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Rep. Kind Leads Effort to Prevent Forced Repatriation of Hmong Refugees to Laos

February 26, 2009
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DCU.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) today sent a letter signed by 18 of his colleagues to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton conveying deep concern for the 5,700 Hmong refugees detained in Thailand who may be forcibly repatriated to Laos by mid-2009. Thousands of Hmong refugees fled Laos in 1975 due to the threat of violence, and forced repatriation to Laos could be a death sentence for a number of the detainees.

“Many Hmong people fought alongside us in Vietnam and sacrificed a lot for our country,” Rep. Kind said. “Reports coming from a number of my constituents who have friends and family in Laos indicate there is still discrimination and persecution towards Laos’s Hmong population. The United States must remain committed to recognizing the service of the Hmong people and insist that humanitarian workers are allowed to access and help these refugees.”

Rep. Kind also met Wednesday with Thailand’s acting ambassador, Damrong Kraikruan, to urge the Thai government to allow access to the detainees by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) in order to determine their refugee status.

Wisconsin members on the letter in addition to U.S. Rep. Kind are: U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI-2), U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI-4), U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen, (D-WI-8), and U.S. Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI-6).