Hundreds of Laotians Gather in Front of an ASEAN Summit
Hundreds Gather in front of an ASEAN Summit Demanding Freedom and Democracy in Laos
Rancho Mirage, CA, February 17, 2016 (Newswire.com) -
On February 15, 2016, hundreds of Laotian-Americans took to the streets in a series of protests on Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage, CA demanding freedom and democracy in Laos. Lao leaders along with leaders of other ASEAN nations attended the ASEAN summit hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama. A coalition of various Lao pro-democracy groups from both inside and outside of Laos participated in the protest calling for change in Laos.
Over the past 40 years, the Lao Peoples’ Democratic Republic, a puppet state of Vietnam, has ruled Laos with failed economic, political, and social policies. Due to its repressive policies, millions of Laotians have sought refuge in democratic countries such as the United States, a place where they now call home. In addition, many more have become stateless by fleeing into Thailand where they can seek employment and civil liberties. However, many are vulnerable and become victims of human trafficking. To this day, the Lao government is reluctant to protect and serve their own people under their own laws and the United Nations Palermo Protocol, for they are too occupied in illegal activities such as corruption, drug trafficking, human trafficking; land grabbing, and illegal logging which destroys natural resources and the environment.
The current Lao constitution guarantees basic liberties and human rights for its citizens; however, it is only merely on paper for the Lao government arbitrarily detain, arrest, and commit human rights violations such as enforced disappearance and ethnic cleansing. Under the current regime, the Lao people are not afforded the freedom to voice their opinion, address, nor criticize the government. Their basic rights have been taken away and they currently live under oppression. Furthermore, not only has the Lao Communist government violated their own laws, but they have also violated the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights which they are a signatory to.
Since the Lao people inside of Laos cannot speak, the 25 Lao diaspora pro-democracy groups have united under the Protest Committee to bring about Freedom and Democracy in Laos in order to speak for those who cannot speak and to protest the injustice inside Laos on their behalf of the Lao people at this historic event. The coalition demands are:
Return power to the people by allowing the Lao people to choose their representative government without intimidation or threat.
Abolish the 1977 Laos and Vietnam Special Friendship Agreement which made Laos a vassal state of Vietnam
End corruption and human rights violations
United States trade policies should live up to the values and ideals of the United States for which our Nation was founded upon
Any aid to the Communist Lao government by the Unites States government must be tied to auditable reforms and respect for the dignity of the Lao people and accountable to the American taxpayers
Call on ASEAN nations to intervene in Laos and to pressure the Communist Lao government to respect human rights and call on free and fair elections to be monitored by independent international agencies, so that the Power will be return to the Lao people.
Media contacts only:
The 25 Lao pro-democracy groups are:
1- Lao Pen Lao Yookmai (Lao New Generation) Mr.Somdy Rasy (225) 223-8236
2- Human Right Council of Texas Dr. James Keojampa (972) 679-8149
3- Lao Student Movement October 26, 1999 Mr.Oudong Saysana (253) 221-3867
4- United Lao for Democracy Mr.Bounthanh Ratthigna (571) 224-6735
5- Free Laos Campaign Mr.Bounleuang Kattaviravong (612) 363-7722
6- United Lao Council for Democracy Col. Tou Fu Vang (651) 324-6805
7- National Solidarity Congress of Laos Mr.Phian Sayarath (510) 685-5688
8- Lao Freedom Fighter Mr.Southisom Naovarangsy (520) 460-7950
9- Lao Lanxang Eternity Mr.Thongsouk Duangmalalay (215) 237-3330
10- Royal Lao Government in Exile Organization (RLGE) Mr.Nick Hanthaley (503) 791-3380
11- Lao for Democracy Mr.James Phetphouvong (559) 824-0474
12- Lao Nhay Movement for Democracy Mr. Kossadary Phimmasone (559) 350-3141
13- Preservation of Lao Interest and Human Right Council (Dhamma Sapha) Mr.Thanousack Thammachak (978) 343-8521
14- Lao Senior of Olympia Mr.Sanith Vongratsamy (360) 244-9451
15- Association of Former Sammana and POW Mrs. Homesanith Vichitvongsa (619) 408-9361
16- Association of Vidower and Orphan Mrs. Chansouk Bilavarn (909) 278-1127
17- Association Lao Pattana Mr. Lum
18- White Elephant Lao Association Mr. Thom sengmanyvong (779) 207-9007
19- Lao Veteran Association of Orange County Mr. Rattana Changpraseutsak (714) 390-2138
20- Lao Movement for Democracy Mr.Bouaphan Bounsouk (404) 438-8120
21- Lao Mai Serixon Mr. Nava P. Sayseng (501) 400 3634
22- Lao American for Human Right in Laos Mr. Southy Chittamath (704) 651-9337
23- Lao Democracy Allie of Amarillo TX Mr. Somchit Souvannakhyly (806) 433-2269
24- Lao Veteran of California Mr. Chandy Bouasanouvong (619) 501-5771
25- Free Laos Movement in Laos