Overlooking Genocide In Laos And Beyond
(New genocide reports in Laos in 2004. It is still going on! See below)
Dedicated to all those who fell victim to genocide. The focus of this page has been on the genocide in Laos, a case that is largely overlooked. I hope to soon cover other cases of genocide. The best known case, that inflicted upon the Jews, is well covered on a number of sites. In other cases, Armenian-Americans are looking for recognition from President Bush for the some 1.5 million victims of genocide in the early part of the 20th century! Past presidents have avoided the term genocide because of our strategic alliance with Turkey. And several years ago reports surfaced that the U.N. knew about the impending genocide in Rwanda, and decided not to act. Over 500,000 people were slaughtered.(1)
For the latest reports in Laos see The Lao Human Rights Council page
The United States seems to think of it's foreign policy in terms of how it will
benefit the U.S., and not how it may help or hurt the people of other governments.
The U.S. is considering giving Laos Most Favored Nation Trading Status(1.). It is simply an old song...the U.S. courting yet another nation who fails to honor the human rights of it's people. Money, greed, self-interest, whatever you want to call it. We have seen it already with China, the setting of one of the biggest human rights atrocities in the last 10 years, at Tiananmen Square. There we simply said "Hey, try to do something about it, but our main concern is economics; how can you help us?" Now with Laos, we are courting a government that imprisons, tortures, poisons, and kills its people. Good documentation of this is compiled in the "White Pages" of the Lao Human Rights Council site. (Follow link in next paragraph.)
The regime in Laos is not one that is merely killing ex-soldiers that previous worked with the CIA to overthrow the communist government, they are killing innocents including children. Take this excerpt from the Lao Human Rights Council page:
On January 16, 1997, the Communist Lao soldiers massacred and killed eight Hmong civilians in Muong Ou, Muang Cha area, Northern Laos. Those victims of genocide were:
1. Mrs. Yia Xiong, 65 years old.
2. Mrs. Mee Xiong, 35 years old.
3. Mrs. Cha Mee Xiong, 25 years old.
4. Yong Yang, 12 years old.
5. Khue Yang, 11 years old.
6. Tou Kao Yang, 3 years old.
7. Tong Yang, 3 years old.
8. Shoua Yang,
*Eight innocent human beings: an infant, two toddlers, two pre-teens, two adults, and one 65 year old woman! These people were somehow a threat to the Laotian government?? This happened just LAST YEAR! It is not something of the past that can just be OVERLOOKED!
(1.) "It will also probably receive most-favored-nation status in the near future, Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbot told Laotian leaders last month when he led the highest-level U.S. delegation to visit in 20 years." San Francisco Chronicle, 12/27/97, LAOS: Economic Reforms Have Awakened Sleepy Asian Nation, Page A15.
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WHAT CAN YOU DO? CONTACT The U.S. Secretary of State (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Or Contact by phone:
Senator Trent Lott
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone 800-522-6721 (Ask for the "office" or "voicemail" of Trent Lott)
Fax 202-224-4639 or 202-224-2262
Congressman Newt Gingrich
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone 800-522-6721 (Ask for the "office" or "voicemail" of Newt Gingrich)
MORE ON THE MOST FAVORED NATION FOR LAOS LEGISLATION:
(House bill H.R.2132 and Senate bill S.1098)
"Congressional sources state that although H.R. 2132 was previously a priority, vocal opposition to MFN for Laos has put full Committee consideration 'on hold' for the present time. However, one source did suggest that there might be some kind of a procedural maneuver for moving MFN for Laos through Congress." Full text of article
*HELP CONTINUE THE "VOCAL OPPOSITION": Follow the steps in the seciton above entitled 'What Can You Do?'
Get the latest on the bill at the excellent legislation tracking site Thomas
* See also a letter from the Lao Human Rights Council outlining why Laos should not receive Most Favored Nation trade status.
Recent congressional action:
HR 2431 - Freedom From Religious Persecution Act of 1997
4/1/98 Reported to House from the Committee on International Relations
Bill description: To establish an Office of Religious Persecution Monitoring, to provide for the imposition of sanctions against countries engaged in a pattern of religious persecution, and for other purposes.
Go to Thomas site search box and enter "hr 2431" to get detailed information on this bill.
New Book/Review and Story(4/12/98)
Laos Sentences Laotian Christians (3/25/98) 4/7/98
Article on legislation that could benefit the fight against genocide in Laos(updated 4/3/98)
Bill that could restore food stamps to Hmong immigrants among others(3/27/98)
Laos political prisoner dies in prison. Thongsouk Saysangkhi was imprisoned October 1990 after speaking out for a multi-party democracy in Laos. (3/10/98, reported by AP)
Federal judge rules against Hmong on food-stamp cutoff
Contra Costa Times, CA 3/7/98 (link not available.)
Laos Names New President 3/98. Not by election, ofcourse. (Link no longer available)
March 1, 1998 article from St.Paul Pioneer Press about other possible abuses of Hmong in Laos, including the question of the whereabouts of 8 Hmong returnees. (Link no longer available)