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3
Jul
2007

Laos: Hmong - People between diaspora and annihilation

When the vietnam war spread to cambodia and laos, the CIA created a tribal guerilla from members of the Hmong hilltribe in 1961 to fight aigainst the communists. During the bigger war in Vietnam Laos Der Mekong bei Vientiane Grenzfluss zwischen Thailand und Laos
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The Mekong at Vientchian - Border between Thailand and Laosbecame a minor battlefield and the US-Hmong alliance dissolved. When the US withdrew from Laos in 1975, they left the field to the communist "Pathet Lao", who consecutively killed more than 10.000 Hmong. Many of them then retreated into the laotian forests to keep on the war against the government. But many survivors also fled to the USA, where today about 200.000 Hmong are living.
Amnesty International assesses the descendants of the fighters of those days as not dangerous to the laotian government:" The Hmong are not in possesion of weapons or only have overaged ones. They are undernourished and without medical support. Nevertheless the laotian Government regards the Hmong as danger to the country's security."

US-author Roger Warner visited the covert battlefields and has a similar report:" We found those reports true on a small scale. Scattered bands of ragged fighters subsist off wild plants, trying to evade the Laotian army … and almost every day, the leaders of these Hmong bands talk on satellite phones with their Hmong-American relatives."
Even though laotian military keeps on attacking Hmong villages.
"In one of the largest settlements with more than 800 inhabitants about 30 percent had gunshot or shrapnel wounds. Due to the attacks by the army many of the Hmong retreat in even deeper jungle areas. Some flee to Thailand, but there they are threatened by forced deportation back to Laos before they are registered by the UNHCR," reads the Amnesty International website.
It is still unclear how many Hmong are living in the forests. Approximations vary from several hundres to uo to 17.000. The human rights organisation also documented that about 780 Hmong have left the jungle of northern Laos last year. They are still missing.

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