OPEN LETTRER TO THE US SECRETARY OF STATE MRS HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON !!
Mouvement Lao pour les Droits de l'Homme (MLDH)
Lao Movement for Human Rights
BP 123 - 77206 Torcy Cedex, France - Téléphone/Fax : 33 (0) 1 60 06 57 06
e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org - website : http://www.mldh-lao.org
OPEN LETTRER TO THE US SECRETARY OF STATE
MRS HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON !!
Paris, 10 July 2012
Dear Secretary of State, Mrs Rodham Clinton,
On your visit to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (LPDR) this week, the Lao Movement for Human Rights, member of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) appeals on your delegation to raise the issue of the serious violations of the Lao people’s fundamental rights, that of the continuous repression campaign led against Christians in remote villages, that of too many political prisoners or prisoners of conscience.
The Lao Movement for Human Rights (MLDH) urges you to ask for the immediate release of MM. Thongpaseuth KEUAKOUN, Sengaloun PHENGPHAN, Bouavanh CHANMANIVONG and KEOCHAY, leaders of the ‘’26 October 1999 Movement’’ jailed for almost 13 years, as well as those 9 persons --- Ms. Kingkèo (39 , mother of three children), MM. Soubinh (35), Souane (50), Sinpasong (43) and Khamsone (36) , Mr. Nou (54) , Miss Somchit (29 ), MM. Somkhit (28 ) and Sourigna (26 )---, arrested simultaneously in various parts of the country on 2 November 2009 while they were heading to Vientiane to demand justice and respects of their basic rights.
Lao Christians are still detained or harassed for their faith, the latest reports coming from the provinces of Luang Namtha (North) and Savannakhet (Centre) in June 2012.
The situation of ethnic minorities in Lao PDR remains an important concern. An unrestricted international monitors access to those several thousand Lao-Hmongs forcibly repatriated from Thailand to Laos at the end of 2009 is most necessary.
The Lao Movement for Human Rights needs to point the discrepancy between the LPDR rhetoric of human rights practice and the reality on the ground: freedom of expression or freedom of assembly is not allowed in practice in the Lao PDR. The people of Laos do not know what free and fair elections mean.
The Lao Movement for Human Rights greets your position when you said that ‘’ “Human rights, democracy and development are not three separate goals with three separate agendas …. To make a real and long term difference in people’s lives we have to tackle all three simultaneously’’ and also what you said at the Human Rights Council in Geneva on February 28th, 2011 : ‘’Free and fair elections are essential to building and maintaining democracy, but elections alone are not sufficient. Sustainable democracies are built on strong institutions, including an independent judiciary that promotes the rule of law and helps ensure official accountability and transparency, and stands against corruption’’.
As information are screened in Lao PDR, unfortunately for the Lao people, what you said in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, yesterday 9 July 2012, did not reached them : ‘’We need to make the 21st century a time in which people across Asia don’t only become more wealthy, …they must also become more free …. If you want to see democracy in action, if you want to see progress being shaped by leaders more concerned about lifting up their people than fattening up their bank accounts, come to Mongolia."
The Lao people who are aware of your visit cannot help but wonder as to whether Washington intends to mark this trip with a strong gesture in favour of human rights and democracy in Laos, recalling your speech on June 8, 2012, in Washington DC :’’ And to the activists and the advocates and the reformers and the protestors and the demonstrators, well, we want you to realize the aspirations that do represent the universal human rights of every man and woman, and the United States will continue to be your partner.’’
We deeply thank you in advance for the attention you give to this matter.
Vanida S. Thephsouvanh