WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 30, 2010) – U.S. Sen. Al Franken (DFL-MN) will travel to Vietnam next week with Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.)
The delegation will look into environmental remediation of dioxin and the joint funding of medical services for people with disabilities, and meet with Vietnamese government officials to discuss education initiatives, labor issues, and trade relations. The purpose of the trip is to support ongoing economic cooperation between the U.S. and Vietnam.
Sen. Franken will also be visiting Laos, more details on his side trip to follow. Sen. Franken has been working with the U.S. State Department regarding the forced repatriation of over 4000 Hmong asylum seekers from Thailand to Laos since January.
He has called for unimpeded access for U.S. officials and international humanitarian organizations to the Hmong returnees. He also brought U.S. Ambassador to Laos, Ravic Huso, to a town hall forum with the Hmong-American community. Sen. Franken and his staff continue to work with the Hmong-American community in Minnesota to ensure the safety of their loved ones abroad.