomatic and economic ones, in order to bring the LPDR to put an end to the acts of cruelty that are being committed against these Lao-Hmong, to respect the rights of every minority within the country, and to undertake without further delay democratic reforms in the country;
- send out a call of emergency to international humanitarian organizations, for them to launch emergency operations in order to rescue these populations in distress;
- call on the representatives of the press, notably Reporters Sans Frontières, to mobilize themselves for these persons, whose awful condition was revealed thanks to the international media;
- call for public demonstrations in front of Lao PDR embassies all around the world, in order to protest against the acts of cruelty committed against these populations.

See the signatures