WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 29, 2010) –U.S. Senator Al Franken (DFL-MN) joined six of his colleagues in urging Secretaries Clinton and Gates to take specific actions regarding the forced repatriation of the Hmong community from Thailand to Laos.
In a letter to Secretaries Clinton and Gates, the Senators asked that the United States government insist that the Laos government allow unimpeded access for U.S. officials and international humanitarian organizations. They also call for the U.S. Government to urge Thai authorities to permit UNHCR to interview any remaining Hmong asylum-seekers in Thailand.
“We need to make sure that the Hmong in Thailand and Laos are being treated humanely and right now, we’re not getting enough information.” said Sen. Franken. “The people of Minnesota are worried about the safety and well-being of their families and America has an obligation to act.”
On December 28th, the Thai government began forcibly repatriating its Hmong refugee population back to Laos. The Laos government has thus far denied the U.S. and other countries access to the refugees.
A copy of the letter, with a full list of requests is online at http://franken.senate.gov/files/letter/100128_Letter_Clinton_Gates_Hmong.pdf